Games

Need for Speed Heat: 6 tips to rule the streets of Palm City

Written by Jake Tucker
Put pedal to metal as you race around the streets of not-Miami in Need for Speed Heat.
EA's latest street-racing extravaganza, Need For Speed Heat, is here, and if you're revving your engine at the starting blocks, you might have noticed this is a vastly different beast to Payback, which came before it.
Mastery here is going to involve getting used to the duality of the day and night cycle, meaning you can get access to the best parts and have the cash to jam them into your chosen ride.
To ease your start, here are six tips ideal for beginners getting to grips with the game:

1. Make Bank by day

By day, Palm City is your oyster in Need for Speed Heat
By day, Palm City is your oyster in Need for Speed Heat
Earning cash and spending it requires mastery at different times in Need for Speed Heat. To make bank - the word everyone used constantly when discussing money, which will embed itself in your brain - you'll need to win the official 'sanctioned race events' that have you tearing around the city on tracks cleared of traffic.
It's all about the race, here. There's no traffic on the track, the cops aren't trying to interfere, and you can keep your mind on what's important: doing some hecking street-racing.
Daytime is also a decent time to explore the city, to find both smashable billboards but also gas stations, which are absolutely crucial as they repair your car in a flash. This is particularly invaluable at nighttime.

2. Earn rep by night

Need for Speed Heat car driving during nighttime
With the tracks filled with traffic and cops, nighttime racing is tough
For some reason, shops in Need For Speed Heat won't sell you parts unless you convince them you're a really cool person.
That seems like a pretty bad idea for a specialist parts shop in this economy, but who are we to judge? Playing by their rules means you need to earn a rep for yourself, and that's only possible by ruling the streets at night. At first, this will involve illegal street races, with cops sniffing around and traffic clogging up the racing line.

3. Heat up

TFW you're going to do a crime for extra Rep
TFW you're going to do a crime for extra Rep
If you're looking to level up fast, you'll need to generate heat.
The way that Rep works, it isn't so much a currency as it is experience points to unlock better items for your car. The rep you pull in each night can be multiplied by how much heat you've accumulated with that evening's activities.
There are a few different ways to earn heat, but largely you're going to have to stir up some trouble. Evading capture in long pursuits, racing multiple times in a single evening and destroying pursuing cop cars will all jack up the heat, increasing your risk, but will also let you bag a significant amount of Rep much more quickly if you can survive the extra pressure from the authorities.
It's important to judge this well because getting caught by the fuzz can be disastrous.

4. Don't get busted

The cops in Need for Speed Heat have some tasty motors, too
The cops in Need for Speed Heat have some tasty motors, too
Gamble and lose in Need for Speed Heat and you're going to severely hamper your early game progress.
When you get busted, you'll lose all the Rep you've earnt that night and any multiplier you had before that. But it gets worse. You'll also lose a percentage of your overall cash, adding financial insult to injury, wasting not only your time but also the time you spent the previous day.

5. Drift king

Palm City's curves are great for drifting
Palm City's curves are great for drifting
Drifting is super weird in Need for Speed Heat. Instead of pumping the breaks or a specialised button, you need to ease off the accelerator for a second, pushing down on the pedal briefly as you lean into a big turn, which alters the physics on the car and lets you drift.
Of all of the changes Need for Speed Heat makes from the classic racing game formula, this is one of the most significant and it led to a few accidental crashes and scrapes while the new system was bedding it.
It's worth spending the time to learn how this works — and when you should drift compared to when you should slam your handbrake. In return you'll start to actually win races, rather than accidentally crash into a wall as you skid around the final corner, letting the racer in second pick up an easy victory.

6. Challenge yourself

Make big plays for big rewards with Need for Speed Heat's challenges
Make big plays for big rewards with Need for Speed Heat's challenges
The game has both daily challenges and racer challenges for you to attempt. Daily challenges might ask you to take down seven cops or become a "jumpy boi" and jump a certain distance, but in exchange, they'll give you a wedge of Rep and Bank.
There are also racer challenges, with daytime challenges giving you Rep and Night challenges giving you Bank, allowing you to earn the opposite currency while playing a certain timeframe.
Work these into your routine, and you'll be able to earn extra rewards for your troubles. What could be better than that?