Welcome to our NFS Heat review. The last time I truly enjoyed a Need For Speed game was back in the days of the PS2 with titles like Need For Speed: Underground and Need For Speed: Most Wanted, but since then the games seem to have dropped from awesome racing titles to simply average everyday racing games that were ok but started to get boring real fast and titles such as Need For Speed (2015) and Need For Speed Rivals just didn’t cut it for me. It’s now 2019 and EA alongside the developer, Ghost Games has released the latest game in the series simply known as NFS Heat, but is it a follow on from the ok average games or is it a return to the glory days?
- NFS Heat
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One
- Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
- Developer: Ghost Games
- Publisher: EA
- Multiplayer: 2 – 16 Players Online
- Available: November 8th, 2019
- Price: £59.99 (U.K) $59.99 (U.S)
- Age Rating: PEGI 16 (U.K) T (U.S)
- Review Code Provided
NFS Heat’s story isn’t exactly its strong point, especially since it just seems like something out of a Fast and Furious movie and even though it’s well written it doesn’t really do much to keep my attention, which is instead just focused on the racing and car customization.
What sets NFS Heat aside from other games in the series is that it gives players some control over what time of the day it is by allowing them to switch between day and night. What’s more, is that this doesn’t just change the time of day it is, it also changes the gameplay dramatically. During the day you’re a racer obeying he law by racing on legitimately controlled race tracks to earn money, but by night you taking part in illegal street races to earn REP.
It’s with its two-prong approach that NFS Heat manages to stay fun without the usual stale feeling that comes after a few hours of racing over and over again. Being in charge of the time allows you to effortlessly switch between day and night by using the map screen or leaving a garage.
Playing the game properly does require you to pay attention to both day and night as you’ll need money to purchase cars and customizations, whilst you’ll need REP to level up which in turn unlocks new cars and customization items. The game’s story does force you to do this by having you reach a certain level before being able to access some of the story missions.
As well as these two different play styles, NFS Heat has a few different race modes to have fun with. There’s your typical racing including lap races and sprint races, there’s drifting, high heat events, and even dedicated off-road racing. It truly is packed with something for everyone who likes a bit of racing.
Palm City, the game’s Miami like fictional location is home to not just many twists and turns but also plenty of collectibles such as smashable billboards and neon flamingos aswell as additional activities to take part in such as a long jump like event but with cars and instant drifting events.
I do have to say that Palm City has been so well put together and is easily one of my favorite Need For Speed locations. It has the right mixture of populated areas vs unpopulated areas. It’s clear to see that this open-world map has been designed with open exploration in mind.
The police chases in NFS Heat are admittedly straight up annoying particularly when you get above heat level 2. Outrunning cops at Heat level 3 and above feels like a real chore for various reasons such as the fact they can rubber band their way right to your rear and that they can destroy your car in a few hits and once they do that you’re busted, unless you find a petrol station and drive through it to repair your car (PS you can only do this 3 times a night). Another way they can bust you is by boxing you in at which point a busting bar will appear giving you a limited amount of time to get out.
Once you get into the higher heat levels the police begin to use tactics such as deploying an EMP to jam your car’s electrics and bring it to a holt for a few seconds, tire spikes, and large and slow but heavy vehicles to deal major damage. There are a few modifications, known as Auxilliary mods that players can add to their vehicles and amongst them are a few that deal with some of the tactics used by the police.
It’s fair to say that the difficulty of police chases spikes up far too easily and this gives a bias towards the police rather than the player which leads to some very frustrating moments especially when you consider that you’ll lose all REP earned through heat level multipliers each time you’re busted.
A huge library of cars is available to purchase in NFS Heat with big brands such as BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Dodge, Ferrari, and Lamborghini amongst the many other manufacturers on offer. Toyota is one such brand you won’t find here after they stopped allowing their cars to be put in racing games.
Each car in the game can be customized both inside and out with engine modifications, kick-ass sound systems, and exterior modifications. The exterior modifications, in particular, vary for different vehicles and usually the selection on offer is quite small when it comes to things like hoods, side skirts, bumpers, and lights.
Engines can be upgraded with new parts ranging from pro right up to an elite class or you can swap out the engine altogether in favor of something much more powerful.
Car handling in NFS Heat depends on the car type in use, for example, an off-roader vehicle naturally performs better than a road racing vehicle when driving over grassy, tree-filled land whilst a drifting tuned vehicle handles the corners much better. Each class may handle differently but they all handle really well and it seems that Ghost Games has really paid close attention to the small handling details.
Drifting is initiated by heading into a corner, releasing the gas, and turning before putting the foot down on the pedal. At first, this took me a while to get the hang of particularly as my starter car was more geared towards racing in straight lines as opposed to taking corners smoothly.
In conclusion, NFS Heat is by far one of the best Need For Speed games since the glory days. It doesn’t quite live up to the long-forgotten titles from back then but it’s much better than games like Rivals and Payback. A few things bug me such as the unfair police difficulty spikes and the cliche story but for the most part, this is a game I have thoroughly enjoyed playing.
That concludes our NFS Heat review. To purchase the game on PlayStation 4 check out these links.