The newest introduction to one of the oldest racing game franchises in the industry, Need for Speed: Heat has finally been released. It reintroduces many aspects from previous entries, like engaging pursuits, various vehicle customization options, and arcade-like racing mechanics. Need For Speed: Heat has a story and setting that goes back to its roots and fits the game.
When the game starts, the player gets to pick from 12 characters. On these characters, the player can change their hair style, apparel, and footwear. The player also gets to choose between one of three starter cars: a 65 Mustang, 88BMW Evolution II, and a 96 Nissan 180 SX Type X. In the single player aspect of the game, the player starts off as a newcomer to an imaginary city called Palm City, which is a fictional city inspired by Miami, and teams up with siblings Ana and Lucas. Ana is a street racer and Lucas, her brother, is a mechanic. There is a little more to the story, but the game focuses more on gameplay, which is where it shines most.
The gameplay introduces a new mechanic: whenever the player leaves their garage, they get to pick whether they want to play at nighttime or daytime. During the day there are authorized race events that reward the player with an in-game currency called bank. The daytime events include: Sprints, circuit races, time trials, and drift contests. At night time there are illegal street races that take place, which rewards the player with rep that goes toward the games leveling system. Police are also a very important component to the game and tend to be more aggressive during nighttime often being a nuisance and interfering in races. They will even wait at the finish line to pursue the victor of the race. When they do this obviously starts a pursuit, which are difficult to escape because they will not hesitate to ram the player’s car and total it if it happens enough times.
The environment for Heat is very detailed and has more to offer than the last game. It consists of long bridges, big forest areas, natural marshes, and big city areas. At nighttime, the effects of the lightning make the cities skyline for the most part visible. The only weather that Palm city experiences is rain in correlation with its tropical climate and the rain even creates puddles with convincing shadows.
In conclusion, Need For Speed: Heat is an enjoyable racing game that accomplishes its goal of keeping some of the aspects that made previous entries successful while also offering new features as well. Its grounded racing mechanics and thrillful cop chases can either keep the player at the edge of their seat, or cause a minor annoyance to the gameplay. Overall, fans of previous Need For Speed titles or just fans of racing games should think about picking up a copy of this game.