This was suppose to be a NFS Heat review, but since I haven’t finished the game yet for reasons you’ll read below, I’ve decided not to make it a full review, but a rant about cops mechanic in the game that entirely ruined what looked like near perfect game…
I’ve been in love with the concept of racing and cops basically since the original The Need for Speed back in the early 90’s even though they only had to overtake you to bust you and that was it, the only mechanic in the game. I’ve played racing games a lot back then since 90’s were the golden era of racing games and the one problem they all had before and they still have to this very day if cops are not present is that they become repetitive and boring very easily and very quickly. It’s also one of reasons why I just never liked F1 games or “racing simulators” or quasi simulators like Forza, because they always end up being these dull repetitive real world circuits racing by holding same perfect line every lap, for 50 laps. Or whatever. Yawn.
Some time has passed and NFS3 Hot Pursuit arrived back in 1998 and that’s when EVERYTHING changed (now you know my fascination over NFS3). The game had amazing selection of sports cars and you could download more of them made by fans. Hundreds of them. It also had absolutely amazing circuit tracks with various elevation changes, shortcuts and were thematically unique. Countryside highways, futuristic cities, desert canyons, snowy summits, beautiful coastline cliffs in the sunset, the lot. And it also had cops. That cherry on top X factor that made game so diverse with every race I can still fire it up today and have fun with it despite knowing exactly how each car feels and handles, every corner of every track, but I never know where and how exactly I’ll have cops getting in the way, something no other game could offer before. When you learned other racing games, they became boring because you just drive the track in best line you know it works and other racers just weren’t a distraction enough to matter. But with cops, every race is just tiny bit different. You interact with cops at different points of the track, you interact with them in different ways and they used different methods, so while not a groundbreaking change to the concept of racing, they were this random modifier within the game that wasn’t a focal point and wasn’t absolute annoyance, it was just sort of there to spice things up. And this trend basically continued through out the NFS franchise till EA handed over development to their internal studio named Ghost Games. Apparently a team of game developers that hasn’t played a single NFS game in existence and develop NFS games based on description made by someone who also never played any NFS game. Coz they just feel exactly like that in the end.
When NFS 2015 was released, the “reboot” to the NFS series, there were cops in free roam. And I was excited. I remembered all the fun and exciting moments I had with NFS Most Wanted 2005 and NFS Carbon as well as many games before. Just to be let down entirely by how worthless cops were. I had a stock starting car and I could shake off cops in matter of seconds and as soon as you upgraded the car they were basically non existent. They hardly had any presence in races and they were so useless in Free Roam it felt like they don’t even exist, basically eliminating the X factor cherry on top, exactly what cops were suppose to be in the game. All they had to do is tweak few parameters about cops and it could be perfect. But they never bothered and just kept the game in its broken boring state. The game was so boring I never finished it. Guess who made it. Yup, it was Ghost Games.
Then NFS Payback was released. Again by Ghost. They didn’t even bother to have cops in free roam because of all the criticisms of worthless stupid cops in NFS 2015. They appeared in scripted races where their presence was basically pre-coded and when triggering “loot boxes” around the map. Otherwise they didn’t exist. Game was plagued by other problems like cars locked into classes and upgrading with absurd slot machine mechanic. I’ve finished it, but the thing was so forgettable and boring it’s one of the worse NFS games of all times.
People wanted cops in free roam for the next game after NFS Payback. And we demanded them to actually mean something, not like in NFS 2015. And Ghost Games being Ghost Games, they’ve gone totally overboard in NFS Heat (current latest NFS game released in Nov 2019), making cops these absurd absolutely obviously cheating god like fuckers that ruin the whole game because they’ve decided to make them a fucking focal point of the game. And I was like my fucking god, you morons don’t have the slightest clue why cops exist in NFS games. Focal point of NFS games should always be racing and exotic cars. Cops were always a thing in the game that was just sort of there that spiced things up and brought randomization factor. Not here. I’m 26 hours into the NFS Heat game and I currently have a 1000 HP Mitsubishi Evo X and apparently, that’s still not enough to actually even have any fun interaction with cops because they are so stupid overpowered they chase you at lightning speeds at only Heat 3 (there are 5 heat levels and 5th being highest) and these Heat levels seem to escalate too quickly before you can even shake off cheating cops whole games becomes an absolute god damn chore to play. And you need to go against cops during Night Time because that gives you REP points which you need to actually unlock higher tier performance parts so you can buy them with money earned during Day Time. So, you’re literally forced to do this chore of dealing with motherfucking cheating cops that are so freaking not fun to interact with. And to make matters worse, apparently when you upgrade the car to level 400 and above, cops become too easy. Or so I heard from others, it’s downright chore to play this game so I’m not in a rush to play or upgrade cars in it…
So, Ghost managed to create a game that’s dreadful to play until you get everything to a certain level and when you get past that level the game becomes boring. And there is this tiny window within the entire game where you have like 5% of actual fun coz then you soon have 400+ level car and it’s boring. And I can’t believe how they fucked up the game with 1 (ONE!) elemental rookie design mistake which they’ll never fix because they just playing don’t give a shit. Player car damage. Just this one single fucking detail in the game fucks up the whole game so badly it’s literally unplayable and considered anything but fun, hours into the game.
