Ghost Games is already developing the fourth part of Need for Speed in a row, and every time it seems that now the studio will do everything right. Heat also claims to be a perfect return to the roots of the series: asphalt gets wet in the rain, neon burns the retina, the city is mired in corruption, and only I – a chosen but faceless racer – can solve all the problems of Palm City. And at the same time to figure out the foggy past of the mysterious Mexican family, which for unclear reasons decided to shelter the main character.

The characters and the overall plot of the plot evoke the memory of the series The Fast and the Furious , and specifically the first parts: the scale of the story is still quite modest. This, as well as the predictable “unexpected turn” at the end of the solo campaign, are transparent allusions to potential continuation. Obviously, Heat was conceived as a reboot, designed to lay the foundation for future games. But whether it was worth building it directly on the bones of previous releases of NfS is a big question.

With the world on a string

The cycle of day and night in Heat was cut into two separate times of the day. It is necessary to earn some money – go out under the scorching sun during the day and win legal races with sponsors. And if you want to increase your reputation on the streets, get out into the city after sunset and rush along forbidden tracks, dodging oncoming cars.

However, the choice is purely formal: all the same, one will have to deal with both. New races and plot chapters open with an increase in reputation, and with the money earned, you need to improve the car so that it matches the level of the race. By the way, I got the impression that the level affects your performance more than anything. If it is too low, you simply move too slowly – and no matter how ideally you fit into the turns, the race leader will still be far ahead. But if there is enough pumping, you abruptly become a star, make opponents swallow dust and go around the tail in the second round. In the eighteen hours that I spent in Palm City, I did not have a single intense race – I always knew from the first seconds whether I would lose the race or win.

Extensive tuning capabilities – a hallmark of the series – in place. Painting and overflows can be adjusted very finely, and moldings, albeit not in abundance, but all are well-designed and suitable for any car. In addition, an upgrade of the filling is available, after which the characteristics of the machine gravitate to the different ends of the two axes: the track or off-road and flu or drift. And let the fleet not compare with what it was in last year’s Forza Horizon 4 , 127 cars from 33 manufacturers are still a good choice. Some cars and parts open as the reputation grows, some are given for special quests and mini-tasks in the open world. And the Ferrari brand, which had previously disappeared from Need for Speed ​​for legal reasons, returned to the series.

You can customize the appearance of your avatar – and not only when creating a character, but also at any time in the game. True, the difference is visible only in cutscenes, and even the voice acting does not change in any way. My woman in Russian localization was always treated like a man

Mini-tasks (like high-speed radars, drift on a certain segment or long jumps) are numerous and open as you study the map. This, of course, terribly slows down game perfectionists – here you are rushing along the highway at a speed of two hundred kilometers an hour, and then a notification pops up: street art is nearby, slow down and unlock the sticker! Therefore, moving around the map turns out in fits and starts – here I broke the billboard, here I did it (after changing the suspension in a special menu), and then turned around and drove in the opposite direction to fix the speed on the radar …

When developers run out of ideas for testing, they add pink neon flamingos to the map, which must be broken. Moreover, the heroes themselves discuss these absurd tasks, as if warning your indignation: haha, they say, saw neon pink flamingos? This is nonsense, right?

And indeed, complete nonsense.

Frostbite migrated here with all its sores, so the cars here are heavy and squat, like tanks in Battlefield, and the drift is implemented, let’s say, unconventionally. Firstly, the method itself has changed: now it is advised to release the gas pedal during a turn and press it again: then the car will start to drift. If you are used to taking turns without sticking to the cover and slowly shedding and increasing speed, you will have to relearn.

Secondly, all races with an emphasis on drift are held in a strange way: the necessary points are easily gained for the first quarter of the track, and the rest of the time you just try to calmly and without tricks to reach the finish line. But the attempts are in vain – no matter how carefully you drive, the car will invariably fly out of the road at every turn. “Started to drift – drift to the end,” Heat hinted transparently.

Underground 3 and neon – or not he?

Visually, the game looks great … if you are inattentive and rush at high speed. It’s worth a little peek into the distance – especially during the day – and you will begin to notice trees, buildings and cars gradually jumping out of nowhere at a distance of a couple of tens of meters. I have too often seen cars just fall onto the asphalt from the air; it looks especially strange in the cutscene after the race, where your character celebrates a victory, and at that time oil cars and convertibles materialize behind him. Or try to drive closer to a palm tree by the sea. You will see that from the base of the tree to the ground – a good half a meter, and the same hole between the leaves of the palm tree and the trunk.

