Bringing the Heat once again.
It is staggering to think that Need for Speed Heat - which skidded onto the PS4, XBox One and Windows last earlier this month brings up the 25th anniversary of the hit series .
The series has enjoyed its highs but has experienced some lows too over the years, but has Ghost Games been able to top gear with the latest iteration?
NFS Heat is set in an open world environment called Palm City, or to you and I Miami, Florida.
The environment features a wide variety of terrain from mountainous areas and open fields to long straight smooth roads.
Missing this time around is the 24-hour day-night cycle as players now simply switch between day and night. During the day there are sanctioned race events which see you rewarded with cash to spend on new cars and upgrades.
The game offers a sense of achievement that has been sorely lacking in many of the releases in recent years and the upgrade system opens up an Aladdin’s cave of customisation perks, options and incentives.Damien Lucas, gaming columnist
But the real fun is in the illegal street races at night, which earn you much-needed rep. The more rep you earn, the more aggressive the police will be during the night.
As usual your aim is to evade the police and get back to your safehouse without getting BUSTED or writing off your beloved mean machine.
NFS Heat also features a storyline mode in which the players interact with the city’s police force, led by authority figure Lt. Mercer.
Heat is certainly hot when it comes to choice and depth. The game features 127 cars from 33 manufacturers and the big news is that Ferrari is back after being absent from the last NFS - Payback - due to licensing issues.
I have been enjoying Need for Speed since the original The Need For Speed on the PlayStation in 1996. Going hell for leather in that black Lamborghini stole a piece of my heart and the thrill of the sheer pace and flips gave me some of my most memorable gaming moments.
Heat feels like a return to thos halcyon days. There is an ease with which you slip into things with Heat, whether you are new to the series or a hardcore NFS fan.
I much prefer alternating between day and night, rather than NFS trying to emulate the likes of Grand Theft Auto by trying to be too clever, it just sticks to what it is good at - RACING. The thrill is back and the satisfaction from evading police during a break-beck chase transported me back to my bedroom all those years ago.
It may sound daft but this time around Ghost really has captured the true essence of what makes NFS great, the speed. Not for some time has the franchise felt so quick and drifting is also on point.
The game offers a sense of achievement that has been sorely lacking in many of the releases in recent years and the upgrade system opens up an Aladdin’s cave of customisation perks, options and incentives.
It is not perfect mind. The actual driving model focuses perhaps too much on speed and drifting and offers a lack of real depth and responsiveness. There are some elements of grind too along the way. But overall a superb return to form for the series.