Like losing your identity and enthusiasm, those of you who loved the Need for Speed series in the past certainly don’t see this impression as too much to explain what happened during the last few series. From a racing game in the past that has a big name with such a strong association with quality, it became an arcade racing game series that seemed designed to just add to the publisher’s coffers – EA. Variety of unpopular policies from the decision to present the always-online concept that did not contribute much to the experience that existed until the crazy microtransactions were implemented like mobile games happened in the past series. The good news? All of these sins, at least, are healed in the latest series – Need for Speed Heat.
So, what exactly does Need for Speed Heat offer? Why do we call it a nonsense racing experience? This review will discuss it deeper for you.
Welcome to Palm City, where racing is the “life” of the city itself. You act as your own concoction character at first, just interested in testing your guts at the Speedhunter Showdown. This ambition brings you to meet with Lucas Rivera – a former racer and owner of a super large workshop in the city who does not hesitate to recommend you several types of vehicles to choose from. Lucas was apparently not the only blood of the Rivera family who was so tempted to chase adrenaline in the name of speed. The younger sister – Ana Rivera also carries the same interests, but illegally.
With a dream to recruit and rebuild her crew, Ana starts to look at you as one of the potential racers to fill one of the vacant spaces. But as can be predicted, Palm City is not a “friendly” city for connoisseurs of this speed, especially those who like to show off the beauty of the car and its modification at night. Palm City has a special police department named as the High-Speed Task Force whose mission is to capture and eradicate illegal racers in any way. As can be predicted, you and Ana enter this target.
But almost all the police who joined the High-Speed Task Force from Palm City, especially the top brass who were keen to arrest and confiscate various racing cars, were not good people. There is an obvious smell of corruption that drives you and Ana to fight to open this sad veil into public spaces. But along with the stronger your resistance, the more crazy the Palm City police effort to silence it.
So, can you and Ana fight the corruption of the Palm City police? What kind of challenges do you have to face? You of course have to play this Need for Speed Heat to get answers to these questions.
By making the Frostbite Engine as a base, it seems to have become an indirect testimony that the visual presentation of Need for Speed does not need to be doubted anymore. Unfortunately our limited knowledge about cars certainly will not be able to provide much insight into the details and accuracy of representation for each car that is presented, from the form to the sensation of driving it. But at least, we can guarantee that from the side of the world he carries on, Palm City is a world that spoiled the eyes.
We really fell in love with the way Ghost Games handled Palm City. With his tropical taste, he is not just a big city that is decorated with super tall buildings soaring with extra coconut trees in the corners of the beach. Comes with a fairly broad map size, he has several sessions that are visually captivating. From the opportunity to enjoy a more comfortable swampy area to be explored by offroad car, to a winding mountain path. Which is our favorite? Of course cool locations related to space exploration. You can find a rocket launch site with rockets that look soaring up to some giant satellite dish that is used to fire and capture radio signals. Representation of technologies that you rarely find this racing game presents a unique side of grandeur.
Need for Speed Heat also presents more objects that you can destroy during racing, although it doesn’t necessarily rationalize them with common sense. Unlike previous Need for Speed series where there are so many objects ready to make your car stop, most of the objects that you find in NFS Heat can be destroyed by just passing through it, even at low speeds. To ensure a better balancing process, for example to make sure you don’t move around arbitrarily during a race, a checkpoint-based system inside a track is used as a control base. Palm City also comes with more dangerous locations such as lakes or seas that will force your car to respawn if you accidentally fall into it, which of course in a race means extra time penalties that open up greater opportunities for opponents to catch up.
One other visual presentation effect that we like is the variety of lighting effects that it presents. Some lighting approaches that he does indeed make Need for Speed feel and look dramatic. There is always a sense of satisfaction when seeing clouds that are still left behind after heavy rain, which is also followed by soft sunlight that “peeks” from an angle, which if in a certain position produces a dazzling car sparkle. Coupled with the effect of standing water left on the road, the race becomes exciting. The Palm City situation at night is filled with lots of neon, from just road markings during racing to lighting the surrounding buildings also amplifying the dramatic side, even when the lens flares of police siren lights approach you.
Unfortunately, we cannot praise the same for audio matters, especially from the music chosen by Ghost Games for Need for Speed Heat. When it comes to voice acting during cut-scenes, he at least fulfills the basic needs for standard acting to encourage story progress. Music is the source of our complaints. Either because of our personal preference who feel that hip-hop, rap, and even punk music are far more suitable for the action to speed up Heat-style or because Ghost Games is objectively poor choice, but we personally find it difficult to enjoy the music it offers. The music dominated by techno from various sub-genres is not able to trigger and arouse adrenaline which should be essential for various tense moments when you press your vehicle’s gas button optimally. Something that is very unfortunate.
