If your love of racing games took you to the acclaimed Need for Speed Heat (a.k.a. NFS: Heat), then we’ve got everything you need. Here’s how the game works, what you can do to get the best stuff, and what tricks will amp up your gameplay. We’ll cover all the important stuff so you can get back to racing at top speed.
Need for Speed Heat Summary
Heat is a recent Need for Speed game, released in 2019 to general acclaim and widely believed to be a step up for the series. It’s also the last racing game that creators Ghost Games created before EA gave the Need for Speed license to another studio.
While Heat embraces many racing game tropes, it does stand out in several ways. There’s a fully realized story mode, and a number of collectibles to get while exploring the city’s open world. Players have the option to switch between a day mode and night mode at will, with different activities and risks in either.
The game is available for a number of platforms, including PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.
Need for Speed Heat Premise
Heat is about a lot more than just racing, with a number of new concepts and activities to keep players entertained. You’ll be doing a lot more than building out your garage and tricking out your rides…although there’s plenty of that, too.
The game takes place in the fictional Palm City, which has an interesting duality. Instead of night and day cycles, players can choose to race in either the daytime or the nighttime. Each offers its own rewards and two important types of currency.
During the daytime, players can race in official events around the city. Races can take place in a wide range of landscapes: When players place well, they win cash. Cash is the currency used to buy many important things like cars and more garage space. There’s no danger in taking part in daytime races, just the chance to get rewards.
But when players switch to the night mode, they have the option to participate in street racing. This is much more dangerous, because it raises the threat level from a squad of semi-legal officers trying to take down street racing. Build up enough threat or “heat,” and these cops will chase after the player even during daytime races. Get caught, and players typically lose their cash and get a major setback. However, street racing has big advantages, too. If you complete a race, you can earn REP, a special kind of currency that you can use for more specific upgrades and boosts you wouldn’t find in any daytime shops. You can also get REP from successfully escaping a chase and reaching a safehouse or other secure location.
And, of course, you can collect cars. There are around 127 cars available in the game from over 30 different brands. Notably, fans will love that Ferrari returned to the game after its absence. But getting cars are just the start of what you can do. Loot boxes are no more, and rewards are far less randomized. Players will be spending their time on a variety of activities like:
Taking on drift zones: Certain spots in Palm City are drift zones where you can test your drifting skills. Do a great job, and you can earn rewards.
Finding Graffiti: The city is filled with different kinds of Graffiti. Locate them, and you’ll unlock that Graffiti as a potential style upgrade for your vehicle.
Smashing stuff: Smashing things can unlock a surprising number of rewards! If you crash into flamingos, they’ll unlock a bit of currency bonuses. Meanwhile, smashing billboards has advantages too.
Beat speed traps: Try getting the highest speeds possible when blasting through a speed trap.
Do jumps: Certain locations are made for jumping. Jump as far as possible, and you can get rewarded for it.
Joining a Crew: Heat is also a social game. You can join a Crew, which is similar to a clan and includes leaderboards to compete on, among other examples. Around the city, you can find time trials that show what different people on your Crew have scored for a short race. Climb the leaderboards for trials like these, and you can earn additional rewards. Of course, social activities like this will require online subscriptions for a console.
Need for Speed Heat: Main Characters
Heat does have a storyline you can follow, although the campaign isn’t necessary to enjoy the game. If you play it, you’ll run into notable characters such as:
Frank Mercer: Mercer is the leader of the High-Speed Task Force, the somewhat dubious clan that’s determined to arrest all street racers in the city. He’s working with other officers like Shaw and Eva Torres to track down and stop races, as well as impound the vehicles of anyone involved. With a little bit of digging, the player soon finds out that Mercer is much more of a gang leader than any sort of city employee.
Lucas Rivera: This friendly mechanic used to run street races, but is opting for an easier life these days. Since the player is new in town, Lucas is happy to teach them the basic and introduce them to their first big race.
