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"Street racing has no place on public roads. Mark my words, if you are out there and you're engaging in this type of activity, we will find you. And if you think that you can get away by just hitting the gas, then you're in for a surprise. Because, we're coming after you hard and we're coming after you fast. Trust me: there is no escape."
Lt. Frank Mercer, Palm City Police Department

The one set in Vice City. Alternatively, the one with a police force led by a John Cena Expy.

Need for Speed Heat (stylized as NFS Heat) is the twenty-fourth installment (twenty-ninth counting spin-offs) in the long-running Need for Speed series. It was developed by Ghost Games (their last entry in the series) and released on November 8, 2019, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. The game marks the series' twenty-fifth anniversary.

Palm City seems peaceful at first: a gorgeous sun-bathed beach-side, and brilliant, modern architecture. The Speedhunters Showdown keeps races clean, and the cops follow the rules. When night falls, however, things change. The rules are thrown out the window as racers risk everything for reputation, hounded by the PCPD's ruthless task force and its leader, Lieutenant Frank Mercer. And in the midst of all of this is you. You'll build your way up the ranks, regardless of what it takes. And maybe, just maybe, gain something more.

With the release of the next original title Need for Speed Unbound in 2022, this is the last original NFS game to be released on eighth-gen consoles. (Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered, a remaster of the 2010 Hot Pursuit game, is the last game in the series to be released on such consoles.)

Nice tropes. But I'm gonna need them right now:

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    Gameplay Tropes 
  • Always Night: As long as you drive well enough and avoid the cops, you can stay driving at night for as long as you like and the sun will never rise, at least until you return to Lucas's garage.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Auxiliary parts are special items that give special buffs such as killswitch jammer, reinflates, bigger/more powerful nitrous tanks and improved car health. Some of them can really save your behind during nighttime. However, you have limited usage per session.
    • The 1.5 update adds Quick Routing, which allows you to set a route to the nearby gas station or safehouse while driving, without having the hassle of spending time to read the map.
    • You don't need to return to a safehouse to transition from day to night; there's an option on the map to change the time of day directly. However, to preserve the risk/reward dynamics of night, there's no option to change from night to day.
    • While the Ultimate and Ultimate+ parts from High Heat races are given out randomly, you'll not getting duplicates until you get all of the items.
  • Anti-Grinding: Downplayed. Completing the same race twice in a single free roam session will lower the bank/rep payout for that race. This, however, can be undone by warping back to a garage and then going back to that race.
  • Ascended Meme: There's an achievement called "I Said Right Now!" after the line from the reveal trailer. Also counts as Self-Deprecation on Ghost Games's part.
  • Benevolent Architecture: Apart from the ramps and billboards from Burnout Paradise, there are many graffiti scattered around town, befitting the game's theme. Some of them are street art collectibles that become decals for the wrap editor when you collect them.
  • Bonus Dungeon: High Heat Races. Can be accessed after reaching the necessary heat, escaping the cops, and avoiding the cops (as while cop is chasing, you can't enter any events). The performance rating is balanced to your current car, you can win a large amount of bank in addition to the rep, and there is the exclusive Ultimate and Ultimate+ car parts that can push the performance rating of your cars over the limit. None of the High Heat Races are necessary for the storyline completion, but they can help especially for those who prefer cars with lower performance cap.
  • Broad Strokes (also an Ultimate Universe): This game (much like the reboot and Payback) combines elements from previous entries of the franchise: set in a classic-era-style location (see Call-Back below), sanctioned street racing from ProStreet and both Shift games, the damage system and "risk versus reward" mechanic from Rivals, and the customization style and reintroduction of Ferrari cars from the 2015 reboot, among others.
  • The Bus Came Back: Ferrari returns again from 2015 after being absent from Payback due to licensing issues. The same thing cannot be said for Toyota.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Played with.
