I Played Need For Speed Heat And It Isn't Terrible
Today on the day that Need For Speed Heat hit the market, I picked up a copy to play. My initial impressions are great but that doesn’t mean the game is perfect either. The customization is definitely as good as that of Payback and then some. There are decals scattered throughout the map as street art that are waiting for you to discover and unlock them. Tuning the exhaust sound of your car, changing a 4 speed gearbox out for a 6 speed gearbox and engine swaps are the cherry on top of the nearly endless customization options available to you. There are even extra goodies like radar jammers, repair kits, reinflating tires and instant nitrous refill that you can use but so far I have not fitted them to my car. My experience so far shows me that all visual customizations for cars are unlocked from the beginning; the trick is to earn the cash to buy them doing day races.
As far as the driving dynamics goes, it actually works pretty well. Think of the grip/drift slider in Need For Speed 2015 but then add tarmac and off road to the mix. So you can have a grippy off road car or a drifty tarmac car or vice versa for both; that or you can have a car that does everything well but nothing excellently. Need For Speed 2015 grip cars understeered a lot but that is not really the case with NFS Heat cars. I think the driving dynamics are pretty good, being arcade enough for Need For Speed but adding enough realism to keep things interesting.
Day and night modes pan out very well. Legal day racing and world roaming are more or less cop free and gain you in game currency to buy cars and car parts. There are cops in day mode but they are a lot more relaxed about your rubber burning antics compared with night mode. Night mode brings the vigiliant cops and illegal street racing to earn reputation points to unlock good cars and performance modifications. Illegal street racing and engaging in high stakes police chases both earn you reputation points. You can only repair your car at night 3 times and in order to reset the repair counter you need to switch to day mode or go to a safe house. Plotwise, NFS Heat seems to have combined Rivals with the classic Most Wanted and Carbon games of yore. It’s more focused on street racers versus cops than being an action movie with cars involved.
When you play online, human racers drive in the same world as you. This means that you can be minding your own business free roaming when a human player blasts past you in a race with NPC racers and cops in hot pursuit (pun intended). It adds another dimension to the gameplay overall. The downsides of the game are noticable but minimal. The game can feel like a grind with a slow start at the beginning with a lot of cars and performance parts not available but that could also be a good motivator to keep playing to unlock the good stuff. The AI racers you play against in single player mode seem like a cakewalk in some races and very hard to beat in others. It is worth noting that I switched the difficulty a few times and the performance of my personal car and my AI opponents wasn’t always the same.
I would rate Need For Speed Heat 8/10. I would highly suggest you at least play it once, don't knock it until you try it.