Need for Speed Heat: Early gameplay review - Exciting signs ahead of release date

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Need for Speed Heat isn't available to the general public just yet, but gameplay from the latest racer has been slowly dripping onto the internet.

Thanks to EA's Under the Hood updates, we know a good deal about the game already, but nothing quite substitutes for viewing gameplay with your own two eyes.  

Most of the NFS Fanbase is staying quietly optimistic for the latest release in the 25-year-old gaming franchise, especially after the disappointment of 2017's Payback. However, there have been a lot of positive omens for the racing franchise's newest instalment, but what do these early walkthrough and story mode snippets show when it comes to what to expect next month?

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Need For Speed Heat

Graphics & Sound

Put simply, the graphics look drop dead gorgeous in this game. Palm City looks beautiful whatever the weather conditions or time of day are. It can be a miserable rainy day or a mesmeric sunset, everything from the colours to the lighting is very pleasing on the eye. The game looks its best when the heavens open, as the standing water on the road makes the surface transform into a mirror, it's an utterly gorgeous sight.

Some may find the enhanced effects when it comes to the graphics unrealistic, but this is what NFS is all about. Need for Speed is hyper-realism, not photo realism, the series is at its best when it's more Fast and Furious than it is Drive. 

READ MORE: EVERY car in Need For Speed Heat

Similarly, the sound effects are pleasing on the ear, this is definitely a game you'll want to hear on your headphones to play. The cars' engines all sound unique, if you close your eyes and are shown a sound clip of a Nissan and a Ferrari, you could definitely tell the difference between the grunt of the two motors. Furthermore, the splashing of the water, the squeal of the tyres, the smash and crunch of collisions are all on point. Nobody will be complaining about the audio.

However, a video game can look and sound as beautiful as it wants, but if it doesn't play well, all of that time spent designing and perfecting those precious polygons could be for nothing.


It's impossible to say for sure how a game feels until you try it out, especially when it comes to something as subjective as what handling can be, but the signs look very good so far. Those Under the Hood notes have given us a fascinating insight into what could take this franchise to the next level. 

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THE HEAT IS ON: Run from cops or lose your earning

The NFS series is distinctly an arcade racer, something that the handling model has reflected, as you can pull off huge drifts around corners and still be fast, something that would be impossible in the real world.

Last month, Ghost Games stated: "We’ve exposed more of the core handling system to allow players to build and modify their cars in more detail. This will allow a vehicle to have an asymmetric and 'non-optimal' (but fun to drive) handling set up.

This also allows players to tune their cars away from the more balanced stock handling, which skilled players might find too easy and 'arcade', towards a more realistic grip handling or drift handling depending on which you prefer.

READ MORE: Day-night cycle promises thrills in Need For Speed Heat

Tuning of the brake bias can also be done to allow the brakes to transfer weight to the front wheels, causing the rear wheels to lose grip and enter a drift. A third option to enter drift is to use the handbrake which is preferably used in tighter corners and hairpins."

After a poor previous entry in the series, NFS needs to convince its long-time fans to return to the franchise, while also attracting as many new players as possible. Making it so both experienced and amateur gamers can be competitive and enjoy themselves is the best way to do that, and if these options deliver on the promises, we should have no issues having fun tearing up Palm City.

From the gameplay we've seen online, this looks to be the case too, races look as thrilling and fun to drive as they ever have been, the bar could well and truly have been raised.

And speaking of the customisation of the cars...


One of the most important aspects to any Need for Speed game is the car customisation, if you can't pimp your ride to your liking, NFS often feels hollow. Thankfully, though, we're not lacking for modification options in Ghost Games' latest creation.

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CREATE: NFS Heat users can go wild this year

The options available to you are wide ranging in both the areas of the car and the array of liveries, engine mods and aerodynamic devices. If you want to put an oversized spoiler on the back of a Land Rover, I don't doubt that you'll be able to here.

The menus you scroll through to get your car exactly how you want it also look simple and well designed, we'll be spending many hours going through them, so this is important. It's too early to say for sure, but this aspect of the game appears to be back to the heights of its heyday in the mid-2000's, but we'll only find out for sure in a few months' time. 

Need for Speed Heat releases worldwide on 8th November for Playstation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.

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