    • Speedcards and lootboxes are scrapped entirely. In place of the former, a more streamlined car performance upgrade system is implemented. However, the "Keys to the Maps" DLC was released during the January 2020 update, which uncovers the locations of all collectibles scattered around Palm City. This being said, it's the only microtransaction in the game, apart from the themed paid DLCs below.
    • The McLaren F1 DLC pack plays with this as well. While the F1 itself is one of the most-powerful exotics in the game, you need to pay with real money in order to unlock the car and its mission bundles. However, it's a one-time purchase - you don't need to pay in-game cash to buy an F1 once it's unlocked at docks.note 
  • By-the-Book Cop: The PCPD plays by the rules during daytime, only giving you a small fine for speeding, using normal tactics, and having a very civil and sensible attitude.
    • Even if they use normal tactics, it's still possible for the cops to Killswitch you or call in a helicopter when reaching Heat Level 5. Aside, they only use roadblocks, spike strips and Rhinos at nights.
  • Call-Back (also double points as a Mythology Gag):
    • Some of the Palette Swaps available to buy for the player are iconic cars from the series's prior titles, Payback included. So far, the confirmed ones are Eddie's Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 from Underground, Rachel Teller's Nissan 350Z from Underground 2, the player character's BMW M3 GTR (E46) from Most Wanted 2005, and Faith Jones's Ford F-150 Raptor from Payback. Not only that, the Lamborghini Diablo SV from Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit finally has its iconic SV logo side vinyls as part of its standard design again.note 
      • Also, each of the iconic cars also sports the exact body kit, spoiler, wheels, and license plates as their respective games. Unlike in the 2015 reboot and Payback, Eddie's Skyline has also the exact same vinyls and decals as from Underground.
    • This also extends to some of the achievements/trophies; one such achievement involves smashing through all of the billboards, in reference to the another EA-published racing game.
    • Some of the Street Art collectables scattered around Palm City are logos of previous Need for Speed games, such as Underground, Most Wanted (both 2005 and 2012), Carbon, ProStreet, Shift, 2010's Hot Pursuit, Rivals, No Limits, Payback, and even including the Nintendo-exclusive Nitro, the classic High Stakes, and the cancelled Edge. Once collected, you can use them as decals in the car's wrap editor.
    • Some of the signs in Heat reference past Need for Speed courses:
      • There's a bizarrely placed highway sign at the end of the pier in Bayview Park (itself a reference to the setting of Underground 2) that says, "Aquatica 3 Miles", a reference to the track of the same name in III: Hot Pursuit.
      • Another highway sign in western Port Murphy (near the Coal Drift Bro drift zone) says, "Rusty Springs 2345 miles", referring to Rusty Springs Raceway from the series' very first entry, The Need for Speed.
      • A building in Port Murphy located near the district's safe house and just yards from the marker for the "Rollercoaster" event has a sign parodying the classic Universal Studios logo that says "Monolithic Studios", which was the unlockable bonus track from Need for Speed II.
    • Speaking of Bayview Park, there is a district called "Fort Callahan" named after the last name of the number 1 of the Blacklist.note  This is also similar to how there is a district named "Callahan Industrial" in Fairhaven City (the setting of Criterion Games' Most Wanted).
      • ...and speaking of Razor, there is a store in Sandino Ranches with the sign saying "RONNIE WAS HERE". This refers to Ronnie, the #3 member of the Blacklist.
    • The Palm City itself is named as a nod to the Palm City Island, a track in Hot Pursuit 2. It also bears some Scenery Porn resemblances to the latter (albeit 17 years later), cue Video Game Remake jokes about the location.
      • Speaking of Hot Pursuit 2, there is also a sign in Bayview Park saying "Calypso Coast", with is also another track in that said game.
  • Character Customization: The first time in the series, where instead of a Featureless or pre-determined protagonist, now you can customize your avatar with different hairstyles, masks and clothing from licensed brands like Adidas, Givenchy, Champion, and Marcelo Burlon.