So in terms of presentation, like other Frostbite Engine games, Need for Speed Heat does look charming. In the PS4 version we tested, there was a technical problem where the game ended freeze and we had to force off our Playstation 4 to overcome it. Anthem trauma arose when this happened, but fortunately, we never experienced it again as the review process progressed. Some have speculated that this technical problem was rooted in the number of car modifications you injected, but trying it on a considerable number of modifications for a long period after the first crash, we were never faced with the same problem again.
Day and night mode
Need for Speed Heat itself offers an arcade racing game experience similar to the previous Need for Speed series. We are talking about racing games with a simple drifting system, non-simulated controls that are still exciting and tense, and a progress system that will be defined by a “Power Level” system whose numbers will be determined by the performance of the engine components that you inject into your car. Missions will be divided into two categories – side missions to get certain resources and main missions that will push the side of the story. The farther your progress, the higher the power level required, the more you are encouraged to look for resources on behalf of upgrading the various components in the car you choose. Need for Speed Heat is still struggling in a similar system.
What makes it unique now is the day-night racing system which now, no longer just creates a sensation of the dynamic world due to changes in time, but also comes with their unique mechanisms. All races in the daytime are counted as legal races and are an effective source of getting some money to spend into car components or new car variants in delar. While all races at night are counted as illegal races, and are the main source for finding a resource called “Reputation” aka reputation and a small amount of money. Present like a level system, Reputation will determine what car components and cars are open for you to buy. Every race, day or night, will be divided into several categories from street racing, off-road to drift. A standard design that will feel familiar to Need for Speed fans.
So this day and night system presents a unique dynamic. Depending on what your priorities are at the moment (beyond completing the main story), you can choose to drive the vehicle during the day or night. Do you need money to buy parts and cars that are already open? Go crazy on the official tracks during the day. You need more parts and cars to open so you can buy, which incidentally relates to your reputation and level? You must bring your vehicle “on an excursion” at night. Slowly but surely, to achieve maximum progress on each side of the story, especially considering the amount of Power Level that it demands, you will begin to master exactly when you have to race during the day or night. Cool again? Each type of race offered for day and night also varies.
One thing that is quite unique from Need for Speed Heat is the need to build specific vehicles for certain types of races. For example, you can no longer use 1 of your cars to take track, offroad and drift races all at once and hope that you will be able to win each of them. Need for Speed Heat built the system in such a way that creating vehicles for specific functions is now more effective.
You for example, it will be far easier to win a Drift-type mission by presenting a vehicle that is already pinned on a variety of components that focus on Drift rather than forcing your vehicle built for Off-Road to take the same mission. Because of a system like this, the grinding process is needed to gather the resources needed to buy the same components for your specific type of car. The good news? You are still given the opportunity to dismantle pairs of vehicle upgrades to be paired in another vehicle, if you are “lazy” to do this grinding process.
The good news? There is no problem like rubberbanding for AI, which is your opponent in Need for Speed Heat. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Rubberbanding – as is the transition – rubber bands are used to explain a phenomenon where enemy AIs in racing games are built in such a way that regardless of how weak their power levels are, they will consistently be able to race and magically, parallel to You. Need for Speed Heat does not have this problem. This means, those of you who already have super fast cars will easily leave a car that is indeed performing slower, to the point where you can over-lap. While AI cars are indeed fast, they will act fast according to their power level and need a certain extra hard work to be followed. This non-comparable rubbish system makes Need for Speed Heat feel balanced. What’s better? Making all the grinding process desperately you do indeed feels to have a significant and supposed effect.
So in addition to the various component elements that affect performance, Need for Speed Heat also has a level of cosmetic customization that counts deeply, from concocting your own decal to choosing to install different cosmetic parts in different parts of your car. It provides a level of personification deep enough to build a car that does reflect you. Cool again? If you are connected to the internet, you can also search and download other car player designs that they voluntarily share for you to use in your car. Extra customizations such as clothes and hats are also offered if you want to change the appearance of your avatar.
So Need for Speed Heat came up with a formula for a typical arcade racing game, a series of Need for Speed that was supposed to be, complete with attractive cosmetic modification features, and then wrapped it up with a dualism of countless day and night racing systems. As far as we try? It runs and functions properly.
Ghost Games’ decision to make the police as a one-dimensional antagonistic party that is truly evil because of corruption and a lot of moral behavior on the side of the story must be recognized as one of the greatest weaknesses of Need for Speed: Heat. This decision actually makes the side of the story that he stretches to feel like a big joke with no depth at all. The good news? Despite these weaknesses, the police were successfully implemented into almost perfect capacity gameplay. He still acts as your “opponent” when driving speed. But in Need for Speed Heat, police police feel far more brutal.
