Now before we start our engines and race or way straight into this, I just want to say off the bat. I love this game. Let us begin. Let us begin with doing a quick backstory on Need For Speed. This franchise goes back years and years, numerous consoles and numerous styles. I think my first experience with Need For Speed was a demo on the PS2, Hot Pursuit, and I absolutely loved it but it was like my days back on the PS1, played most of the demo discs, loved the games but never actually bought the full games.

However, my true Need For Speed experience began with Underground 2, which is an absolutely amazing game. Back in those days we didn't get games like that other than Midnight Club 2 (again, such an amazing game) but being able to fully customise your car, put your personality and passion into your dream car, which for me was the Nissan 350z. Then the next game, which still to this day remains my favourite Need For Speed game, Most Wanted. The cars, the concept, the events and the biggest addition to the game being the police and that truly changed everything. Being able to drive possibly the best-looking car in NFS history, the glorious BMW M3 GTR. Everything about that car was and still is pure excellence, the sound of the car and the paintjob and of course what do they do? Take it away from you at the start, just like Carbon! 

Let us fast forward a bit to the recent NFS games, specifically Payback. Now there were aspects of this game I did enjoy but there were 2 things I really didn't like; they were the different class system and then the microtransactions. Remember this was during the time of the Battlefront 2 microtransactions controversy and the way I look at it is it's great to see that they've fixed their mistake, but it still happened. However, it seems that NFS Heat has surprised a lot of us. After Payback I didn't really expect much, but I do like it when I get proven wrong when it comes to a game.

When someone asks me how I would describe Heat, I say Prostreet during the day and Carbon during the night. During the day are the official showcase events and then during the night are the illegal street races that get the attention of the cops. However, I'm jumping forward so let's start from the beginning. You begin the game in a street race at night being chased by a dirty cop and at the end of the race you go onto a bridge under construction and get wrecked with your car falling into the ocean. When the dirty cop holds you basically hostage you learn that the police department are all basically dirty cops. When the cops leave after risking being seen doing their dirty work you simply walk off into the night declaring you are no longer in the crew. Yes, you guessed it, it is one of those generic typical story lines where you are in a crew and the cops are corrupt and are trying to take you down.

The next day starts and you are a new character, a generic character with a love story between you and your car. You can pick from several characters that you can customise but no matter what customisation you do for your character, they look ridiculous! But I assure you that is not the case for the customisation of the cars, and I'll get into that more in a bit.

So, you get to your garage and meet some characters that you can't really relate to and get to choose your first car and me being more of a muscle man (when I have no muscles whatsoever) I chose the Mustang because it is a beautiful car and sounds like an absolute beast. One of the things I noticed first thing upon leaving the garage was the graphics. They really are beautiful, the reflections off the cars, the lighting but the beauty of the city really is brought out during the night, speak of time of day lets discuss that. During the day your complete showcase events to earn bank (cash basically) to spend on cars, upgrades, customisation etc. Earning bank in this game is easy, do about 3 races and you can upgrade your car quite a decent amount to be fair. There are a few people that think they don't need to level up their rep to get better at the game, sorry to disappoint you people but to enjoy one thing you need to do the other but it is also impossible to progress just through the day since the story missions go through the night as well. I may not be able to get attached to the characters themselves but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the story a tiny bit, crooked cops stealing your cars and putting them into illegal chop shops, you know how it goes. I tell you what though, feels amazing trying to outrun difficult cops in your BMW M3 GTR from Most Wanted 2005. 

Now how about we move onto one of the most important things. The handling. Now steering the cars feel nice, when you are going top speed makes you feel invincible and when you are drifting around the corners you feel extremely badass and when it comes to the drifting and steering, modifying your car can affect this immensely. I made the mistake of adding on drag tires onto my car because I noticed that it made my acceleration shot up like mad! Then when I was doing a mission outrunning the cops down a spiral mountain expecting to drift all the way down, because I'm a bloody idiot when I went to drift it didn't work so I went straight on flying off the cliff looking like an absolute idiot not taking into consideration that the whole point of for grip and speed. I'm just glad there were no real players watching me in the game otherwise I'd dip my head in shame. When customising your car, you need to take into consideration your choices because you've got to think whether you want a car for street races, an off-road racer or a drifter. My favourite events are the sprint/circuit races. I do not like the drift events at all, I just don't like the feel of the drifting, it just isn't fun. The drifting from Carbon, more arcade style but it was fun and more enjoyable but I do quite like the off-road races and my favourite is the high heat events, which you can only take part in if your cop heat level is at 3 meaning while racing you've got Dodge Charge police cars and Chevrolet Corvette interceptors looking for you and they do not play around I assure you! 

Now let us focus on the police. I know this review is all over the place, but I like to write as I play. Now when you gain heat 1 during the night you think nothing of it because what is a Ford Crown Victoria compared to your Skyline or BMW. At the start you think of it as nothing, you hit them once or twice and they are gone but the moment the heat level goes up to 2 this is when it begins to kick off. Dodge Chargers coming out of nowhere, going from 2 Crown Victors to 6 Dodge Chargers ramming you from every single angle, not caring how much it damages them, which by the way is next to nothing. You ram them and it just feels like you are Thanos hitting Captain Marvel where she just doesn't flinch like you brushed them, that is how it feels when you are trying to defend yourself. Then it goes to level 3 where it cranks up even more, especially when you can participate in heat race events, but this mixes it up with Charges, Corvettes and Rhinos. Remember those? The bane of my life those things I tell you however this Rhino travels alone, massive van that is like "oh that's a nice car you got there, be a shame if you got into a head on crash with me, which will have zero effect on my van but blunt force head trauma to you". Then we move onto the final heat number 4. This is where it takes Michael Bays explosions mixed with Hanz Zimmer's soundtrack to create the epic finale of crapping your pants, used up all your repairs at the garages and trying to make your way to a garage but trying to lose the cops en route. They start sending Corvettes, Chargers, Rhinos, roadblocks, spike strips and even a bloody helicopter! Want a tip to lose them and how I do it about 65% of the time? Make sure you are up in the hills and just drive off a cliff through trees, it's not often the cars will follow you and you'll be out of range.... unless the helicopter follows you, then you just need to hope for the best.

So, to bring this review to a conclusion I honestly didn't go into this with high expectations after Payback, but I can honestly say I absolutely love this game. I have had a real blast with it. The customisation, the number of cars to choose from, the variety in play style, numerous items to collect and retrieve in free roam and the challenge of the police since they weren't even a challenge in Payback. Please buy this game. I know people are a bit hesitant due to it being EA and microtransactions but in all honesty since playing this game I haven't seen one prompt of microtransactions at all, I don't even think there are any in the game. If there are then I have never noticed this, which is a good thing! I like being proved wrong in all honesty when it comes to games. If I don't have high hopes for something and then get turned around it is a really good feeling so please pick up this game. This game is a step in the right direction and if they keep this up, there is hope for the Need For Speed franchise yet. Now please make a remaster trilogy of Underground 2, Most Wanted and Carbon!