Need for Speed Heat Guide: How to drift, win more races and use nitrous properly

Think this is another arcade racer? Think again. We go under the hood to reveal the tricks to dominate.

George Howson by George Howson

Need for Speed Heat is finally here – but for those thinking this is a simple arcade racer, prepare to be surprised. There’s far more depth under its hood than you expect.

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That’s why we’ve come up with a comprehensive guide about how to rule the streets of Palm City – from pulling off the perfect drift, to escaping the cops and getting that all-important first-place finish.

Remember, you can check our Need for Speed Heat review right here.

NOW WATCH BELOW: The Need for Speed Heat trailer!

Practice makes perfect

Long gone are the days of flooring the throttle and hoping for the best around ever corner in NFS, but you’ll still have to be aggressive to win races. That being said, the usual “slow in, fast out” technique is the fastest, especially around tight corners.

The style you’ll need to subscribe to isn’t universal. You’ll find yourself braking a lot more often in muscle car than a nimble sports car. Experience is key here, but if you’re a relatively new gamer, don’t worry.

All you need to do to learn your car is go out and practice speeding around Palm City, as they’re the same roads you’ll be racing on in the events.

Time NOS to perfection

The AI are surprisingly docile in this game, they’ll never take a swing at you like a Nemesis driver in GRID would. In all honesty, they’re pushovers at times, so if you’re struggling to get around them, just ram them off the road.

The most tactical aspect of a race in NFS Heat is your use of Nitrous (NOS), which gives you a huge instant power boost. When and where you deploy it is key to how much time you’ll make up on your opponents.

Recharging takes a while, so be sure to use NOS on a straight where you can get its full benefit. Use the mini-map in the bottom left corner to make a choice as to where the ideal place for this is.

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Finally, if you’re going to hit something, make sure it’s the correct thing.

Trees, road signs and surprisingly, telegraph poles, all don’t slow you down much, but those makeshift barriers will bring you to a sharp halt. Remember that when you go off-road.

Tune the Difficulty

BRAKING POINT: Getting the right level is key to your enjoyment of the game

The difficulty options are fairly basic compared to some games, but you have to make sure they’re optimised for you.

You’ll be given the option of what level you want the AI to be at the start of the game. However, if you want to change this or any other option after the start, pause the game when outside of the garage.

Select settings from the pause menu and this is where you can change your difficulty settings as well as OSD options and what controller layout you want. If you’re an experienced racer, start on Medium AI and increase it to Hard if you find yourself winning the races easily.

Also, pay attention to the recommended number when choosing the event to compete in. If your ride is below that number, you’ll have a hard time.

Pimp your Ride

LET US SPRAY: Developing your car is the best way to keep up in NFS

Car customisation has always been a central mechanic to any NFS game, and Heat is no exception. Heat’s modification system is arguably the best in the series, going back to basics after Payback’s disastrous mechanics.

Altering your car in Heat is like tweaking the setups in F1 2019 or any other racing simulator, you’ve got to get it right to suit your liking. Every one of Heat’s cars feels unique, so the right combination of mods varies from car to car and also player to player.

Every car has four ratings (out of 5) that tell you how much Power the engine outputs, how fast the car accelerates, how fast its top speed is and the strength of the NOS system.

Alternatively, after you’ve earned enough Bank, have a play around with which upgrades work best for your car by testing them out.

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There’s no quantified data for how the car handles, but there is a graphical representation of where the car lies in terms of Road and off-road and Race and Drift handling.

If there’s an off-road drifting event that’s been giving you trouble, change the tyres, suspension, and brakes accordingly.

You also need to choose your ride carefully. Even in Need for Speed, it’s not all about style: performance is king.

I traded out the ’65 Mustang that I chose at the start of the game for a Honda Civic Type R, despite the former definitely being cooler than the latter.

CATCH MY DRIFT: Practice sliding around the streets to help you get race ready

The overall rating of the car is a good indicator of how fast it is, but be sure to modify your vehicle accordingly. If your car is great in straight lines but lacking in the corners, upgrade the brakes and handling rather than sticking a turbocharger on the engine.

In this case, the overall performance rating of the car would increase, but it’d make it even harder to drive and you’d get less bang for your bank.

Now you’re ready to stand the Heat.

George Howson

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