  • City of Everywhere: While heavily based on Miami, Palm City features aspects of other Florida locales as well, including a space center similar to Cape Canaveral, an abandoned race track shaped like the Daytona International Speedway and a cable suspended bridge reminiscent of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in the Florida Keys.
  • Cool Car: Not just the tuners, muscle cars and supercars we came to know and love, but also some high-performance sedans, SUVs such as BMW X6 M and Ford F-150 Raptor, and electric sports cars such as the Polestar 1 from the cover, as well as convertible, high performance variants of certain cars and specially tuned versions by Khyzyl Saleem. There are also track-only cars such as Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 2.8, McLaren P1 GTR and Ferrari FXX-K Evoluzione, which are not street-legal to begin with...
    • The Black Market update adds the cool and legendary McLaren F1 (last seen in Rivals, also developed by Ghost Games) to the line up. And it can be fitted with an LM or a longtail GTR body kit, or even the works conversion from Shift 2: Unleashed!
  • Color Motif: The police units' liveries differ depending on whether it's day or night. The police units in daytime are decked out in white with teal accents, while the night time units are black and grey, fitting their more aggressive nature.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Despite the more simplified upgrade mechanics that resembles the EA Black Box games such as Need for Speed: Underground, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and Need for Speed: Carbon, the aftermarket parts company names from Need for Speed Payback are featured as vinyl selections to decorate your cars.
    • Various names and logos for the street crews in Need for Speed Payback are also available as vinyl selections to decorate your cars.
    • The game features a fictional custom part brand named "The Alchemist", which people who played the previous game Payback will recognize as the nickname of Rav, the mechanic of Tyler Morgan and his crew from that game. Said brand's parts are available for use for any car that used to have them in Payback. Guess Rav managed to continue his tuning business after taking down the House.
    • Rav's (or "The Alchemist") custom aftermarket
  • Cowboy Cop: At night, the PCPD is this trope incarnate, with more aggressive tactics, better equipment such as roadblocks, killswitches and spike strips, and even Rhino vehicles ramming you head on. They treat searching for escaping racers like a game of cat and mouse, and some of them seem to actually enjoy putting their safety (and the safety of the public and racers) on the line in chases. Their aggressiveness even extends to their control (Officer Torres, no less) who takes an almost sadistic glee in the cops going after racers and is beyond pissed off when a chase lasts too long or the racers get away. They honestly verge on being a collective police force example of the Rabid Cop. Here are some examples of what they say:
    Torres: (angrily) Get out there and find that DAMN car!
    Warren: (on megaphone) Smile for the dashcam, dumbass!
    Sweet: Do your DAMN job, control, and send some extra units!
    Torres: They're gone. Screw it! Let me see if I can find a race event on social media if you think you can do better.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Downplayed. Palm City seems to be a nice and colorful Neon City, with cheery skies and streets bustling with organized street racing. However, the story quickly reveals the PCPD is full of rabid cops who are getting rich off of busting racers.
  • Cut the Juice: Killswitches from Payback return, and the PCPD is not afraid to use them against you (at least once you hit Heat level 3): you get a warning that the police are using one on you, so that you can try to veer out of range or, if you have it, activate a "Killswitch Jammer". If you don't counter the activation, there's a very good chance that your car will stop responding at all for 5-6 seconds, which can be a death sentence in a particularly intense cop chase.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Averted. The "brake-to-drift" mechanic becomes "tap-gas-to-drift" mechanic by default, which some experienced players from the 2015 reboot and Payback have difficulty to get used to. Fortunately, it can be changed to the former via Live Tuning. Though it must be changed for each individual car.
