Need for Speed: Heat analysis, competing on the wrong track

Written by Kamran Haider

The latest installment of the Need for Speed ​​series seeks to compile some of the ideas that the franchise has proposed in the present generation, but the result, although correct, is very unbalanced. We explain why this happens in the Need for Speed: Heat analysis.

I have a feeling that Ghost Games and Electronic Arts are somewhat lost with Need For Speed. It is what demonstrates playing Heat, a pastiche of ideas that have led throughout the generation and of which few have really been very successful. It is normal, therefore, that the player is demanding a change of course. When something doesn’t work, you have to change it. But while that happens, already in the next generation of consoles, Need For Speed: Heat is a good example of the problems that arise when you try to force a video game to be what it is not, mainly by following modern fashions or trends. Because, while the saga should focus on driving, the feeling I have left after its many races and events is thatI’ve been playing a role play.

Choose any competition, wait for the counter and get out of the starting grid. At this time something curious is going to happen. In some cases, you will leave the other opponents behind without disheveled at such a distance that you would not see them even in the rearview mirror. In most situations, however, the opposite occurs. The race head comes out so strong that it is mathematically impossible to reach them. That’s why I say that Need For Speed: Heat is an RPG. Because your driving expertise doesn’t matter, just the level you have. The game does not adjust the opponents to the benefits of your vehicle, but it is you who have to earn money and experience – reputation – to acclimatize to the world around you.

Graphically it is correct, with nothing especially remarkable.

In theory, it doesn’t sound bad, because who doesn’t like that sense of progression? But in practice, it is a disaster. First, because your skill doesn’t matter. If you have a lot of levels, you will win even if you make the worst race of your life, while if you are very skilled it will not help you without the right engine. The role-playing games are very attractive, and I understand that every genre wants to approach this style, but Heat is inspired by the worst structures of the genre, those that make you repeat and repeat the same races– scintillate – to get the level and the money needed to move forward. The result is so tedious, especially in the first hours, so unbalanced, that the surprising thing is that it has passed the internal tests of the study. In the end, one has the feeling that Heat does not want you to have fun with him, because he prefers to sacrifice some of that fun in favor of having a Need For Speed ​​that lasts a few tens of hours, instead of the classic experience of about 10-15 hours that the franchise used to until the Need For Speed ​​of 2015 . This is not new. It’s the same thing that happened – especially at the beginning – with Payback, but although Heat does not have micropayments, the system is still present, extending the experience too much and making it a monotonous exercise. Without rhythm.Heat

Need For Speed: Heat, night and day

Money, and Experience This is the secret behind its division between day and night. If you compete in the day and legal races, you will be able to obtain the necessary financial resources to buy the pieces and level up. But that level is high, you need reputation points to unlock better quality cars and components. The system is interesting but completely decompensated. You see, in Need For Speed ​​Heat, there are four disciplines: Racing and Speed ​​Racing, Drift and Off-road. Tests that make it very varied, with some quite interesting events, almost like a small Forza Horizon.

To follow the analogy with the role, it is like having to create four characters in the same game, each specialized in a field. Money is shared, which makes it very tedious to have to improve four cars at the same time to adjust to each of the disciplines. But, in addition, the recommended level for each event is also poorly balanced. You can enter a level 220 race with a level of 240 and still have problems. Above all, until you begin to understand how the pieces work, something that the game does not deign much to explain. With all this approach to the role and levels, Heat seems to forget too much of the driving sensation. Having so many bumpers on cars makes those great feelings of skidding not always run, A type of driving that needs more and more of a radical change, even within the field of the arcade, to be more intricate and competitive.

Need For Speed ​​needs a change

The difference between day and night is also made by the police. For the day it is passive, to the point that we have crossed it at 300 kilometers per hour, even collided with it, and almost do not change. But at night they become true monsters, who can arrest you even if you are parked in the gutter. The same happens with it as with the progression system, it is unbalanced. It has a range of alarm similar to that of the GTA, in which the first two levels are affordable, but from the third to get rid of it is virtually impossible. It wouldn’t be so terrible if it weren’t because it chains a series of frustrations. Choose a career, realize that you do not have the level or have made a mistake, and not be able to restart the event because you have to get rid of the police.

Need For Speed: Heat has some history to accompany, like almost all the latest installments of the franchise. It is not an especially inspired one since the relationship between the police and the gangs is a somewhat Manichean vision with unlikely characters. To give an example, in the introduction we see a policeman detaining a competitor, and it seems that there are only two options, kicking him on the ground or letting him go – they should not have been arrested. It works best on a personal level, with some characters who have certain traumas of the past. To discover them little by little they even make you recover hope, something that is also reinforced with a selectable, customizable avatar and that has its own voice and character. Rarely had a character of this type been used in the saga and it works much better than being a simple camera.

Graphically, Need for Speed: Heat is correct, with nothing especially remarkable. The world of Palm City has a clear inspiration in Miami, not only in its skyscrapers on the beach but with its suburbs, it is swampy and country areas. A good recreation that, as I said before, forms a map with clear reminiscences to the Forza Horizon saga. There is really no day and night cycle, since we choose to leave the garage at what time of day we want to compete, but thanks to this we get a good smoothness on the road at high speeds and good drawing distances, at least in the version of Xbox One X We have been able to prove. On the other hand, while the sounds of cars have nothing very remarkable, beyond being able to customize things like the horn or the exhaust. The dubbing is correct and the licensed soundtrack would have preferred it to be divided into stations, because there are some very particular “musical styles” that can be repeated over and over again, forcing the player to skip them.

One of the best parts of the video game is the customization of the vehicles. Not only will we have a few tools to adjust its design and tuning, but it is really worth spending your time, since the game has a good presentation in its menus and loads, with showrooms where you will see your car show off. In addition, you can share your designs with the community and download those of other players.

The online mode of the game is somewhat reduced, but it opens up other competitions, such as counter-exams in special events, which are highly recommended and will help us get easy money, very necessary for this slow progress. Of course, speaking of slowness, I don’t know very well why, but in online gaming sessions, loading times are slower than playing offline. Keep that in mind.

I think Need For Speed ​​needs a change. Heat is a cluster of ideas of the entire generation. Having to reach a shelter to save experience points before the police catch you, as in Rivals. Night scenes and night band races, such as the 2015 reboot. But above all, I think it takes that structure from the latest installment, Payback, which turns the whole experience into a too tedious RPG structure. A Payback, which for other aspects was an interesting delivery, we criticize that this progression was flooded with micropayments and roulette that made the experience terrible. But Heat has shown that it is not only about monetization, but that the need to include mechanics by levels cannot take precedence over driving and competition, which is what matters in a racing game. Feel that what identifies you as a good player is not a number with your level, but your driving skills.

Recommended: Analysis of Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC. Is it the definitive version of the game?


Need for Speed: Heat needs a better balance in its game systems, both in the progression of different events and in police chases, to make it all fun, rather than frustrating. But beyond that, the franchise has run out of ideas, becoming a hodgepodge of ideas of all the games of the present generation and an increasingly archaic driving style and lack of personality. The saga needs a revulsion, to give it a new identity, beyond even looking at the glorious past.

  • Variety of tests, from races, counter tracks, skidding and off-road tracks.
  • The presentation of the game is very well planned, with style and guides in the circuits that help not to look at the map.
  • The progression system is slow, heavy and forces to repeat events to be level.
  • Police chases, despite being funny, are unbalanced and are somewhat frustrating.
  • The driving sensation does not improve, let alone with the first cars due to this progression system.

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Kamran Haider

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