The police come as the most fatal consequence that you can find when you are involved in illegal racing at night to just look for an extra reputation. If you meet a police officer who can even detect the sound of your vehicle at a certain distance, they will automatically chase you. The cool thing is that random things happen perfectly integrated into the night racing system itself. Not infrequently you have to finish racing while avoiding the police car that is consistently chasing you, even when you make it past the finish line. This AI police car also sometimes chases and interferes with your opponent’s AI racing car.
What makes police cars in Need for Speed Heat interesting is their aggressiveness that goes beyond all AI types of police cars that had been offered by the previous Need for Speed series. They are fast, they are consistent, and they come with a clear mission – to stop your car at any cost. Like a familiar system, the longer and smarter your actions avoid these cops, especially when you destroy them, the higher the number of Heat levels you reap. The higher the Heat level, the more complete and deadly the types of police and the variety of technologies they use to chase you. These police cars really come without knowing the word stop until you can get away from them with a significant distance.
This intense condition is then compounded with fatal consequences that can occur if you are caught. If you are caught, either because the police car has stopped you completely or you accidentally stopped because you are trapped in dangerous locations, you must reap “painful” consequences.
No matter how much reputation you reap that night will be cut in half and most of the money that has been collected (which usually comes from legal racing during the day) will be confiscated by the police. The numbers themselves sometimes end up being significant. Therefore, you will be encouraged not to be caught by the police at all costs. Why? Because re-collecting the reputation and money collected means taking you a few steps back from the grinding process that has been taken before. But on the contrary, if you manage to reach a high Heat level and avoid the total police car and end up resting in the nearest Safe House, whatever reputation points you have collected will be multiplied by the number of Heat levels (max. 5) that you have harvested before. There is clearly a concept of High Risk – High Reward here.
So with the AI condition of the police car so consistent and brutal consequences, Need for Speed Heat produced the most intense sensation of the chase we have ever found in any arcade racing game, including when compared to the previous NFS series. Moreover, unlike other arcade games where the police car behaves like a glass, it is not easy to destroy even one police car in Need for Speed Heat. Therefore, the most effective way is to utilize the design of Palm City itself. Trapping the police cars chasing you at this high speed to get through various difficult jump obstacles or even trapping them to fall into the nearest lake or sea is the best strategy. Therefore, you have to memorize about which locations are effective for executing this plan, which you can trigger whenever you need to run from their pursuit.
The concept of police not knowing this word forgiveness is indeed a recipe full of frustration and anger because of the feeling of unfair in the first few hours of gameplay. But with the higher power level of your vehicle and the higher acceleration, slowly but surely, these police cars will become a threat that is no longer significant. But it must be admitted, the trauma at the beginning of this game will remain behind, making you feel a little anxious and afraid every time you see a red logo on the mini-map or just hear the sound of sirens on the nearest road. The sensation that we have never found in a racing game with any police chase system before.
It’s a relief and encouragement to be able to write the subtitles above in a game Need for Speed and make it one of the highlights that makes this game that already has an enchanting mechanical look even more tempting. That’s right, after the last few series that were so annoying, Need for Speed Heat finally came as a dazzling arcade racing game that no longer had to be filled with a variety of crap gimmicks that instead of adding to the gaming experience, but instead ruined it.
No more always-online needs. Ghost Games now gives you the opportunity to play Need for Speed Heat online or offline. Online will show you other car players who are also exploring Palm City itself, with no additional content or special features that make it feel like “an experience that should be”. Gamers who decide not to be connected to the internet will still enjoy the Need for Speed Heat experience they should.
There are no microtransactions. That’s right, believe it or not, at least when this review article was written, Need for Speed Heat came without any microtransactions feature. He seems to be an anti-thesis of the design of Need for Speed: Payback two years ago which was formulated like a mobile racing game that deliberately made grindy to sell more microtransactions. The design that ended up making the game difficult to appreciate. Need for Speed Heat comes without microtransactions with all the items available, you have to open it through the activities you do in Palm City itself, with some even promising car variants for you to pursue.
Grinding process is also rational. So related to the non-microtransactions decisions taken by Ghost Games and EA in Need for Speed Heat, this racing game is also built on the thought of a more balanced grinding design rather than “forcing” gamers to consider real money to accelerate progress itself. Although it is indeed recommended that you build a variety of specific cars for different types of cars, the grinding process that you must go through is still in the limit stage which can be called rational. First, you can take the same race many times with the number of prizes decreasing periodically. The process of triggering a race is faster and a similar level of AI difficulty will guarantee a greater victory. Second, the process of balancing to increase the required power level can also be achieved by only completing a few races day and night, making you not need to be stuck in a prolonged grinding process.
So it’s hard to end up smiling seeing what Ghost Games has achieved with Need for Speed: Heat. Not because he merely carries an interesting gameplay system, but he is no longer filled with a lot of nonsense gimmick that in the past actually covered the appeal that should be. Something we hope for, will continue to happen next series of Need for Speed.