  • Darker and Edgier: The night-time races. Cops are now a genuine threat with heavy body armor instead of comical Lemming Cops prevalent in Need for Speed: Most Wanted or equal Worthy Opponent prevalent in any other prior Need for Speed games bar Rivals. However, see Lighter and Softer below.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Well, not death, but rather getting arrested. Wrecking your car during night time causes the session to end automatically and go back to the hideout without any Rep multiplier. If you get busted by the cops, you also have to pay a fine which can be easily compensated by doing some daytime races. Also, your car will not be impounded by the cops, whether busted or wrecked. Justified in-universe as Lucas having managed to retrieve your almost impounded car and completely restored it back to the way it originally was in case that happened.
    Lucas: It's okay, I managed to salvage something from what you brought in.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: During the loading screens between races and entering the world, your current car will be seen in a very flashy background with stylistic lights, and being shown off from different angles.
  • Early Game Hell: The early game is equal parts slow and difficult for various reasons: your starter car barely reaches 230 km/h compared to the endgame cars's easy 370 km/h, there are very few events to take part in until you level up a couple of times, and the cops during night time can be really nasty even at Heat Level 1 when your car is that slow. Compare this to the late game where your car is likely specced enough to blaze past even Heat Level 5 cops and you have enough events to participate in to make tremendous amounts of money and rep during each day/night time session. Matter of fact, in the early game you'll be lucky to bank at least 20k rep in a single night, while in the late game it's perfectly feasible to bank upwards of a million rep each night.
  • Endless Daytime: You can drive during the day all you want and it will never become nighttime, at least unless you choose to switch to night from the map or Lucas's garage.
  • Everything-Is-Smashable Area: Like in Forza Horizon, you can smash barriers to lamp posts, even palm trees, telephone poles and stone walls without taking damage or losing too much speed! Speed barriers, however, will slow you down significantly, which makes sense since that's what they're designed to do.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Why are the police willing to use extreme tactics like sending out helicopters to track down a single street racer rather than letting them go? Because they're a bunch of near-rabid thugs. Police chatter in the previous games was fairly professional; police chatter in this game has them take glee in being able to hunt you down (one of the opening chase lines is, "Smile for the dashcam, jackass!"), they slowly lose their cool as the chase continues, and when you get away, they're prone to blame anything else besides admitting you're a better driver than them while the dispatcher mocks them for their ineptitude. In his second scene, Mercer threatens Joe to leave at gunpoint, just to send a message to the racers. And as the story reveals, the cops are selling the cars they impound to make piles of money, giving them even more motivation to catch you.
    • Why do the police continue to be so rabid once Mercer and Shaw are taken out and the apparent Reasonable Authority Figure Torres takes over? Because she still wants to end the street races- she was only against the illegal profiteering.
    • The billboard collectibles are the "Always Watching" promotion for the Task Force featuring a headshot of Mercer rather than generic Brand X products, implying you're wrecking them to send a message against the Task Force besides as a gameplay mechanic.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: When Ana and the player get on the PCPD's bad side, Lucas advises them to stay away from the cops and avoid going out at night for fear of retaliation. Despite this, the behavior of the cops stays the same as before. During the day, they hardly acknowledge the player and only engage the player at night once they get a high enough heat level.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Surprisingly averted. For the first time in the NFS series since Need for Speed: The Run, hard profanity is being dropped in game. The police dispatcher at night is a particular potty mouth, dropping words like "shit" or "asshole". Some crewmates also say "bullshit" during intense moments. More vulgar words like "fuck" remain unused, though. note 
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Ultimate and Ultimate+ parts offer the absolute best performance in the game, to the point of making cars go beyond Level 399. However, they are unlocked at random by completing High Heat Races at night time and successfully reaching a hideout after reaching Rep Level 50. Luckily, they are available for purchase for every car in the game once unlocked; no duplicate parts are given out until all parts are unlocked either, therefore avoiding unnecessary Item Farming and saving the player a lot of time and patience.
    • In terms of cars, while anything can become an overpowered super speed demon, there are some cars that are easier to do this with than others, such as the McLaren F1, the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ and the Pagani Huayra. The Koenigsegg Regera is this as a base, unmodified model.
