Did EA games create a nostalgia generator? Day and Night gameplay, enjoyable cop chases, simple yet extensive customization, and arcade-styled driving. It wistfully tugs on the heartstrings.
NFS Heat delivers on what the fandom has been pining for since the decent into mediocrity. Is it as good as NFS Most Wanted, the 2005 edition not that poser from 2011? In short no, but it is damn near close.
Earn bank in the sunlight and rep under the stars, the day/night gameplay is a welcomed feature with a cool twist. In order to customize your ride, you will need cash for the cost and reputation to unlock higher level mods. This applies to new cars as well.
EA smartly ensured that a player could earn rep during the day and cash during the night, proportionally though, from my experience playing at night is more efficient for both cash and rep.
Day-time gameplay sets the scene of exploring the city travelling from race to race, partaking in the Speedhunters Showdown race series. This completely legal race series focusses on closed route racing formats; circuit, drift, sprint and time trial. Police activity is mild, and their general demeanor is well within the limits of their own laws.
In stark contrast nighttime gameplay is rife with police activity and they will pursue you with extreme prejudice. In both time settings your vehicle has a health bar of sorts and enough knocks by the police will result in the car shutting down. Coupled with spike-strips and kill switches don’t fool yourself into thinking that evading the cops will be easy. Getting busted results in bank and rep loss based on your heat level at the time of being busted. EA has definitely improved the difficulty of the cop chases, similar to the Most Wanted heydays.
The best part of all of this is that you choose what environment to play in. In theory, you could exclusively play during the day or night. Progression may be stifled with this method, but the choice is available.
Both visual and mechanical modification has an elegant simplicity. Providing capacity to delve deeply into finer tuning whilst still maintaining a higher-level approach which appeals to gamers who have love arcade-style racing games but avoid simulators.
New additions such as the active and passive add-ons to the vehicle assist with escaping the cops, becoming more tank or increasing nitrous duration. This separation from the base mods assists greatly in ensuring the modding system avoids complication.
But wait there is more, the NFS Heat Studio app allows you to customize away from home and when the chance to play arises the mods will carry through. Increasing actual drive time and incentivizing usage by offering cars drops/unlockables in the app.
EA didn’t stop here though, pick an avatar and customize it as well. No performance mods here, boo, only aesthetic changes can be made.
The cherry on the top, live tuning has advanced to the point that swapping out entire mods whilst in the open world, is the new reality. Prep for the next race which may be more drift orientated by swapping; tires, suspension and even your engine to suit the required style without needing to head to the parts shop or the garage.
A fairly decent narrative follows an up starter, your customized character, joining the racing exhibition within Palm City. The local police have no issue with the Speedhunters Showdown series but any drivers partaking in illegal street racing or not obeying road rules will be ‘hunted’. There is a little more to it than that and undertones of shadiness present themselves early on. When the sun sets the High-Speed Task Force holds nothing back and will do everything possible to shut down any street racer.
NFS Heat ticks most of the boxes and truly is a tribute to the NFS rendition of yester-year. This is definitely a game worth the asking price, thankfully EA has discounted it this Black Friday, so do yourself a favour you will thank me later.
NFS Heat Rating: 8.5/10
Check out the NFS Heat website: NFS Heat