Need for Speed it is perhaps the most emblematic case of those brands that after a glorious past, see Underground 2 e Most Wanted (2005), have seen the subsequent chapters of the saga be one disappointment after another. For one problem or another, no title has in fact ever managed to equal, or even come close to, the quality and style of the aforementioned games of fifteen years ago. After trying them all Electronic Arts therefore relies on the boys of Ghost Games that, inspired by the old glories, with this Need For Speed Heat try to bring the series back to the glories of the past ... will they have succeeded?
A city with a double face
The events of NFS Heat take place at Palm City, town of the East coast freely inspired by Miami, in which car races live a double life. Of day, the Showdown organizes legal events, in which the best performing pilots compete for money and recognition. However of notte the city is transformed, and the streets become a no man's land where clandestine competitions are organized that offer fame and respect to the most brazen racers.
As in most racing game la plot also in this title it is a side dish, and indeed it is often only a pretext to introduce the game world to the player. Our protagonist, customizable in-game, is a racing fan just moved to the city, attracted by the Showdown. In Palm City, however, you never sleep and, competing at night, in addition to making us a name, we will attract the attention of police department, who having created a special task force to hunt down the pilots of clandestine races, will always be at his side. The story is certainly not one of the strengths of the title, the complexity of the plot is in fact at the level of that of a Fast & Furious: corrupt cops, suspicious confiscations and the classic clichés of a movie action. However, intermezzo cutscenes are certainly more enjoyable, and even more present than in previous iterations of the brand, thanks also to the good use of the Frostbite.
Easy to learn
The heart of Need For Speed Heat is without a doubt the gameplay, the NFS saga is indeed considered the arcade racing par excellence, which proposes a guidance system simple to learn but at the same time highly satisfying. The most important mechanics of this chapter is the management of the drift: the guide in fact often reduces to manage the accelerator (and sometimes the handbrake) in the curves, countersteering the right to make gods drift that allow the vehicle to keep the trajectory of the road. Despite the simple control system, vehicle adhesion changes drastically depending on the terrain or tire and suspension settings, forcing us to carefully plan the tuning of our vehicle before facing, for example, a drift challenge or a dirt race.
The competitions that take place during the day guarantee money, which in the garage can be spent to customize our cars both aesthetically and in terms of performance. However the most performing pieces are unlocked only by raising the reputation level of our character, and as expected, this alternative "currency" is obtainable through the illegal events that take place when the sun goes down in Palm City. The alternation of the day / night cycle does not occur naturally when exploring the open world, but it is selectable every time we leave a garage, thus leaving the player free to when to face a type of event, and when to switch to the others, depending on the type of rewards we need. To recap: di notte go up to reputation and level, in order to unlock new parts and new cars from the dealer, while of day they earn dollars to buy the aforementioned unlock.
And it is precisely in the department of Customization of the vehicles that Need For Speed Heat seems to return to the glories of a past that by now seemed to be very far away. Finally the tuning of the cars returns present and overbearing in every single aspect, both as regards the bodywork and the aesthetics, and for everything under the bonnet. Ghost Games, also thanks to a fleet of about 130 models among the most diverse types of cars, it gives the player total freedom to be able to indulge in creating the car of his dreams. Whether it's a town like the Ford Focus, a muscle like the Mustang, a Land Rover off-road vehicle or a supercar like a Lamborghini, Heat has a vehicle for all tastes and all sorts of fantasies.
Casual or Hardcore
In addition to the selection of difficulties in the menu, the challenge level in this Need For Speed is measured by a "recommended vehicle value" shown to us each time we select an event from the game map. It goes without saying that participating in competitions with a value equal to or greater than that of our vehicle guarantees a higher difficulty, but at the same time also richer rewards, compared to competitions, perhaps with lower values and therefore easier.
Honorable mention goes toIA of the policemen, who are really a thorn in the side, as opposed to what they might have been in the previous chapters, in which we were the hunters and their prey. The latter in Heat know how to put even the most experienced driver in difficulty, especially if our vehicle is not equipped with adequate countermeasures for pursuits.
Il technical sector it is perhaps the most aspect fluctuating of Need For Speed Heat. The graphic engine he does without a shadow of doubt his great good figure, on the other hand we are talking about the Frostbite, that of Battlefield so to speak. The shaders and reflections show an attention to details never seen before in an NFS, which combined with the indestructibility of the environments granted by Frostbite, add a touch of realism that, especially with the omnipresent neon lights at night, make Palm City a show for the eyes. On the other hand, however, we find one colonna sonora perhaps not up to the name of the brand, with semi-unknown Hip-Hop songs combined with Latin American rhythms all very similar to each other. If the music is de gustibus, and therefore some might still like, what is absolutely unacceptable is the stability of the title. The review was made on the version PC of the game, on a computer with features that exceed even the ones recommended to play Ultra by developers, and it is therefore inconceivable how the game can crash without any reason from time to time. This technical problem has been encountered by most of the gaming PC community and, although it is a serious flaw, it is nothing that the developers cannot fix with the appropriate patches.
Finally, Need For Speed Heat he looks with nostalgia to the past glories and, performing an operation of my fault, at least in part manages to "restrain" what seemed an unstoppable decline for the brand. The personalization and tuning system is undoubtedly the strong point of the title, which combined with a simple and fun gameplay is able to satisfy all types of players. With the hope that Ghost and EA will be able to solve the technical problems that plague the PC version of the title, I can only hope to meet you on the wild streets of Palm City.