  • Interface Screw: Damaging your car or getting killswitched will cause the HUD to briefly glitch out, as well as the background music being distorted.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Derelict and abandoned cars from Payback return as standard cars that can be easily purchased from the dealership. And since majority of the cars in the lineup (with the right upgrades) can go above the 400+ cap rating, they can give the Koenigsegg, Ferrari or the McLaren P1 a run for their money.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • Gameplay-wise, the day-time races. To the point that most day-time races are closed circuit races and the cops at daylight are only issuing parking tickets. Aesthetically, the night-time races are often set in neon-bathed city lights, a contrast to most preceding games barring the Underground series and Carbon.
    • Story-wise, although not as light as ProStreet, Nitro, or even the 2015 reboot, the story has a much more lighter tone compared to the dreary, horrible tone of Rivals or the complicated revenge story with a Cliffhanger ending of Payback, as the events were rightfully settled at the end despite myriads of dramatic events.
  • Marathon Level: The Discovery Events. Three night-time sprint events that give you the highest rep possible. And after finishing one of them, the next event is nearby and you can start the race immediately. There is an even longer Discovery event that takes you to race around the entire map and it would take you 8-10 minutes with at least a 300+ rating car, but these events are extremely handy and useful to doing the "Cashing In" achievement.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: Heat's Palm City is far hillier than south-central Florida is in real life. This is a Justified Trope, as it allows for twisting mountain roads and elevation changes that make for more interesting race courses.
  • Neon City: Palm City shows this style, especially so at night, with predominantly light blue and pink neon lights that give a strong Synthwave-esque vibe.
  • Never My Fault: Cops may blame their low-powered cars for being unable to keep up if you evade a pursuit. This is justified if you're in a supercar that can easily breeze past 200 mph, less so if you're in a starter car that barely manages to reach 130 mph if you hit your nitrous while going downhill.
    Warren: Not my fault I can't catch them. I'm as going as fast as I could!
  • Nice Day, Deadly Night: The Trope Codifier shows Palm City at daytime is more relaxed and easygoing, with sanctioned racing events taking place under the Speedhunters Showdown label and more lenient cops. When the sun goes down, however, it becomes the type of city NFS fans came to know with a bustling street racing scene and far, far more aggressive cops hellbent on taking you down, no matter what it takes.
  • Nitro Boost: A staple of the series that returns in a new way. Like in the previous games, the nitrous bar fills up automatically overtime, but it can only be used when at least one tank is full. Once it's turned on, it goes until a full tank is depleted. The player has access to two different types of nitrous: multiple tanks for smaller but more controllable boosts, or a single massive tank for a less controllable but much stronger boost. Passive auxiliary items can help refill the nitrous quicker by doing certain stunts. There is also an active item which instantly refills the nitrous, once activated.
  • No Fair Cheating: Every race is designed around a specific performance, maxing out around 380, so an easy way to win races is to just have a significantly better car: you have to actively try to lose a 120 race with a 200+ rated car, and it only gets easier from there. While this means that you'll always have sources of Rep and Bank no matter what (even your starting car is rated around 120), you'll be in for a nasty surprise on High Heat races, where the performance index is equal to your current performance index. In some cases, it's easier to lower your performance than it is to compete at high performance, since higher performance AI also means that the drivers are functionally better.
  • Only in Miami: Palm City takes heavy inspiration from Miami and its metropolitan area, as well as the surrounding regions between Florida and Georgia. Also double counts as Only in Florida.
  • Optional Traffic Laws: During the daytime, cops don't mind you for speeding, driving in the oncoming lane, causing property damage, hitting any traffic or drifting in front of them, but they'll do when you hit their unit. Even if you manage to escape, regardless of the Heat Level, the control will call off the pursuit and reset your heat level down to 0.
  • Pimped-Out Car: Returns as usual. And apart from wraps, parts and vanity items, you can even customize the exhaust sound! With the Black Market update, you can even change the color of the exhaust's backfire!
