Ghost Games trudges on with yet another NFS title.
The Need for Speed franchise has been stumbling from one error to the next, going from the ill-advised online-only shenanigans of Need for Speed (2015) to the game-ruining loot boxes and microtransactions of Need for Speed Payback. But with the upcoming Need for Speed Heat, EA and developers Ghost Games are looking to turn things around. How successfully they manage to do that remains to be seen, but in the short time between the game’s official reveal and now, we’ve learned a good deal about it. With its launch right around the corner, in this feature, we’ll be taking a look at the 15 most important details you need to know about Need for Speed Heat. Without further ado, let’s jump in.
Need for Speed Heat sees players participating in an organized racing event known as Speedhunters Showdown, which, as you may have guessed, also encompasses plenty of illegal street racing. As players progress through the event, they attract the attention of the cops, and eventually, become the target of a dedicated task force. EA have said that with NFS Heat, they want to revitalize the cop vs street racer fantasy, and the game definitely seems to be set up that way.
As we’ve come to expect from Need for Speed games now (and really, most racing games), Need for Speed Heat will be an open world title. It’ll be set in the fictional Palm City, which heavily evokes Miami in style and aesthetic. How large the open world environment will be isn’t something the developers have gone into, but we can probably expect a pretty decent-sized map.
At the beginning of the game, players will pick one out twelve of pre-made avatars, but these can be switched at any time throughout the game. Throughout the game, you can also customize the look of their character across various parameters, including your hairstyle, any accessories you want to wear, your clothing, and more.
One thing that Need for Speed Payback had that Need for Speed Heat won’t is a day and night cycle. Rather than having a constantly moving 24-hour cycle, Heat will instead have separate night and day options, and will allow players to choose between them at will. During the day, you will be able to participate in legal events, while during the night, you’ll be taking to the streets in illegal races.
Participating in Speedhunters Showdown events during the day will see players racing in legit events, and finishing and performing well in these events will net you with bank, which is this game’s currency. Using that currency, players will be able to purchase upgrades for vehicles, and then use those upgrades to customize your cars.
And what about when you’re racing at night? Being a street racing-focused game, your reputation is going to be an important currency in and of itself. During nighttime, you’ll be participating in illegal street races, which will net you with more rep. While bank is used to upgrade and customize your car, you use rep to level up your own character. As you earn more rep though, you also attract the attention of the cops. That, incidentally, brings us to our next point.
Cop chases in Need for Speed Heat have seen significant improvements, as per the developers. For starters, players will have several ways to escape cops should they ever get on your tail. You can take the aggressive approach and make them crash, you can try and outrun them, or you can look for places in the open world to hide out and wait for the cops to pass. Cops also drive different kinds of vehicles, with low-tier police driving around in Dodge Chargers, while high-tier cops driving Corvettes.
Participating in pursuits also nets you with more rep, while the behaviour of the police also changes based on what time of day it is when they’re pursuing you, with them being much more aggressive during nighttime. Police cars will also have strength meters (as will your own vehicle), which is essentially their health bar, and if you want to completely wreck them, you’ll have to keep crashing into them to deplete their strength. Finally, though the cops won’t intervene when you’re participating in legit daytime events, if you’re out racing at night, the police will intervene and try to bust you no matter what.
The mechanic that makes and defines cop chases in this game, though, is the titular Heat mechanic. It’s essentially the equivalent of your Wanted level in this game, and the higher your Heat level is, the more aggressive the police will be, with 5 being the highest possible Heat level. Any heat that you accumulate will not simply go away if you do manage to escape the cops one way or another, interestingly enough, and if they see you again, they will resume pursuing you, until you go back to a safe house and lie low for a bit. However, the greater heat you have on you, the more rewards you will get, with heat acting as a multiplier of sorts. If, however, you get busted or crash your car, you lose that multiplier.
It won’t just be about daytime events, nighttime races, and cop pursuits in Need for Speed Heat though. Besides simply being to drive around the open world, there will also be plenty of optional activities. Called Driving Stories, these will be unlockable side missions focused on secondary characters that award you with rep, and can be tackled during both, daytime and nighttime.
Need for Speed Heat might not have a day-night cycle, but the game will indeed have a dynamic weather system. There isn’t much we know about it yet, but we do know that things such as rain, mist, and fog will change up the world from time to time, and will also affect driving conditions. An obvious example is roads become slicker when it’s raining- hopefully, this will have an actual impact on handling.
The biggest use you will have for your rep in NFS Heat will be unlocking cars. Cars in the game will have designated performance levels, depending on things such as top speed, nitrous, power, and more, and vehicles themselves will be split across multiple categories, ranging from hypercars, muscle cars, rally cars, SUVs, and pickups to off-road vehicles, sportscars, supercars, sedans, and more. Special edition vehicles can also be unlocked via certain specific racing events.
As you can imagine, customization is going to be an integral element in Need for Speed Heat. Using the bank you earn in the game’s daytime events, you’ll be able to purchase various upgrades. Visual customizations range across colour, paint, body, decals, effects, and more, while actual upgrades can be made to the engine, suspension, brakes, tyres, clutch, transmission, and more. Performance parts will also be split across various tiers, going from stock to Ultimate +.
NO ONLINE REQUIRED
So many games these days require persistent online connections (especially EA games). Hell, this series itself had that requirement not too long ago. However, Need for Speed Heat has no such requirements. Though it does, of course, include multiplayer gameplay, if you wish, you can log off and go in for a completely offline, solo experience.
EA games inherently evoke a certain level of caution in audiences where microtransactios are concerned. Need for Speed Payback itself was roundly criticized for its aggressive monetization. With Heat, EA seem to be changing things up. Other than time savers and DLC for vehicles, there supposedly won’t be any microtransactions in the game, while loot boxes are out entirely.