This is a good Need for Speed game…
Yup, those words haven’t gone together in quite some time and this time we’re not sugarcoating it one bit. Need for Speed is back to its former self and it’s a fun video game to say the least.
There’s a good story to look forward to, exciting cars to pick and a day/night mode that keeps things fresh and interesting.
Your presence in Palm City is without a dramatic entrance, quite unlike the franchise, but as you’re introduced to other characters, you start to understand that the main story is like any other ‘I am here to be the very best, like no one ever was’ story.
Need for Speed Heat is taking safe measures with its storyline, but its premise is slightly interesting. Your story starts from a sweet garage where you pick up your first ride and slowly try to win as many races as possible to climb to the top for recognition. There’s a reason why you’re doing all of this, but we forgot. Thankfully, the handful of characters (actually only two) are not so boring and stick around to get the dice rolling.
Street racing, which is legal by the day, will irk all the cops in the city if you whip out your wheels at night and they’re out for blood… or coolant in this case. Throw in a little drama, betrayal and corruption and NFS Heat manages to keep you glued to your seat with its story for a good time.
Napping during the day time, the cops usually turn a blind eye to your mischief under the sun, but once the city lights come on, the cops want none of that tyre-screeching nonsense. Your races during the day earn you important currency for purchasing upgrades and new cars. Night races earn you respect, which is important for leveling up and unlocking new rides and upgrades. The balance between the two becomes a constant reminder to shift back and forth while playing.
It’s not all that easy though, racing at night has consequences. Once you pick up Heat, the cops become relentless, stopping at no avail to wreck your sweet ride. Your Heat will increase depending on how many cops you take out and how much mischief you cause in the dark. To cash in your ‘respectful earnings’, you must quickly find the nearest garage and call it a night. This gamble is where Need for Speed starts to heat things up. Sticking for another race or calling it a night is a looming thought while racing at night.
And wrecking cops isn’t as easy as doing it in Burnout, your ride can only sustain a limited amount of thrashing. Petrol pumps offer respite, repairing your ride as you drive through them, but at night it’s limited to only three repairs. Meanwhile, if you get busted you will lose all your earnings of that night. So think hard, think fast and play risky.
The Miami-inspired Palm City is littered with collectathons and has a versatile landscape which makes great use of its four category races and race cars. Want to bust through speed cams? Show up in race tyres and suspension with excessive NOS. Want to drift downhills along hairpin bends? Drag tyres and suspension with some steering practice is the way to go. One car fits all, is not the case here.
Make sure you bring the best-suited car for the type of race you get into. Circuit and Sprint races are a standard affair, while drift races require some attention to tweaking your car and getting used to NFS’ tap and hold the accelerator system to slide into a drift. Off-road races also require the same attention. (Pro tip: It’s cheaper to have multiple parts for changing the ride type of a car than having a whole new car for one solid purpose).
At first, the list of 127 cars seems too small for anyone coming from Forza Horizon 4’s never-ending list of 600+ cars. But to be fair, NFS does a better job of making you feel that each car is truly yours and that you’ve earned it. Upgrades and new cars unlock from taking risk in night races and the cash to buy them flows through the day time races. This is almost a perfect circle for getting absorbed into NFS Heat.
Palm City really looks gorgeous at night and at 4K it really sells the mood. Cars look stunning and if you have a beefy PC, it’s going to be a treat. On the other hand, the playlist is straight-up ear-bleeding at times, pouring in dubstep and rap music at every race. I had to change the radio station multiple times because it was more distracting than anything. Forza Horizon 4 has a phenomenal playlist in comparison.
Processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X; Liquid cooled by Corsair H115i RGB Platinum
GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
Motherboard: Asus PRIME X399-A
RAM: 32GB of Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB
CPU Case: Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB
Keyboard: Kingston HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
Power Supply: Corsair AX850
Need for Speed is back on track and Heat is an important checkpoint to drift the franchise back on its feet… or tyres. The customisations are aplenty, races feel solid, the story is worth investing time into and it keeps things fresh with its day and night cycle. The cat and mouse chase at night is an absolute thrill too.