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A First Look at Need for Speed: Heat

by Arnav Sawant

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The Need for Speed games have always been some of the most exhilarating games in the racing genre. The whole premise of collecting souped-up cars, and upgrading them gives the player a sense of superiority. Games like Need for Speed: Most Wanted are classic games that fueled the new era of casual and competitive gaming.

The first-ever Need for Speed game was made in 1994 by the Canadian branch of Electronic Arts and Pioneer Studios in 1994. The game was well-received, even though games such as Mortal Kombat were starting to hurt the industry due to their extreme violence. The idea of doing something forbidden, like accumulating cost to the state, bounty, and more, all while escaping the police, appealed to teenagers and even adults throughout the world (primarily the United States and Japan, given the major technological companies that had set their foot in those countries). Fast forward to 2005 when retro titles such as Need for Speed: Most Wanted and the Underground Saga took the world by storm. The graphics were unlike the ’90s, and consoles were almost in every major American household. The campaigns were thrilling and entrapped players into the universe of street racing. You could earn cash for completing street races, such as circuits, sprints, and even drag races. You would soon find yourself bankrupt, with decals, vinyl, and cars galore, all for your convenience. Additionally, Need for Speed accomplished what no other series of racing games could do. These coveted titles created the most beautiful cars that are still regarded today as iconic. For example, Need for Speed Underground starred the Nissan Skyline GTR, a brownish blackish streetcar (that is illegal to own in the United States). Most Wanted boasted two of these fan favorites, with them being the BMW M3 GTR and the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R. The GTR could be earned and driven, with that being the premise of the whole storyline of Most Wanted, as it was stolen from the player in the first chapter. The Corvette was driven by the elite commander of the Rockport Police Department, Cross. If you would ever see a black and white Corvette sporting a PD logo, you knew things were about to get aggressive. Contrary to popular opinion, EA had created an amazing series of games in the early 2000s and they are still played today because of their addictiveness.

The year is 2015. Graphics have ascended to the point where they are seen as photorealistic. New generation consoles have flooded the market, to a point where even the average 13-year-old owns one. Game developers are now in strict competition, working overtime to create the best game, the most enthralling game, to gain control of the market. Just 4 years before, Ghost Games bought publisher rights for the development of future Need for Speed Games and released Need for Speed in 2015. They vowed to continue the series and pledged to deliver the same experience you would have received fifteen years ago. Ghost released Need for Speed: Payback two years later with vivid, deep graphics, a great soundtrack, and a stupendous campaign. Fans of the predecessors flocked to stores to purchase the newly released title, alas, it did not attract many newcomers to the racing genre, due to the rising popularity of games in the battle royale genre (*cough *cough* Fortnite *cough* cough*). The game barely remained relevant, and people were fearing the worst for Need for Speed. That is… until now.

Need for Speed Heat was just recently announced, with gameplay trailers and first impressions bursting through to front pages of various streaming sites. Pre-orders were already available for the game, as the release date was… November 2019?! Various games usually are announced a year before their release, and for good reason too. This is done to excite the consumers, and not to burst their bubble too early. However, this might have been the perfect strategy for Ghost. Games like the aforementioned Fortnite have started to decrease in popularity, mainly because of the severe repetition of every single match. This has led to an influx of consumers, looking for the next hot game to get their thumbs sore. Ghost saw opportunity knocking and answered the door.

Ghost had already devised the perfect formula for Heat’s release. By combining the improved photorealistic graphics, better spatial audio, and the old experience that filled gamers with joy, Ghost may have released the perfect game at the perfect time. The game is situated in Palm City, a fictional city with similarities to Miami, Florida. The neon lights just pop out, along with the wet roads, and glittering landscape. Ghost has also included a twist, with regular races going on during the day and street races (with cops of course) at night. This creates a racing simulation that immerses the player into the world of Palm City. The cars can be customized in every way, shape or form, from engine audio to nitrous. Personally, nitrous provides the final touch Need for Speed required, giving the races that midnight feeling. The game is also an open world of course, with a stable multiplayer launching the day of release. It is available on Xbox One and Playstation 4, and PC, delivering the forbidden feeling of street racing, to everyone on the market. Hopefully, Heat will live up to everyone’s expectations.

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