Need For Speed Heat is available right now for all you budding street racers to play, and even after just a few hours of play, Heat is a far cry better than some of the more recent entries in the series. If you’ve fallen off of NFS in the past couple of years, Heat might just be the version that brings you right back.
While Heat places the focus of the series back on street racing and customisation (and not overcomplicated revenge heists), there’s plenty of new changes and updates that refine the standard formula in interesting ways. With that in mind, let’s take a look at 8 beginner’s tips that should help you out in Need For Speed Heat.
1. Day/Night Cycle
The biggest change in Need For Speed Heat concerns its core gimmick: the day and night cycle. During the day, players can take part in sanctioned races on closed circuits, with a police presence relegated to a minimum. It’s a relatively safe environment that you can explore at your own pace, even if it’s 150 mph.
Meanwhile, the night time brings out the illegal street racing and the chance to earn Rep, and it’s here that the police come out in force. Accrue enough heat, which we’ll get to in a minute, and you’ll draw the attention of a larger fleet of police officers, and if you get caught, you’ll have to pay a hefty price. It’s a risk/reward situation, as the longer the night goes on, the more your heat multiplier and rep will increase, but there’s a larger chance the night will end with you in the back of a cop car.
2. Rep vs Cash
With the day/night cycle comes its own rewards. Racing during the day will net you cash that you can use to purchase new cars, new performance parts and customisation items for your car and some weird cosmetic items for your character. Side note: be like me and make your character some masked psycho in a Hawaiian shirt. It offers no bonuses, but it greatly improves cutscenes.
Meanwhile, racing during the night will earn you Rep that’ll allow you to level up, unlocking new cars and performance parts, which makes night racing much more important. Cash doesn’t rule everything in Need For Speed Heat, as what good is a small fortune if you have nothing to spend it on? Both day and night racing is needed, but make sure you lean towards night racing. Levelling up also unlock new activities and collectibles to find in Palm City, allowing you to earn even more while playing.
3. Challenge Yourself
When you’re at the garage, where you customise and upgrade your car, you can accept sets of challenges, one set for day racing and one set for night racing. You can only have one active set at a time, so make sure you pick the one that’s relevant to you.
Challenge sets yield rewards opposite of the time of day you’re racing in, so if you finish a day set, you’ll earn some Rep, while night racing with net you a bit of cash. The rewards are fairly negligible when compared to actual race rewards, but they’re a great way of managing both your Rep and money. Challenge sets are also tied to your Rep level, so if you level up, you’ll unlock more challenges. There are also daily challenges which offer both Rep and cash, so keep an eye on those too.
4. Campaign Missions And Driver Stories
Throughout the campaign, you’ll come across campaign missions and driver stories. Campaign missions drive the plot forward and can introduce new disciplines like drifting and so on, so they’re worth doing, but they’re not urgent. It might be best to focus on levelling up or earning cash by completing other races first, or focusing on a particular challenge set. Campaign missions do grant cash and rep rewards though, so there’s always an incentive to complete them.
Driver Stories are a series of races that can lead to additional rewards. The first one you encounter concerns the racer Dex, and completing his questline unlocks a brand new suspension kit that’ll likely be better than your current equipment, so it’s worth the time investment.
5. Play Together, If Possible
Naturally, because it’s 2019 and no game seems to be able to resist the allure of online aspects, Need For Speed Heat features an online free roam environment and the ability to party up with other players. Even more predictably, there’s benefits to engaging with it.
Entering a race as part of a party or challenging everyone in the free roam lobby will also net you additional cash and Rep, depending on whether or not it’s a day or night event respectively. It’s the most optional tip on this list, but if you’re looking for a shortcut to earn more rewards, this is it.
6. The Advantage Of Crews
Continuing with the online aspects of the game, Need For Speed Heat features Crews that you can join, which offers its own rewards. While the feature is ultimately optional, once you unlock the ability to join a crew, you’ll be automatically placed in a randomly generated crew. You will receive benefits from this, but you might want to join a crew that isn’t called Ghosts #1270091.
Once part of a crew, any Rep you earn will feed into the crew’s overall total, with the crew levelling up to a max level of 50. Along the way, your crew will receive bonuses to the amount of heat, Rep and cash earned, while reaching the maximum level will unlock a brand new car.
7. Surviving The Nightlife
Night racing is a completely different experience to day time racing, and something you’ll have to bear in mind is potential pursuits. Cops tend to be everywhere during the night, so having to escape from the cops is an absolute certainty. In low Heat levels, it’s best to ram them off the road, as you’ll earn more Rep and likely end the chase early. In later heat levels, discretion is the better part of valour, so with that in mind, get the hell out of there.
As a bonus tip, night racing offers the additional bonus of a Heat multiplier. The higher your heat, the more Rep you’ll earn, so it’s worth taking risks by racing in a few events per night to rake in that reward. You can also earn bonus rep by participating in activities like Speed Traps or grabbing collectibles while your heat multiplier is active, so save your collectible runs for when the sun goes down, and be sure to make it back to the garage to bank your additional Rep.
8. How To Upgrade Effectively
The cars in Heat have a performance rating that goes from 100 to over 400. As you add higher ranking performance parts to the vehicle, the rating goes up. It sounds simple enough, and when concerning engine upgrades, it largely is, with only turbo and nitrous offering different options per reward tier.
It’s the suspension, tires and differential upgrades that can truly change your car’s handling. Cars fit into a X/Y axis, with race and drift on the X axis and road and off-road on the Y axis. Tinkering with these parts will change where your cars sit on this charts, ultimate affecting your overall handling.
Naturally, you can’t have a race car that’s exceptional at drifting, nor can you spec an off-road to be really good on tarmac, because that’s not how this system works. You can, however, have race and drift cars that specialise in road or off-road events, or shoot for the middle and have a good all-rounder that’ll work in a variety of situations. It’s here where the need for multiple cars is apparent, so you can excel in multiple event disciplines without respeccing your car each time.
A review code was provided by EA that was used in the creation of this guide.