After a year of gaming, when the best of the best have been tallied up and we’ve got to explain to the cops why there’s so much blood in the office yet again, chances are that many of us won’t be talking about Need for Speed Heat. That’s a pity, because NFS Heat isn’t exactly a bad game. It’s actually bloody good, the best that the series has been for many a year but hamstrung by the fact that Need for Speed at its best still can’t compare to the benchmark set by the racing game genre and the current heavyweights who are parked on its throne.
Here’s the thing though: Need for Speed Heat does have an ace up its sleeve, a gameplay factor that sets it apart from the rest of the pack and helps solidify itself as the best junk food game of 2019: Its sublime drifting mechanics.
I know you think I’m mad to wax lyrical about a single facet of a racing game, but hear me out here. In a game that emphasises it personality of being an outlaw who can go from zero to 60mph in up yours rozzer, Need for Speed Heat is amazing in hammering home that outlaw feeling with a burnt rubber tattoo on a street corner.
What makes it feel so good, is just how easy it is to pull off: Just charge down a straight stretch of road, take your finger off the gas bumper and hit it again as you wrench the steering wheel in a direction, kicking off a drift that would make Kenny from the block jealous. Drifting can be augmented with a bit of tuning in the garage for specific and legal events, but it’s the out of the box style of threading the needle with V8 horsepower that truly shines bright like a diamond.
That amazing sensation of when the cops are chasing you, of sending them in the wrong direction when you slap the laws of gravity with all four wheels, screaming around a corner and maintaining your speed so that you can drive off to fight another day. I know it sounds crazy to harp on about this, but trust me it is magnificent stuff. It’s especially god when you happen to be driving some American muscle, back-heavy machines that are responsible for global warming and handle like a whale with an eating disorder when compared to the agile nature of European supercars.
And once you’ve mastered the art of the drift, it’s something special. Every corner if a second of heaven that smells of scorched rubber on hot tar, glorious speed around a bend that just cannot be equalled by anything else in the gaming market today. At this point, I’m convinced that there’s a reptilian part of my brain devoted to injecting me with dopamine should it get even the faintest whiff of a drift and I am more than fine with that.
Need for Speed Heat may fall short in some areas, but by the racing gods I’ll defend this game’s ability to put a smile on my face with its high-speed cornering until the day I die.
Last Updated: November 28, 2019