In less than two weeks, we’ll be prowling the neon-streaked streets of Need For Speed Heat.
While the previous few titles in the franchise took a different direction, after playing the demo of Heat, it’s safe to say that the series is trying to get back on track. Going back to the roots of what made the series so enjoyable, Heat is packed with detailed customization and underground street races.
Need For Speed has always been a series that I really appreciated in the racing genre. Driving around a big city in luxurious cars, and customizing your dream vehicle is a childhood dream come true. I remember the long hours I spent on games like Need For Speed: Carbon endlessly collecting and customizing cars.
But in the last few years, the series drifted in a different direction, one I wasn’t a big fan of. But after getting my hands on Heat, I can safely say the series is going back to its roots, and I’m genuinely hyped.
I got to experience the three main things you’ll be doing in the game: wild daytime races, illegal underground races at night, and detailed car customization.
Speeding Toward the Sunset
I started the Need For Speed Heat demo by customizing my car. From there, I quickly proceeded to my first day-race, which took place in Palm City’s port. In daytime races, you compete for cash prizes. While they’re allegedly legal, they’re no less dangerous than the nighttime variety.
Like in all previous entries in the series, you can drift and use nitrous oxide to boost. This is where Heat gives a new and excellent sense of speed. When you deploy nitrous oxide, everything blurs like you’re getting into hyperdrive. The mix of bright, colorful environment and cars, and the reflections from rain puddles is like a shot of adrenaline. It’s been a while since I felt this rush of speed and exhilaration in a driving game.
The tracks in Need For Speed Heat don’t have invisible walls, letting you cut corners as you please. If an opportunity to take the lead presents itself, you can always go for it, even if it means knocking down a few barriers.
The day belongs to semi-legit races for prize money, but nights are all about illegal underground races for reputation. While money seems somewhat more important than reputation, it will unlock new cars and customization parts. The festival of colors and lights that is the daytime races is doubled at night when everything is contrasted with the dark night sky.
With night races, you don’t just have to win, you also need to escape the police and make it back to your secret hideout. Just like in the classic Need for Speed titles – the more mess you make, the more heat you’ll gain, and the more likely the cops will use extreme measures to stop your rampage.
During the demo’s night race, the police sent a fleet of sports cars and heavy rhino cars after me, just like in the old games. The police can also set up spike strips that ruin your tires. But unlike those older games, even if you run over spikes, it doesn’t mean you’ll be spending the rest of the night in jail. Your car will take damage but eventually recover, so you can continue to escape the police at exhilarating speeds.
Throughout the race and the nightly chase, it was clear as day that the neon-drenched aesthetic of Need For Speed Heat works really well in the dark. The checkpoints, buildings, and police cars all light up in every color of the spectrum, and the result is breathtaking. Heat is really shaping up to be one of the prettier racing games of this generation.
At the end of the race, I managed to escape the police. Unfortunately, I immediately hit a police vehicle, totaled my car, got arrested, and had to pay a fine. That’s the life of a street racer – you risk it all to win it all.
Showing Off Your Swag
Whether you’re caught by the police or manage to escape, you’ll eventually return to your garage to customize your cars. Need For Speed Heat lets you customize everything in your car, from hood to brake discs. You choose which parts to use, their color, and the material. You can spend your reputation to unlock new vehicles and components, and your money to purchase them.
Customizing your car also includes a detailed wrap editor. Unlike games such as Anthem, which only have pre-set designs, in Need For Speed Heat, you can design these wraps yourself. The game lets you apply stickers in all shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns, and if you take your time, you can create some really amazing designs.
If you’re worried that you’ll be swept straight into the action and won’t have time to create your dream car – don’t worry. EA has got your back with a free app called Need For Speed Heat Studio. The app lets you design vehicles that you can be later transfer to the full game.
Customization doesn’t end with your car. You can create your own driver and dress them up in various clothes so that he can proudly represent you even from outside the vehicle.
Need for Speed is coming around the corner at full speed. If you like you love customizing your car to the tiniest details or just want to race, I highly recommend you hitch a ride. I’m personally very excited already, and can’t wait to return to the series’ “good old days.”
Need For speed Heat releases November 8 on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Get ready to start your engines.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.