Full disclosure here, I thought Need for Speed Payback sucked. More “full” disclosure here, this console generation has sucked a lot of the fun out of the Need for Speed series in general. Thankfully, Need for Speed Heat is one of the most fun games in the series this console generation and gets things back on the right track.
How to Download Need for Speed Heat
You can download the game from Origin for Windows, from the Microsoft Store for Xbox One, and from the PlayStation Store for PS4. Click on the Download button below the review.
The Game Review
The team behind the game, Ghost has been quite clever. Rather than try and reinvent the wheel or follow on from Payback they have made a kind of NFS greatest hits. By that I mean they have taken many things we liked in games such as Hot Pursuit and even Underground and kind of melded it all together in the open-world NFS style that people expect in a modern game.
The actual racing is something that I have had a lot of fun with. Need for Speed: Heat is the kind of game I can fire up and just have fun driving and screwing around. The default drifting is done with tapping the accelerator as you go around corners, but you can change it to the more “traditional” style.
One thing I really like is the way the world while looking awesome and having a ton of scenery. Not many things bring your car to a screeching stop which is great. I hate more arcade-style racers that will bring to a full stop when you clip a wall or something, it takes the fun out of it, but there is very little here that stops you.
One of the things I hated about Payback was the upgrade system. Thankfully, Ghost has a very fair lottery-based upgrade system that works very well. There are a ton of upgrades and those who love to tweak wheels, change engines and customize every aspect of their car will be very happy here. I am not a huge “tinkerer” in games, but even I found it easy to upgrade my cars.
The game is set in a place called Palm City which is clearly inspired by Miami. I love the setting here and it is cool the way it can go from day to night. The game looks great during the day, but the bright lights really pop when you are racing at night, as does the actual racing itself.
During the day you can take part in “legal” races against other racers. At night it is all about illegal street racing where as well as racing, you have to watch for the cops and build up your rep. The night racing is so close to being perfect, but the cops are relentless and it sometimes feels like they spawn out of nowhere which can feel a little cheap.
The story mode in the game is fun. It is not as cringy or trying as hard as previous games in the series with its story and it is all the better for it. I am not saying it is great or Oscar-winning stuff, but as a kind of Fast and Furious inspired story it works well enough in this game.
I am very, very happy with what Ghost has done with Need for Speed: Heat. Above all else this is just a really fun racing game and the best Need for Speed game this generation. If Payback soured you on the series, you should still give this a chance as it really is a great time.
- Palm City looks great (especially at night)
- The racing feels great
- Not a ton of stuff to slow you down
- The upgrade system feels fair and is easy, but also in-depth
- The best Need for Speed game in years!
- Some might have to change the controls for drifting
- The cops can appear out of nowhere