    • Zigzagged for icon cars and pre-tuned specialty vehicles which have no body kits, and you can only change the license plate, wheels, colors, wraps, stance and effects such as the Ferrari Testarossa, Porsche 911 GT2 RS and the Nissan GT-R Nismo.
  • Rabid Cop: All the officers on the High Speed Task Force are insane, both in story and in gameplay. In gameplay, even a low Heat level chase will have them smashing in to your car repeatedly to try to wreck it, and their tactics escalate in ferocity from there: spike strips and roadblocks are par for the course, but at Heat level 5, in addition to being hounded by a helicopter for 60 seconds at a time, you'll also have to deal with Rhino attacks. That is, a heavily armored SWAT van trying its absolute best to ram your car from the front at extreme speeds. One hit from a Rhino can take off half your health!
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: In Payback your car could reach a maximum performance level of 399. Here it's entirely possible to go beyond that: in these cases your car's level will be displayed as 400+. Eventually, the Koenigsegg Regera is the only car at stock performance to have a 400+ rating.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: Since you can go to the gas station to repair your car, during the night, you can only repair up to three times in a single night session. When your car's taken critical damage and you used up your repairs, even with cops on your tail, you're on your own. Unless you have a Portable Repair Kit installed in your car. Justified in-universe: The police force the gas stations to shut down for the night after three uses.
  • Rice Burner: The cover version of the Polestar 1 and the K.S. edition of the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport have a ridiculously huge and weird looking spoiler. Some cars have customizable Big Country Labs spoilers that are ridiculously taller than the roof!
  • Scare Chord: A deep trumpet blast sounds to warn you of an incoming Rhino.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Downplayed. If you engage a police pursuit, regardless whether day or night, you can immediately bribe the cops for 10,000 so they won't bother you for reckless driving.
  • Self-Contained Demo: NFS Heat Studio, the companion app for mobile devices, gives players an early taste of car customization and even gives the option to export the full loadouts — livery included — to the full game. You still have to unlock the cars and pay for them and their customizations, however. Also, not all the cars (including the DLCs), parts and vinyls in the app are in the full game, and vice versa.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Some vending machines sell Sun Cola.note 
    • The player character in Heat is really named "Player". Where did this come from?
    • Some of the Street Art features the names of notable racing game Let's Players such as BlackPanthaa, StraightUpHippo, and AR12Gaming.
    • The "Collector's Gambit" side missions has the player character and Raziel recover a stolen Aston Martin DB5 that belonged to a prominent member of the League. And in the final race where you confront the thief, you soon discover that your opponent driving the stolen DB5 is named "Bond".
  • Socialization Bonus: Being part of an online Crew gives you bonuses to bank, rep and heat earned throughout the game; the higher the Crew level is, the bigger the bonuses get. Also, when your crew hits level 50 all of its members get the option to buy the Ferrari FXX K Evo, the fastest car in the game in stock conditions. note 
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The BMW Z4 M40i probably made it into the game due to it being co-produced and sharing the same platform as the 2020 Toyota GR Supra, as at the time of the game's production Need for Speed couldn't get the rights for any Toyota vehicles.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Police can't handle jumps (as seen below in Weaksauce Weakness), so your best bet to escape is to jump 300+ yards, from the top of a mountain all the way down, despite the fact that this should destroy your car. In addition, if you can take the damage, an excellent way to thin out the cops chasing you is to drive into water: you'll respawn back on land (at 0 mph, so get moving!) with some damage, but any cops that followed you in or couldn't turn in time will be chased and removed from the chase.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: An easy way to get rid of the cops is by taking advantage of the ramps scattered throughout the world, as they cannot handle jumps at all, actually turning upside down in mid air if they jump too high.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: For the first time in the NFS series, the open world allows players to drive off-road anywhere in the Palm City countryside like in Test Drive Unlimited, the Forza Horizon seriesnote  and The Crew games.