In the first screenshot, the trees do not touch the ground. On the second, the car fell upside down, and on the third, literally a couple of meters later, a bush suddenly grew from asphalt

Palm City is as stereotyped an “NfS city” as you can imagine. Miami served as a prototype for it, and therefore there is both a port and a spaceport, and the beaches are adjacent to the mountains and swamps, but all the locations are deserted and lifeless. Perhaps, only loading screens preserve some magic, on which your car is poured with acid light to peppy music. This, and even a smooth transition between day and night, is truly impeccably beautiful moments that the designers clearly worked on.

Developers regularly flirt with fans of past parts of Need for Speed: here you have the Nissan 350z, which we rode under Snoop Dogg in Underground 2, and the BMW M3 GTR – it will appear in the climax of the storyline campaign.

What else did Heat inherit from the previous parts? Well, for example, destructible: it is so cardboard that sometimes you really think that you are playing Underground 3 – just not in the sense that you wanted to hope for.

Character models, especially our own, cause the “sinister valley” effect, so I chose a girl with a bangs more authentic and immediately put on her biggest sunglasses

How to play NfS correctly

For the rest, NfS Heat is working on errors that could not have been made: EA seemed to give the developers a list where, by points, they listed what needs to be fixed after the previous parts. Don’t people like microtransactions? There will be no microtransactions! Don’t like weak cops? Will be strong!

Another thing is that by correcting old errors, Ghost Games immediately makes new ones. In-game payments, for example, were indeed removed, but instead of them a paid add-on will appear later to save time: it reveals all the objects on the map. How do you like the idea of ​​first paying for the game itself, and then for playing less?

The cops were made so aggressive and “fat” that it’s better not to mess with them at night: if they catch, they will take part of the money, and fellow riders will not respect. And here, unlike other parts, the trick does not come out of fighting the police: there are no places where it would be possible to wait out the raid. And the billboard for the pursuit, too, no longer bring down. And if you make an unexpected turn or suddenly start to come off, the game will kindly teleport police reinforcements to you – or simply drag the pursuers to your bumper in a matter of seconds.

There is a twofold attitude towards skirmishes with law enforcement officers: it is nice that the cops have finally ceased to be whipping boys, but the problem is that now we ourselves have become such boys. The car falls apart after five or six collisions with the police, while we can repair the car along the way only three times, and there are no proven ways to escape. Unless to jump into the water from a springboard: then our car will recover with a slight loss of “health”, but the pursuers will fly into the ocean after you – and go to the bottom.

As a result, night pokatushki turn into some kind of stealth missions: instead of proudly ironing the asphalt, we sneak along quiet streets and carefully choose turns, constantly checking the map where all patrols are displayed. Yes, at later levels of pumping, you can open the repair kit and repair the car on the go, but until that moment you have to play, perhaps, at least fifteen hours.

The stumbling block of modern AAA projects – wild volumes of content and artificially extended travel times – is here. Someone will say that “the game really opens after the first ten hours”, but for others it will mean that you just have to endure the first ten hours, earning hard dollars and a reputation (in fact, the same “gold” and “exp”) . By the time I finally scraped enough to buy myself a third car, and then started collecting builds for it from different tires and suspensions, it suddenly dawned on me: damn it, it’s not a race. NfS Heat is a classic open-world action-RPG.

Forza Horizon 4 was called  ” The Witcher 3  from the world of racing.” Well, then NfS Heat could very well be Assassin’s Creed Odyssey . When you start thinking about it, everything falls into place. And an empty but spacious open world. And the scattering of “questions” on the map – it will take more than one week to go round everything. And the mandatory grind of gold and experience, and growing levels of missions, and the same type of activity, and the groundless “chosenness” of the protagonist.

Before us is a sterile game, perfectly calibrated by all standards of a successful title, which really does not want to upset the player. “See, what level is needed to complete this race? – carefully prompts Heat. – You just need to pump a little more! And as soon as your level becomes higher than necessary, you can overtake all opponents as if standing. That will be fun, right? ”

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