Welcome to Palm City.
Ghost Games and EA’s Need for Speed Heat is out now, bringing with it the promise of high speed thrills and cop chases. Thanks to the game’s early access launch via EA Access and Origin Access, many have already been tearing through the streets of Palm City for a few days now, but with the game having released globally now, many more will be joining in on the fun soon. To get you started as you dive into the game, in this feature we’ve compiled a few beginner’s tips and tricks.
Drifting in Need for Speed Heat works differently from most other racing games. Rather than pumping the brakes as you slide into corners, in Need for Speed Heat, you need to let go of the right trigger, and then immediately pull it again while turning. It’s a unique mechanic, and though it’s pretty accessible in its simplicity, it still takes some getting used to. So in the opening hours of the game, spend some time practicing drifting – maybe just roam around in the open world to get it just right – because later on in the game, you’ll have to make use of it quite frequently.
There’s two sides to Need for Speed Heat– day racing and night racing. During the day, any events you take part in are sanctioned, and you don’t have to worry about any traffic on the courses or any cops trying to shut you down. At night though, things are much different, with you having to deal with (light) traffic, and the occasional police chase interrupting any street races you might be participating in. Nighttime presents an interesting risk/reward mechanic, because the more your Heat level rises – which happens as you cause more trouble or if you race too many times in one night – the more the multiplies for your rewards grows. There’s definitely an incentive to keep causing trouble then- but you need to be careful. Cops will become more dogged and aggressive in their pursuit as your Heat level rises, and if you get busted, you’ll lose your multiplier, and will also suffer financial damages.
When you race during the day, you earn Bank, which is what you use to purchase upgrades and new cars, whereas when you race at night, you gain Rep, which is what unlocks more new cars, upgrade parts, and events. It goes without saying, but you should really be prioritizing night racing. Of course, you will have to do day races as well, because there’s nothing you can do if you don’t have money, but seeing as you won’t be able to spend your money on anything until you have enough Rep to unlock the stuff you want to purchase, it’s better to focus more on night racing first.
There are several safe houses scattered throughout Palm City, and they serve the function you’d expect- they serve as fast travel points during the day and as your only refuge from cops during the night, while you can also switch between day and night at these locations. These points, though, need to be unlocked first, which you can do by simply driving to them. So take a couple dozen minutes when you begin playing and go around the open world to unlock all the safe houses- they’re all marked on your map, eve if they’re locked, so it’s just a matter of driving to them. And it doesn’t take long either.
Almost as important as safe houses are gas stations- unlike safe houses though, they’re not all marked on the map. If you’re close to one, it’ll get marked on your map, so always be on the lookout for one in your vicinity. Why exactly are these important? Well, because driving through safe houses completely restores your car to pristine condition, and damage is always a looming threat, especially at night, when you might get into dangerous hot pursuits. Do remember though that you can only repair your car a limited number of times every night.
Need for Speed Heat takes a leaf out of Forza Horizon’s book and makes most of the assets in its environments destructible. Of course, large trees, buildings, or bridges are most definitely not destructible, but fences, smaller trees, barricades, and any other smaller obstructions you see ca usually be driven through. So when you’re racing or even when you’re just driving around the open world, don’t worry too much about crashing into anything- most likely you’ll just be able to drive right through that stuff.
Need for Speed Heat has an impressive amount of upgrade and customization options, but you might be tempted to spend any money you earn on cars (which are unlocked at regular intervals in the game). And while you definitely should purchase at least a couple or so different vehicles, we’d recommend spending the bulk of your money on upgrades. Rather than spending large amounts of money on better cars, just spend that money on a car you have and like to make it better, rather than having to purchase multiple upgrades for multiple new cars again and again. Of course, at times you’ll have to purchase new cars, such as when you require a particular kind of vehicle for a particular kind of race, but even in many of those cases, you can simply purchase new parts (or use one of the ones already in your inventory) to tool your vehicle as you require. Long story short- rather than investing in new cars, invest in lots and lots of parts and components.
OPEN WORLD ACTIVITIES
The open world of Palm City is dotted with various activities that you can mess about with when you’re not participating in races. From finding safe houses and gas stations – which we’ve already discussed – to speed traps and destroying billboards to drifting challenges, stunt jumps, looking for street art, and much more. And while how much mileage you get out of most of these will depend on how much of a completionist you are, a few of these yield tangible and useful rewards. Activities such as crashing through billboards and finding and destroying flamingos give you small amounts of both Bank and Rep, so do both these things whenever you spot them in the world. They serve as a nice little bonus for your progress on the side.
Another way to get bank and rep is to complete racer challenges. You can pick these up at garages and safe houses, with one set corresponding to day activities and another to nighttime, and the activities included in both of them give you nice bonuses. Completing the entire set nets you with a larger reward, and most of these are usually activities you can accomplish pretty easily during the course of regular gameplay. So whenever you’re about to head out into the open world from a garage, pick up a new set of challenges.