Need for speed Heat is the 24th entry in this racing series and is available this month on PS Plus. I found the experience of the game to be both frantic, exhilarating, and fun as well as extremely annoying. In a fairly short amount of time despite some obvious flaws the game soon became an addictive adrenaline-fuelled racing adventure. Need for Speed Heat is set to an alternative version of Miami known as Palm City. Palm City is an open-world sandbox with a variety of different areas from clustered narrow inner city streets to sprawling spiraling mountain roads to long super-speed highways.
The areas are covered with a variety of activities for players to embark upon. These activities include different race variations, sprint races, circuit races, drift races, and off-road races. There are also large jumps to attempt, billboards to smash, improvised drift circuits, target speed markets to try and hit as well as different types of collectibles to find. In many ways, Need for Speed Heat is reminiscent of criterion’s 2008 Burnout Paradise.
The main contributor to the rather addictive nature of Need for Speed Heat is a role-playing leveling-up process that is split into 2 different modes, a daytime, and nighttime mode. During the day players earn money through various activities which they can use to purchase a wide range of different cars and upgrades. Need for speed Heat includes some incredible cars like the Ferrari Enzo, McLaren P1, Porsche 911 GT3 and the Koenigsegg Regera to name a few so the quest was on to earn enough to purchase it.
Experience points are introduced as reputation points and although a relatively small amount can be earned from select activities in the day mode it is the nighttime mode where you will earn the bulk of it. Here the police are extremely active and your activities such as races or being chased by the police raise your heat level to a maximum of 5 exactly like Grand Theft Auto 5 in this respect. The heat level then acts as a multiplier to any experience you have earned but there is a catch.
If the police catch you, you lose the multiplier and an amount of money relative to the heat level you were caught in. Initially, this seems like a really good idea but in a short space of time, this mode began to really frustrate and annoyed me having purchased the dream Enzo it was time to insure it had all the best upgrades.
To do this though requires you to be on heat level 5 at night and to then reach a certain select race on the map, attempt to win that race while avoiding the insanely quick moving police, escape and somehow make it back to one of the safe houses which you will unlock whilst also ensuring your precious car doesn’t end up as scrap. What really infuriated me was that it was always raining and this never changes. The roads are always soaked so in dark slippery conditions with a veil of rain you’re forced to hurtle down narrow roads with barely time to react.
There will always be the inevitable white or blue car that has decided to just park in the middle of an intersection and always at the end of the race. Would it have killed the developers to add some variety to the weather I think not? The main story is an over-the-top melodramatic storyline with an almost hilarious main antagonist in the form of lieutenant Frank Mercer voiced by Josh Cox. The story is delivered at certain landmarks in the player’s progression and is relayed through cut scenes that aren’t that well made.
However, there was something very soap opera-like about this story and it is good to have a story to ground yourself in at least. There is an extensive largely garage-based soundtrack which wasn’t really my style or preference save for a few tracks. Need for speed Heat drags a few inherent flaws with it but the frenetic and adrenalin-pumping nature of the racing at its core results in a largely fun and entertaining gaming experience. Anyone looking for a fast-paced racing game should definitely check it out.
Need for Speed Heat will be available to PlayStation Plus members until Monday, October 03.
Need for speed Heat drags with a few inherent flaws but the frenetic and adrenalin-pumping nature of the racing at its core results in a largely fun and entertaining gaming experience.