Currently, player has a limited health and if cops beat you enough, you lose health, get wrecked and as a result, busted. Which is a problem because cops feel and behave like you’re playing against a player online who’s not hiding the fact he’s using all the possible cheats that exist. That’s how NFS Heat cops feel like. Oh, you have a 1000 HP tuned Mitsubishi, pheeeeh, doesn’t matter, those shit ass Crown Victoria police cars can keep up with you easily. And so can higher heat level Chevy Corvettes, that on paper have up to 600 HP, but somehow keep up with absolute ease with a way more powerful car you have. Because they just so blatantly cheat.
And this cheating wouldn’t even be a problem on any level if you couldn’t get wrecked with such absolute ease. I’d even encourage them to be stupidly aggressive, at least it would mean you’d really have to try hard to evade them and since you’d not be limited by health, you’d at least try to work something out even if you were pushed around like a pinball. But not in this game. Health goes down and you just kept on getting busted. Game after game. To a point it’s just not even fun to even play it and becomes this thing you want to avoid. There is no thrill because you already know in advance interaction with cops means almost certainly you’ll get busted. Opposed to all the NFS games from the past where your chances of evasion were WAY higher although you could still get busted if you were stupid. But it was fine. Cops are meant to be the randomizing factor and something that spices things up, not something that sucks all the fun out of the game. And that’s exactly what they do in NFS Heat. They suck absolutely all fun out of the game.
To make matters further worse is how cops behave as whole. In basically all NFS games, if you were speeding, cops reacted to that. Here, you can drive 300km/h past a stationary or driving cop during Day Time and they won’t react. At all. During Night Time, you can do the same 300km/h thing past them and for as long as your Heat level is 0, they won’t react. Have just Heat 1 and they’ll go after you with entire arsenal of cheating bullshit tricks. I was like, hey guys, what’s the deal with cops not reacting and apparently, that’s “by design”. A design that makes cops not behave like you’d expect cops to behave. They are just there not doing anything unless you straight up crash into them. Which is basically never unless you purposely do it.
And what’s even more shocking is how every time you comment and criticize this absolutely garbage design on NFS subreddit, there are a always smartass morons who say “uh oh git gud and learn to drive noob”. Bitch, I was probably playing NFS games before you were even born and you’re gonna be saying this smug shit to my face? You don’t fucking have a clue what the purpose of the cops is in this game and you have no clue how good cops would and should feel like in the game. And I can tell they most certainty shouldn’t be this fuckery we have in NFS Heat. It made otherwise well designed game and turned it into absolute unfun (I made this word specifically for this game) horseshit.
And all because stupid Ghost couldn’t leave fucking player health out of the game that would ensure epic massive chases and doing so would eliminate cops being a problem with their absurd cheating. Hell, it wouldn’t even be a problem if they made them even more absurd at Heat 5 level just to keep things interesting long term.
I still just can’t understand how they fucked up NFS Heat game as whole so badly just by fucking up the design of cops. Graphics are amazing, the city is beautifully crafted, cars handle well and just feel good to drive and there are tons of them, sensation of speed is amazing , sound design is amazing and there is a lot to do on the map from collecting Street Art, collecting flamingos, smashing billboards, doing long jumps, there are alright races across different map even though Ai players suck pretty badly and they brought back normal car upgrading and tuning. It’s becoming a well rounded package at this point. And then they put these bullshit cops into the game and fuck it all up to a point it’s one of the worst NFS games I’ve played in my life because the fun factor is down in the shitter. HOW?! How could you people fuck up a game that could actually be one of the best NFS games in decades to a point it’s actually one of the worst ones of all times. You really have to commit and go out of your way to fuck something up this badly with just one aspect of the game that drags everything around it all the way to the bottom. And all this could be solved by either eliminating the player health or just make cops that are actually capable of being cops and not be this blatant obvious cheaters. And since fixing the second would require a lot of effort, removing player health should be the approach. But I already know for a fact this will never happen…