Since 1994 Need for Speed has burning that rubber in one way or another. In this generation, one that has winnowed the arcade racer almost to death, Need for Speed has lost the race against its competitors, and itself.
It’s fair to state Need For Speed Underground 2 remains the peak of the street racing side of the series. We have had much better graphics, larger environments, online integration, and pretty much every other contemporary system available. However, still, it’s the one game that fans have longed to see rebooted one of the most. Well, Need for Speed Heat has another stab at the formula, this time adding daytime driving to highlight the action of the streets in the evening. It’s a fantastic concept, especially when you add the ‘Heat’ reputation multiplier actually to raise the stakes. However, this game still seems like a modestly tuned engine beginning with cold instead of a snarling monster revving at the limiter.
For Need for Speed Heat, it’s yet another ‘rookie racer looks to make a name for themselves’ narrative that’s so well-trodden it’s down to bedrock. It’s at least decently voiced, and there’s always radio chatter to keep you company; however, you never feel like you’re racing versus a real fantastic league of ace drivers.
The car handling is very well crafted, managing to seem like your ride has real weight, while likewise noticeably moving like a vintage Need For Speed game. Drifting is now mapped to a single pump of the accelerator while turning, and if you need a tighter turn, then hitting the handbrake works, which also kicks in the drift mechanic, though at a much slower speed. The result is comfortable, assured driving even at 150mph. The motion is smooth and stable, though, of course, the city’s design is simplified to accommodate traversal at these unrealistically high speeds.
There’s also another concession to allow all this zooming about; usually, nothing smaller sized than a house is a barrier. Fences, bushes, fully-grown palm trees, bus stops, trash cans, street lights, and solar farms are all smashable and entirely disintegrate even when nudged at 3mph. So instead of looking ahead and carefully outlining a course in between all of these things, instead it belongs to piloting a superfast rocket out in space. As long as you prevent the worlds, whatever else is quite space dust, provided as eye candy and barely slowing you down. Sure, if you plow through succeeding fence sections, you’ll lose enough Speed to get overtaken, but that’s the worst you’ll see. There’s more than a hint of Forza Horizon about the way you smash through thick stone walls without the car damage sign even flashing, and it makes for inconsequential racing experience.
The practical filter of 2015’s Need For Speed’s visuals has been dropped, making for a slightly sharper, however less modern appearance. The draw distance is the most excellent feature of the engine, though the city can look dull and barren in the hard light of the day. Palm City is supposed to be a dynamic location. Yet, the streets have no pedestrians (for apparent factors – one wrong relocation and you ‘d be responsible for a massacre), and traffic is unrealistically light.
Need for Speed Heat has its feet planted in 2 worlds. During the day time, you can leisurely drive around the open-world environment of Palm City, from the Miami-like city streets to quiet suburbs, roads winding around swamps, and the mild mountain slopes of the countryside. You’ll participate in approved race events full of cheering crowds, sponsorships, and bright banners. Win your races here, and you’ll get Bank, NFS’s version of money.
At night, Palm City ends up being much more unsafe. The cops are out in force, and if they see you driving too fast or breaking public property, a chase will begin. You have a Heat Level at night, comparable to the police mechanic in other open-world games like Grand Theft Auto 5. At level 1, you’ll have a single cop car chasing you, and they’re reasonably easy to ditch. At Level 5, they release spike strips, car jammers, and considerable trucks to ram you off the roadway. There are race occasions during the night too, but they tend to be single-path sprints instead of the circuits you’ll find in day time courses.
Racing and dropping the cops during the night earns you Reputation. Winning races, wrecking polices, and stringing out longer chases after increases your overall Representative, while the Heat level serves as a direct multiplier. While you can fast take a trip to any garage throughout the day, at night you have to lose the authorities and then drive your way to a garage to bank your Rep. If the police take you down, you lose your Heat level, many of your Representative, and some bank.
It’s an excellent risk-and-reward system, and a few of the best moments in Need for Speed Heat is when you’re swaying around the city during the night, drifting around corners, and attempting to get the authorities to crash into pedestrians or other barriers. The concern is the danger isn’t tuned expertly. Heat Level 3 causes the cops to end up being nearly suicidal in their pursuit, knocking their cruisers to force a crash, even if they’re caught in the fallout as well. Heat Levels 4 and 5 are merely evil in regards to the amount of force thrown your method, and getting there with a full bag of Representative only to be wiped out is merely depressing. Worse, some occasions are locked behind higher Heat levels, forcing you to this edge. You can stray away from Heat Levels 3, 4, and 5, however, that means you’re going to be repeating a lot of races.
Need for Speed Heat ReviewPalm City itself is among the best cities in one of Need for Speed’s open-world games. Each region of the city has a strong sense of location and design of driving to it. During the day, it’s nice to go on a trip around the sprawling white architecture of downtown or the large golden fields of the nation. Often, it even looks and feels like Need for Speed Rivals. Night, meanwhile, has the neon radiance of the old Underground games, and you can tell that it was Ghost Games’ visual focus. Daytime can look a little flat, specifically during midday; however, the orange glow of dawn or dusk looks fantastic, especially if it happens to rain.
Dynamic rain is a function for Heat, and it simply makes daytime shine when it turns up. It even seemingly considers the direction of the rain and structures in the course; if you go behind a building, the rain will quickly stop. It’s a small addition; however, it feels genuinely cool. Integrate night and the rain, and Need for Speed can look goddamn remarkable. It doesn’t always pop, but when it does, it makes me wish the game had an image mode.
Ghost Games tossed several collectibles to find around the city, like graffiti, you can include to your car’s paint task or billboards and flamingos to damage. The city feels lifeless.
Need for Speed Heat lacks a sense of place and function. It’s an intense game, with a solid open-world map and some terrific car modification. “great” doesn’t reach the superior handling of sim racers like Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport. It does not equal the event range, visuals, and sense of social connection of Forza Horizon 4.
Well, Need for Speed Heat is here to have another stab at the formula, this time including easygoing daytime driving to emphasize the action of the streets at night. For Need for Speed Heat, it’s yet another ‘novice racer looks to make a name for themselves’ narrative that’s so well-trodden it’s down to bedrock. It’s an excellent risk-and-reward system, and some of the finest minutes in Need for Speed Heat is when you’re swaying around the city at night, wandering around corners, and trying to get the police to crash into pedestrians or other obstacles. Palm City itself is one of the finest cities in one of Need for Speed’s open-world games. Need for Speed Heat does not have a sense of life and neighborhood.