Need For Speed Heat is a game which comes developed by Ghost Games who some may know as the developers of Need For Speed Rivals or Need For Speed Payback. The game was published by EA and is available on PC, Xbox One and PS4.
Racing games have always been pretty high on my list of favourite genres for gaming and the Need For Speed franchise has always been one that I’ve regularly gone back to. Need For Speed games have always offered gamers an arcade style racing experience and have always been fun to play without being too serious and they have always been popular.
In recent years there have been some problems with the Need For Speed franchise and there have been a lot of odd decisions made. This is probably due to EA policies in the past but it’s led to things like loot box style car upgrades like we had in Need For Speed Payback or even worse not being able to pause the game at all because it’s ‘always online’. It’s been sad times lately for fans. But luckily with Need For Speed Heat both EA and Ghost Games seemed to have recognised something and you can now actually pause your game and also customise your car without having to go through loot boxes. It is a welcome change.
Car customisation is the main attraction of Need For Speed Heat. This has been a feature that developers seemed to either ignore completely or get completely wrong ever since Need For Speed Underground stopped being a thing. It seems that this time around it was done right and maybe even better than in the past. Players are able to customise their car’s performance parts to make it quicker by upgrading the engine, changing the tyres or adjusting the suspension. Visual upgrades are also present in the game with players being able to change both the look of a car’s body shape and also its colour. By making this available as a player I felt I was able to make my car in my game unique and more specifically, how I wanted it.
The story in Need For Speed Heat is set up in a way that you are a racer. There are street races during the day which are legal and street races at night that are not and these will attract the attention of cops. As a player you will start at the bottom of the racing world and work your way up. As you win more races you will increase your reputation and become more famous. As you keep going throughout the game you will keep upgrading your cars to make them faster and also own many more cars which you can purchase at any time (with over 100 cars to choose from in the game). But all of this money and fame come the dangers or attention and the ego. These things attract cops and other negative consequences. It’s a tough world the racers world and as a player you experience it first hand.
The story in Need For Speed Heat is very basic and we’ve seen similar storylines to this before. But the story does set up one of the game’s gameplay mechanics which is day and night racing. Day racing comprises or legal street races in which you can win cash. Night racing is where the illegal street races come into play and these are where the cops will chase you. The switching between day and night mode is a nice addition and but as the game does not change day/night dynamically like most open world games it means the player must switch between day and night manually. It’s not really too big of a deal though and I felt that without having to do the whole dynamic changes that possibly there was more detail in the game environments. Some of the textures on things like traffic lights were a lot more detailed this year compared to last year’s Need For Speed Payback release.
Driving cars in Need For Speed Heat is very arcade like. They turn and swerve like a pure arcade racer and there are no simulator elements to the steering at all. I don’t mind this as it’s a lot of fun to just casually play. I don’t always need to have a racing simulator. But what disappointed me most about the gameplay was the lack of cockpit view for any of the cars. It seems odd to me that to can’t take a look inside the car interiors especially when compared to something like the recently released Grid which did this view so well. The arcade style racing of Need For Speed Heat mixed with the cockpit view and the roads the player drives on would have been great. Seemed like a completely missed opportunity to me that was left out for some reason.
The music in the game is something which I don’t mind but occasionally I hate it as well. There are very few songs to cycle through and they get repetitive quickly. The songs do match the game’s attitude and style but more effort could have been done here, the game just simply needed more tracks to listen to.
Need For Speed Heat has something different this year in that not only can your customise your car but you can also customise your driver. At the start of the game you will choose a character and this character is who you will play with and see in the story mode. Their clothes are all customisable and so too are their hairstyles. It’s a nice addition to the game and when added in, in addition to the car customisation, it helps to personalise the in game experience just a little bit more.
Overall I had a good time with Need For Speed Heat. It was good to see both Ghost Games and EA changing things this year and removing the silly loot boxes and also allowing us to pause the game again. I also liked that the game had heavy car customisation mechanics on its over 100 cars. Being able to customise the car and even my character helped to personalise my racing experience. Day and night races were fun and the story was good enough to set up the day and night gameplay mechanics and provide a good reason for the player to switch between modes. Disappointed only really with the music and lack of cockpit view. But otherwise it’s a pretty fun game with arcade style racing that will be an enjoyable go to racing game when I want some casual fun for some time. Happy to recommend adding Need For Speed Heat to your gaming collection.