Need for Speed Heat is released worldwide today and this is a game that we’ve been excited about for some time now.
NFS is a racing game through and through, but its story mode is often what makes or breaks the ratings from fans and critics.
NOW WATCH BELOW: The Need for Speed Heat trailer!
Footage from Heat’s “Solo” mode has been on the internet for almost a month now, and the early gameplay we’ve seen has impressed us so far. EA and Ghost Games have revealed the characters you’ll be meeting in Palm City through their Under the Hood notes and also the overarching theme of the story mode.
So what should you expect to see in the early stages of your playthrough? Well, if you can’t wait to get your hands on the game to get a flavour of what Heat is all about, we’ll walk you through the first hour in this article. And don’t worry! There aren’t any major spoilers ahead.
Baptism by fire
HEAT: Shaking the police will be tougher than ever
The game opens by presenting a news TV broadcast that’s outlining the Speedhunters’ showdown, which takes place in Palm City, Florida, the location where the game is set. The media’s portrayal of the street racers is understandably negative, branding them as “dangerous” and a “menace”, while the police are predictably painted as the heroes trying to protect the public. Mercer is flanked by Torres and Shaw as he sends out the message that the racers will be stopped “hard and fast”.
This is the battle that is at the very centre of Heat and will dominate the single-player mode of the game.
You're then taken back in time to earlier that week, for the first of many night races you'll be taking part in during Heat's run. You'll be speeding towards downtown Palm City in a bright yellow Mercedes with a spoiler that looks more like it belongs on a building site than a rear end of a sports car. The police are on you quickly, attempting to shut down your race, but also aiding the player as your competitors fall by the wayside.
We won't say what happens next so you can find out for yourself, but let's just say things take a turn for the worst following the completion of the race.
We've already detailed how in-depth Heat's customisation mechanics are, but it's far from exclusive to just the car you're riding around in. The story resumes the day after, you then choose who you want to play as, each character has a unique voice, appearance, and animations.
RACE HARD: NFS injects fun into driving
After that, it's the moment you've been waiting for, choosing your first car in Heat. There's not a lot to choose from, as you'd expect, but for a first ride, they're really sweet and definitely aren't lacking on the style front.
You then dive into your first legal race, one that takes place in the day, a complete contrast to the one at the very start of the game. After that, you're introduced to some of the main mechanics of the game, including reputation and how it works, before entering the night.
The transition from day to night is almost seamless, the capabilities of the current generation of consoles have been fully optimised here.
There's strong themes of Underground and Carbon, switching to the dark will activate nostalgia goggles for gamers of a certain age.
FREEDOM: Create your dream ride
Everything from the lighting, to the music, to the atmosphere of the night is totally different to the day, Ghost Games have done a magnificent job of designing a world that works in both day and night, something that few developers other than Rockstar (with GTA V) have achieved.
The sense of speed is also tweaked for the dark, traffic and corners seem to come at you far faster in the night. Finally, for this part of the game at least, you're introduced to "the league" with their million-dollar hypercars and a vibe that is reminiscent of Most Wanted's "Blacklist". You definitely have to beat the best to be the best in NFS, and these people are at the top of the pile in Palm City!
What aspect of NFS Heat has whet your appetite the most? Let us know in the comments below!