    Story Tropes 
  • The Bad Guys Are Cops: The whole of Mercer's Task Force who are infamous for their zero tolerance policy for street racing and usage of excessive force when busting racers. In addition, they also extort large sums of money from racers in custody and are seizing cars from the Showdown to strip for parts.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Lieutenant Frank Mercer and Danny Shaw. The former appears at first as a By-the-Book Cop but he encourages his comrades to break the law to capture as many racers as possible. The latter is Mercer's Dragon-in-Chief and number one lackey - a sadistic, trash-talking Rabid Cop whose blind zealotry in taking down street racers makes him just as bad, if not worse than the people he's trying to capture. Torres makes it a Triumvirate, but she eventually becomes The Starscream.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lt. Frank Mercer is likely dead, putting an end to the High Speed Task Force's illegal activities. Lucas managed to win back his beloved family garage and reconciled with Ana, who gets the right to drive the fully restored Camaro as a gift. Also, Ana and the Player are finally accepted in The League, meaning they will continue to race together, with Lucas deciding to exit retirement and get back to street racing. However, the fate of Joe remains unknown, and Lt. Eva Torres now assumes position as the new leader of the Task Force, meaning they will still commit to ending street racing in Palm City once and for all.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: During the day, racing is officially sanctioned. But at night, racing is super illegal, and given the amount of damage you're likely to do to the surrounding landscape and civilians while you're doing a night race, it's entirely justified. But the cops on the High Speed Task Force that are dedicated to stopping the illegal street racing are so corrupt that there's no good guys here.
  • Book Ends: The main story starts a breaking news flash with Lt. Frank Mercer giving a Rousing Speech regarding his goal to put a stop to illegal street racing in Palm City. The ending also ends with the same news flash scene from earlier, but with the now Lt. Eva Torres.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: As per order by Frank, Joe is forced to sever his ties with his crewmate Ana after he lost his Polestar, at the end of the prologue.
    Ana: Hey! What happened, Bro? Where the hell's your car? Hey!
    Joe: This is bullshit, Ana! I'm out! I... I'm going back to Ventura. And I'm taking Richie with me.
    Ana: But we're a Crew!
    Joe: Not anymore! It's over!
    Ana: What?! You just gonna walk to Ventura?
    Joe: Yep...! You're on your own!
  • Chekhov's Gun: The classic yellow Chevrolet Camaro from earlier when the player arrived to pick their starter car at the beginning.
    • Ana steals the Camaro to race against the Dreamkillers in a final race alongside with the player. It was badly damaged when Shaw intervened midway through the race, forcing the player to save her. This lead to Lucas furiously berated Ana for taking the car without his permission. This later lead to Ana dismissing Lucas in retaliation.
    • Then Lucas later uses the same Camaro to ram Frank's car, saving Ana and the player from being imprisoned.
    • Finally, at the end, Ana finally gets the right to drive the Camaro after she and Lucas reconciled.
  • Cool Bike: During the prologue, Officer Eva Torres, one of Mercer's squadmates, rides a BMW S1000RR.
  • Cool Car:
    • During the prologue, the Polestar from the cover belongs to Joe. The 1.5 update later became drivable.
    • At the end, Mercer, in an attempt to escape from the swarm of cops dragged onto his operation, rides in one of the series' most iconic cars: the BMW M3 GTR, complete with livery and custom license plate replicating the 2005 title's. It's the car you unlock from the mission, courtesy of the League restoring it as thanks for stopping Mercer.
    • Also, the classic yellow Chevrolet Camaro with a supercharger Lucas has been working on. It belonged to their late father.
    • Ana's temporary car also counts. After her 350Z was unreasonably impounded by Shaw earlier, Lucas later lent her his red RWB 993 during the second half of the story.
  • Chronically Crashed Car: With the Camaro. Twice. See Chekhov's Gun above.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Joe, and by association, his Polestar 1. See A Taste of Power above.
