Commemorating Need For Speed’s 25th anniversary, Need for Speed Heat is finally here. EA has listened to all of us and finally pulled out all the stops. NFS: Heat has almost none of the problems that plagued its predecessor, NFS: Payback.
The beginning of the game reminds me of NFS: Most Wanted (2005)’s beginning. There are cops in the city (a lot), corrupt cops to be precise. They can initiate chases against you just because your car is nice.
Upon booting up the game, the first thing noticeable at first glance is the graphics. The cars look gorgeous, and the city even more so. The roads, when wet, display stunningly beautiful reflections on them (stunning for a game that does not use ray-tracing). Traffic cars and opponents’ cars look gorgeous, too.
I thought the cars looked a tad too reflective, but that only adds to their allure rather than detracting from it. Car revving sounds aren’t that good at the initial stages. I mean… which racing game gives you cool cars at the start? Answer: almost none.
Anyway, its because the cars at the beginning that you can buy aren’t that good, but as you progress through the game, you will unlock many cars, like the Lamborghini Aventador and the Koenigsegg Regera.
Customization is very, very good. Away went the idiotic and senseless card mechanic of Payback: in comes the classic part by the part upgrade. You upgrade a particular part if you have the money and have it unlocked. This is simple and effective and also what everybody naturally expects from a racing videogame.
Car customization up to minute details
Customization goes much deeper than performance; there’s the ‘paint and decal’ editor from Payback and NFS:2015 (which is very good). There is an exhaust sound tuning option that allows you to customize five parameters of your car’s exhaust to tune the sound to aural perfection.
Making a surprise return in the NFS series is the return of under glow neon lights and tire smoke, which invoked a lot of Underground 2 nostalgia. Air suspension is also present. Overall, the customization options offered this time are comprehensive which should allow you to modify your car the way you like it.
Speaking of nostalgia, Heat features three Legends cars (famous cars from previous NFS games). There is the BMW M3 GTR, which needs absolutely no introduction. There are also the Nissan 350z and Skyline GT-R R34 from the Underground series. These cars are obtained by completing a set of objectives.
NFS Heat’s main feature
Let’s get to Heat’s main feature: the day/night mechanism. Day time allows you to race in sanctioned races and earn cash, with minimal police presence and aggression. NFS: Rival’s car damage and repair mechanic makes a return, and day time allows unlimited repairs. Night Mode, is a very different game.
Races are now unsanctioned street races that earn you rep. Police are now out in force and can initiate a chase with you if they spot you. They become aggressive, using all tricks in the book to try and stop you. You also get a maximum of 3 repairs and getting busted means losing some money and all the rep you earned for the particular night. It’s always a risk.
The heat level is also present and determines the ferocity of the police. This also ensures that players don’t stick to a particular mode: progress in both modes is required to move forward in the story. Night mode earns you rep to unlock races, cars, and parts while Day mode earns you the cash required to buy the cars and parts.
The campaign storyline looks promising. As it has been 2 days since the game’s release to Early Access, I haven’t played through it a lot, and hence cannot comment much about it. From what I’ve seen, however, the story and acting are much better than NFS: Payback.
The first scene had me scared, something I’ve not felt in NFS games since 2005’s Most Wanted. It looks very promising.
Minimum System Requirements
The requirements for Need For Speed Heat, are a tad high if you want to run on higher graphics settings. I have a GTX 1650 and got 40 fps average with the Ultra preset at 1920*1080. Your mileage may vary. The minimum GPU required, as per EA, is a Radeon R9 280x or an Nvidia GeForce GTX 760, paired with a minimum of 8 GB of system RAM.
I’ve observed no crashes or major stutters so far, which should be the case for many people. Don’t forget to update your graphics drivers, as Nvidia released launch day drivers on November 5th with day-1 support for Heat. The game looks well optimized and should run beautifully on more powerful graphics cards, even at high refresh rates.\
To conclude, NFS: Heat is shaping up to be a very good game. The series needed this badly since the last two entries in the series were underwhelming (NFS 2015 and Payback, the latter more so).
I haven’t liked an NFS game this much since 2012’s Most Wanted :)
The system used to run NFS Heat:
- Asus TUF Gaming FX505DT,15.6 inches 120 Hz display
- AMD Ryzen 5 3550h CPU w/ integrated Radeon Vega 8 graphics (2.1 GHz base, 3.7 GHz boost)
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 4GB graphics
- 24 GB RAM
- Graphics preset used: Ultra@1080p
- FPS: 50 max, 35 lowest, 41 average
Anyway… let’s end with a couple more screenshots- just the way you like it- shall we?
Need for Speed Heat is now available on PC, PS4, XboxOne! The game can be installed from Origin.
So good luck driving and wear your seat belts!
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