Published on December 16th, 2019 | by Zorbz
REVIEW – Need For Speed: Heat
Need for Speed is back after the last disappointing entry ‘Need for Speed: Payback’. Has the team over at Ghost Games been able to put this franchise back on track? Pun fully intended.
Story/Concept: On the story front, NFS Heat is centred around a generic character you select at the start of the game, which all look like douchebags might I add, who are trying to make their mark in the illegal street racing scene. You join a crew and compete in races to show off your skills and gain reputation from other racers all the while the police are setting up a task force to take down these loser criminals. Now the story has police doing some stupid illegal stuff making them out to be the bad guys, whilst trying to make you feel sympathetic for drivers on your crew having their cars impounded or getting arrested etc. Sorry but if you do stupid stuff like driving like a maniac in the street and put people’s lives at risk all the while wreaking havoc by causing property damage, then I have zero sympathy for you. I really have no idea who this is supposed to cater for and honestly just don’t have a story altogether if this is the crap that is portrayed. Frustrations aside, the acting is tolerable and thankfully the story missions are few and far between.
On the concept side, gameplay is divided between the day and night settings where races during the day are legal races with no police interaction and earn you cash. The night-time events earn you respect points which unlocks new parts to customise your vehicle with, but at the cost of having to deal with police chases during races. It’s a cool idea, it just sucks that the gameplay I prefer without the police is set in the daytime mode where I don’t enjoy the visuals. I can’t win! which you will find out as you read on.
Graphics: On the visual front, the game is a bit hit and miss. The gameplay during the night time setting is where the game shines as there are plenty of neon signs and buildings emitting bright lights which truly look amazing, especially when it’s raining and everything is reflecting off the puddles on the road. Add in the sense of speed you gain racing with rain flying down and damn I can’t even put it into words, it just looks badass. Flip to the daytime setting and things take a turn for the worse. You drive in what looks to be an afternoon sky where the sky is turning orange as the sun is coming down and everything around just looks bland and boring. All the colours look washed out and nothing pops. A stark contrast between the two settings.
Environments in game look good and there is a nice variety from city streets to a big shipping yard to a rundown race course, however don’t drive along the beach area because damn do those wave effects look terrible. It may seem like I am being overly critical and that is exactly what I am doing as this game is standing up against the Forza Horizon series which looks absolutely stunning in comparison in which the attention to detail of the cars and environments as well as the effects are all lovingly created.
Character models are horrible, but who cares as the cars are what matter and they all look great with a lot of cool customisation options to choose from. Some people online are really talented with using the decals to create some super cool designs, along with the wealth of colour options as well as paint types that you can deck out your car with.
Gameplay: This is where NFS Heat really shines. The racing is fast and fluid with more of an arcade feel instead of a pure simulation racing game. This is thanks to the awesome new drift mechanic, which means whipping around corners at blistering speeds is easy to pull off. Speaking of blistering
speeds, damn does this game really feel fast. At times I felt I was going so fast I couldn’t even tell where I was going, but with the tight mechanics and the adrenaline pumping, it really makes for an exhilarating experience.
Apart from standard races you also have off road events and drift events where you’re drifting to earn a high score. These have always been some of my favourite events in the series, it’s a shame drag races aren’t included though.
In terms of the police that chase you down when playing in the ‘Night’ mode, they can be quite frustrating when they bust you for something stupid as you being next to them near a wall for too long even though you have room for a getaway but fortunately this doesn’t happen to often. That would be my only real issue with the gameplay side of things. I would prefer no police at all, but a lot of people really enjoy this aspect so it’s up to personal preference.
Throw in some jumps, speed camera challenges as well as billboards to smash and you have some extra meat added to the game besides the racing/drift events themselves. This fleshes out the open world aspect to the game.
I just feel something is missing from the track variety, I don’t find any of the races memorable or unique, but this is what happens when you set races in an open world and don’t have the ability to really make some cool crazy courses.
Sound: The cars all sound great, you can even adjust the sound of them with muffler tweaks and such which is a nice little added touch to get the sound you want out of your chosen car. I always prefer to put the sound of the car down so I can hear more of the music, all of this is fully customisable in the options which is always welcome.
In terms of the soundtrack, it is catered to fans of electronic and rap music as the rock and metal is all gone. This sucks for people like myself who like a bit of variety and if you don’t like the above styles mentioned then you won’t like the soundtrack. Fortunately, there’s some real bangers to listen to, it just sucks they didn’t cater to everyone’s taste.
In the voice acting department, there’s some decent acting but then there’s also a lot of cringey performances. Honestly the story sucked so much I started to tune them out anyways.
Awesomeness: Unfortunately, there’s no one thing that really stands out as being amazing or ground-breaking, on the other side of the coin though the same can be said that there is no one real thing that completely sucks. Sure, the story is bad, but it doesn’t affect the gameplay itself. If it did then it would be note worthy of mentioning it here.
I do appreciate all the customisation options as a big plus, but then take out modes like Drag and having some generic courses to race through, it really is hard to find something that really sets this game apart.
Final Word: All round Need for Speed heat shines in the main area it should which is the gameplay. It’s just a shame a weak story, a very genre specific playlist and ‘Daytime’ graphics bring the overall package down.
I would still recommend playing this, and it is definitely a much better game then ‘Payback’ before it, but if the series is to take back its spot of being one of the best racing series around then the next entry really needs to hit with a bang.
Out of 5 Bugs!