  • Defacement Insult: Ana vandalized Shaw's car with some graffiti as payback for impounding her 350Z for absolutely no reason.
  • Disconnected by Death: Lucas reveals that he was arrested for street racing once. He called his father with the news, only to get a hang-up in response. The following morning, he's told that his father suffered a fatal heart attack right after hanging up.
  • Downer Beginning: Joe's fiasco at the prologue, resulting the loss of his Polestar, his Involuntary Group Split with Ana, and departure for Ventura Bay.
  • Enemy Mine: Because the franchise is known for racers and cops as sworn enemies, here, the Player and Ana has to team up with Officer Eva Torres to put an end on Mercer's diabolic profiteering scheme.
  • Expy: The three main police officers are very, very similar to the ones from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Mercer is similar to Frank Tenpenny (even sharing the same first name), in that he's a police officer who uses his position for profit. Shaw is a foul-mouthed Jerk with a Heart of Jerk and Mercer's Dragon, much like Eddie Pulaski. And Torres is the Token Good Teammate of the bunch like Hernandez, except Torres lives and helps the player take down the Big Bad, while Hernandez squeals to the Feds and gets killed for his troubles.
  • Foreshadowing: The fact that the cops are very angry with Joe ditching the car into the ocean as he tries to escape and later, Shaw impounding Ana's car under suspicion for looking like a tuned race car implies that the cops are really wanting to profit from the impounded cars.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: Torres helps you take down Frank Mercer, who's clearly out of control and corrupt as all hell, but...when Torres confronts Mercer alone, he implies (once he gets over his shock that she sold him out) that she has just as much to lose as he does if he goes in, and he will take her down if he gets caught. So she kills him and hides the body. Her corruption was on display throughout the story, so it's not much of a surprise: she wasn't against the results of the illegal crackdown (the money), just the lengths to which Mercer and Shaw were willing to go (murder) to keep it going.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Ana Rivera provided the narration of the official reveal trailer with this line..
    Ana: El tiempo es el fuego en el que ardemos. note 
    • On the other hand, your mechanic Lucas is this, due to his Cuban origin.
    Lucas: Mira la calle esta caliente. note 
  • Heel–Face Turn: Torres ends up supplying the crew with information on Mercer's operations after finding out just how far off the deep end the task force had gone.
  • Jerkass: Both Mercer and Shaw definitely have a despicable attitude.
  • Large Ham: Ana, and Officer Danny Shaw are prime examples. Ana is arrogant in attitude, and Officer Danny Shaw appears to yell a lot.
  • The Precious, Precious Car: The Rivera's priced Camaro. Ana steals it so she can race with the player. However, Shaw and the PCPD ambushes the race and damaged the said Camaro. Lucas ain't happy with the result.
  • Stalking Mission: The mission "Follow the Law" obliges you to follow the police car without filling up the suspicion meter.
  • Suddenly Voiced: For the first time ever, apart from Jack Rourke, Zephyr and F-8, or Tyler, Mac and Jess, your Player Character can actually talk.
  • Surprise Car Crash: Lucas does this by using his father's '67 Camaro he just repaired and rams it straight on Frank Mercer's car, saving both and the player and his sister, Ana from getting arrested.
  • A Taste of Power: You play as Joe during the prologue, and as a result you race in his fully-tuned Polestar 1, before shifting to your own player character in the main game.
  • Uncertain Doom: It remains unknown whether Torres killed Mercer or not at the end.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: No one knows what happened to Joe from the prologue earlier. Averted in the playable epilogue: Ana recounts that she heard from Joe about how she's got a Crew and wants to know if he and Richie can join up with her again. She turns him down flat.



Video Example(s):


Need for Speed Heat

After the player and Ana surrender themselves to Lt. Frank Mercer to save Lucas, Lucas soon uses his father's '67 Camaro that he had just repaired to save them by ramming it right into Frank's car.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / SurpriseCarCrash

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