Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

20 August 2019

'Need for Speed: Heat' unveils gameplay in new trailer

By Matthew PritchardMatthew Pritchard

A new gameplay trailer for Electronic Arts' (EA) latest foray into the Need for Speed franchise, subtitled Heat has been revealed at Gamescom 2019.

It's only four minutes long, but so far it's looking like a mashup of all the best features from previous Need for Speed games. You've got your night racing, ostentatious customisation options allowing you to add more flames to your car than a Model 3 battery pack, police chases, a mix of sanctioned and illegal events, and an overall 'Fast and Furious' vibe that was one of the series' main appeals.

In saying that though, it's worth remembering that on early trailers Need for Speed: Payback looked pretty awesome, and well, it wasn't. It's still early days so whether this is going to be a 'story driven' game like Payback supposedly was, or take more of a "just race cars, what the hell do you want from us" approach is yet to be seen. But so far it looks like it could be fun. The driving looks fun and the customisation looks enjoyably deep. You can even customise your exhaust note! Not something I'd ever really wished I could do in a game, but now that I know I CAN I definitely want to.

I'm also saying that as someone who likes the idea of having a custom driver avatar. For the game where they spend all their time in a car. That you can't see inside of. Please forgive me, I don't know why I'm like this.

The series' famous car chases are back, now with a day/night cycle difference. Because apparently police operate on vampire rules here. (image: Need for Speed Heat - EA) The series' famous car chases are back, now with a day/night cycle difference. Because apparently police operate on vampire rules here. (image: Need for Speed Heat - EA)

The other thing that bears keeping in mind is EA's, let's say "proclivity" for loot box mechanics, or as they've tried to rebrand them "surprise mechanics", as in "surprise, this game is deliberately grindy for no reason other than we want you to spend money on in-game purchases". An issue that the company has taken heat for (hardy har har) from previous games, most infamously the Star Wars Battlefront 2 "sense of achievement" saga from 2017.

Payback also featured loot boxes, which as IGN pointed out in a review of the game, turned modding your car into a chore. Not only that, but you were punished if you tried to "cheap out" with the game locking events off unless you shelled out for the in-game premium currency or spent hours of tedious gameplay trying to earn upgrades. Now look, I don't know about you, but I specifically play video games as a break from my job. Not because I need a second one that doesn't even pay me with real money. So avoiding that approach would be much appreciated.

So, your mileage may vary, but at this point I'm cautiously optimistic. While also being fully prepared to eat my words come the 8th November when the game is released and packed to the flame decals with "surprise mechanics".

So here's hoping that Heat will be lighter on these issues and serve more as a throwback to the Need for Speed games we remember from the prehistoric days of the mid 2000s.