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Video Game / Need for Speed Heat

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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

Need for Speed Heat (stylized as NFS Heat) is the twenty-fourth installment in the long-running Need for Speed series. It was released on November 8, 2019 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. The game marks the series's 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.


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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.
  • 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 or by simply retrying the event after finishing the race while the results screen is shown.
  • 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 it are street art collectibles which can become decals for the wrap editor when you collect them.
  • Broad Strokes (also an Ultimate Universe): This game (much like the reboot and Payback) combines elements from previous entries of the franchise; sanctioned street racing from ProStreet, 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. Same thing currently cannot be said for Toyota, though for now.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Played with. Speedcards and lootboxes are scrapped off entirely. In place of the former, a more streamlined car performance upgrade system is implemented. However, a Time Savers pass will be made available after release which will uncover the locations of all collectibles scattered around Palm City. This being said as the only microtransaction in the game, apart from upcoming paid DLCs.
  • 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. They'll won't pursue you for speeding, driving on the oncoming road or drifting, but they'll do when you hit their unit.
    • Even if they use normal tactics, it's still possible for the cops to call in a helicopter when reaching Heat Level 5.
  • 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 vinyl as part of its standard design again.note 
      • Also, each of the iconic cars also sport 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, and even including the spin-off Nitro, the classic High Stakes, and the cancelled Edge. Once collected, you can use them as decals in the car's wrap editor.
    • There's a bizarrely placed 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.
    • Speaking of Bayview Park, there is a district called "Fort Callahan" named after the last name of Razor.note  This is also similar to how there is a district named "Callahan Industrial" in Fairhaven City (the setting of Criterion Games' Most Wanted).
    • The Palm City itself is named as a nod to the Palm City Island, a track in Hot Pursuit 2.
  • 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.
  • Cool Car: Not just the tuners, muscle cars and supercars we came to know and love, but also some sedans 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.
  • 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 dispatcher 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:
    Dispatcher: (angrily) Get out there and find that DAMN car!
    Police: Smile to the dashcam, dumbass!
  • Crapsaccharine World: Palm City seems to be a nice and colorful Neon City, with cheery skies and neat traffic to go with. However, things get insane in the night with street racers and the PCPD giving each other a headache.
  • Cut the Juice: Killswitches from Payback return, and the PCPD is not afraid to use them against you. Like how Rav fitted the countermeasures on Tyler's car that counter the killswitches during the Outlaw's Rush, you can actually fit an active "Killswitch Jammer" auxiliary item which can counter the killswitch in a similar vein as countering the EMP in Hot Pursuit and Rivals.
  • Darker and Edgier: The game shows a mixture of this trope and Lighter and Softer, the former when compared to the rest of the series and the latter when compared to Payback.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: 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. It's also justified that Lucas managed to salvage your car and completely restored it back to the way it originally was.
    Lucas: It's okay, I managed to salvage something from what you brought in.
  • 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's Better with Flamingos: Neon flamingos are everywhere around Palm City. It becomes a collectible by driving through them, which was lampshaded by the player while talking to Lucas about this trope.
  • 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!
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Most of the time, this got 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 "shitshow". Eventually some crewmates would also say "bullshit". More vulgar words like "f**k" are the only ones not said so far.
  • 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.
  • Interface Screw: Damaging your car will cause the HUD to briefly glitch out, as well as the background music distorting.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Derelict and abandoned cars from Payback return as standard cars from the dealer. And since all cars can go above the 400+ rating, these cars can humiliate even the top-notch supercars!
  • Marathon Level: The Discovery Events. Three night-time sprint events that give you the highest rep possible. And after finishing Discovery A, the next event (Discovery B) is just right ahead of you 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 in no time.
  • Neon City: Palm City shows this style, especially so at night, with predominantly light blue and pink neons that give a strong Synthwave-esque vibe.
  • 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 rapidly refills the nitrous, once activated.
  • 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.
  • Pimped-Out Car: Returns as usual. And apart from wraps, parts and vanity items, you can even customize the exhaust sound! Zigzagged since some of the cars have no body kits, and can only change the wheels, colors and wraps such as the Ferrari Testarossa, Porsche 911 GT2 RS and the Nissan GT-R Nismo.
  • 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, you're on your own. Especially when you're being chased down by the cops.
  • 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.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Downplayed. If you engage a police pursuit, regardless whether day or night, you can immediately bribe the cops 5,000 (10,000 at night) so they won't bother you for reckless driving. For now.
  • 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 the customizations, however. Also, not all the parts and vinyls in the app are in the full game.
  • 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.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The BMW Z4 M40i, which probably made it into the game due to it being co-produced and sharing the same platform as the 2020 Toyota GR Supra. (which they currently couldn't get the rights for).
  • 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. Especially ramps that jump over the water.
  • 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 the Forza Horizon seriesnote  and The Crew games.

    Story Tropes 
  • 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.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lt. Frank Mercer is already done for and will not see anymore illegal Dirty Cop 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 have fun in their future events together, with Lucas deciding to join and return back to doing 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.
  • Book-Ends: The main story starts a breaking news flash with Lt. Frank Mercer giving a Rousing Speech on how to end illegal street racing. The same does at the end with the now Lt. Eva Torres.
  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Ana and Lucas. After another fiasco of Ana with the Camaro, this lead with her and Lucas estranged. At the end, both finally reconciled and Ana finally deserves the reward of driving the said Camaro.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The classic yellow Chevrolet Camaro from earlier when the player arrives 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 getting furious for Ana's actions.
    • 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.
    • 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 roots supercharger Lucas has been working on. It belongs to their late father's.
  • Chronically Crashed Car: With the Camaro. Twice. Repairing it must be a tiresome chore for Lucas.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Joe, and by association, his Polestar 1.
  • 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.
  • Frame-Up: To exploit Frank's covert wrongdoings, even if he's a Reasonable Authority Figure, Ana steals his laptop and have Lucas upload them to the local news media. All this while Ana is driving and the player protecting them from the cops.
  • Get Out!: At the end of the prologue, Lieutenant Mercer berates Joe to leave Palm City along with his crew and never return.
    Mercer: You... Get out of town. And if we see you or any of your Crew 'round here again... you're going to be joining that car. You understand?! Get up. Go tell your friends.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: During the official reveal trailer that was voiced by a Spicy Latina. Which is the voice of Ana Rivera.
    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.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Like in The Run, 2015 and Payback, many of the characters look accurately as their portrayers. For example, the face of Lt. Frank Mercer looks exactly as the actor, Josh Coxx.
  • Involuntary Group Split: 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!
  • Jerkass: Frank's sidekick Shaw, eventually kicking Joe for losing his car. Frank himself is also one.
  • Stealth-Based 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 or Tyler, Mac and Jess, your Player Character can actually talk. Different genders and ethnicity offer different voices of the character you picked.
  • Thanking the Viewer: After the completing the main storyline, you will be greeted with a BEMANI style ending line.
    "Thank you for playing!"


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