Developed by Ghost Games, the title was announced in August to mark the 25th anniversary of the series.
It lets players participate in sanctioned races in the day or illegal ones at night, in a new open world setting called Palm City.
Ghost Games creative director Riley Cooper says: “At its core Need for Speed is about custom rides, adrenaline-filled races with cops and without them and showcasing the latest in car customization.
“With Need for Speed Heat we’ve dialed those core tenants up and dropped them into a vibrant new world.”
Need for Speed Heat review round-up
- USgamer (3/5) – “Need for Speed Heat is better than Payback, but since it’s two years later that still means it’s just… good. It’s a single step forward, when it needed to be miles ahead. Maybe next gen will be that step. A series with the history of Need for Speed deserves better.”
- IGN (8/10) – “While Need for Speed Heat feels a little more like a mosaic of existing concepts rather than something especially trendsetting, Ghost has certainly scraped these ideas from some of the most-loved games in the now 25-year-old series.”
- VG247 (4/5) – “For the first time in years, Need For Speed has remembered why people used to play it so religiously, and recognised the more recent elements that put them off.”
- God is a Geek (7.5/10) – “Need for Speed Heat puts the franchise back on the right track, but the various bugs and dull story means the series is still behind the pack.”
- Eurogamer (no score) – “This might still be a little way off of the series’ best, but at least Heat serves as a reminder of what can be so special about Need for Speed.”
- Polygon (no score) – “Need for Speed Heat feels so bland — an entirely enjoyable diner meal when I’m on the road, but nothing I’d take friends or family to.”
Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen said in October the publisher expects Need for Speed Heat “to perform similarly to previous titles in that franchise, with unit sales of three million to four million units”.