Ana Rivera: Lucas’ sister Ana used to run with a famous crew. However, Mercer and his thugs almost killed one of the crew, and the rest soon gave up on racing. But Ana’s not ready to quit, and she wouldn’t mind a little vengeance, either.
Need for Speed Heat: Games in the Series
There are a lot of NFS games — around 24 at the last count. So instead of listing them all, we’ll mention of few of the most important titles that are related to Heat:
- New for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010): This game was developed by Burnout creators Criterion Games and one of the most acclaimed NFS games, winning Best Racing Game in that year’s Game Critics Awards and similar titles. Criterion Studios would eventually take over the franchise once again after Heat was released.
- Need for Speed: Most Wanted: This follow-up to Hot Pursuit focused more on the action and ditched more of the story focus of the previous game.
- Need for Speed (2015): This was a broad reboot of the series that re-imagined the racing game for the modern era. Like other NFS games, it had more of a focus on the story than other racing games, and a number of different modes to try to complete the campaign.
- Need for Speed Payback (2017): This game featured three different playable characters and introduced a night and day cycle.
- Need for Speed Unbound (2022): Criterion Studios returned to the franchise with this game, a sort of mini-reboot after NFS: Heat. It introduced new art elements with graffiti-based cell-shading effects to give the game a very unique look while keeping storyline elements.
Need for Speed Heat Cheats and Codes
Lots of progression Heat is locked behind your REP level. Increasing it will unlock a ton of things you’ll want, including vehicle models. But you’re probably looking for faster ways to get things done. There are a few glitches and other options that can help!
Reset Your Rechargeables Like Nitrous
The game has a few rechargeable items, the most important being your nitrous kit for max boosts while racing. This only lasts for a brief time before the tank runs out and you’ve lost that advantage until you can end the race and recharge. However, on original platforms the game has a glitch that you can use to get more.
Make sure you have at least two nitrous kits in your inventory. One you’ll equip on your car, and the other (it doesn’t matter which) you’ll keep in the inventory. Use your nitrous during a race or other activity, and when it’s almost out, hit your pause menu. You should have an option to head into your vehicle’s specifics and switch to a different nitrous kit. Switch it once, and then switch back again to your original nitrous kit without leaving the menu. When you exit back out, your tank should be full again. This glitch still appears to be working in 2023 on consoles, although it may not function on PC.
Do An Infinite Money Glitch
Earning money from races is really fun, but it also takes a lot of time. If you have your eye on some vehicles you really want to purchase, there’s a way to get a lot of money very fast. It’s going to take a little work to set up, but it’s very effective.
First, head into a game and choose the day mode so you can visit a dealership and purchase a car the legitimate way. You’ll want to purchase the most expensive car you can find for this trick, so grind out some races if necessary.
Once you’ve bought the car, send it to your Garage, and fast travel to the Garage to take a look. Check your Showcase and make sure that the new car is set to appear in the Showcase — this part is important to the overall plan.
Here’s the hardest part: Temporarily disconnect your internet so you get a “connection lost” signal. That’s easiest to do on PC with a button or flick of a switch. It’s harder on console where you may have to manually disconnect or shut off your router.
With the internet down, sell the new car to get your cash back. Then make sure your internet is back up, head to settings, and choose to go online again.
Shut down the Heat app completely at this point, then log back in. You should notice an “item system synchronization error.” In this case, that’s good news. Start a game again, and you should see that your car is still sold and you still have the cash for the purchase.
Disconnect your internet again and start it up again, closing out and opening to get the “synchronization” error. Every time you get this error in Heat, it should add the value of the sold car to your cash supply. You can repeat it over and over to keep adding cash and get as much as you want.
Download a WeMod Mod to Deal with Annoyances
Mods can be hit or miss for games like these: Some are just advertised as a way to sneak malware onto your device, and many don’t work at all, especially under EA’s watchful eye.
However, WeMod in particular offers a mod that’s relatively stable, well-reviewed, and still appears to function like it should. If you want a significant cheat option, this is the one to try. The mod can enable several different, powerful cheats, including:
- Freezing all AI vehicles. Obviously, this makes it easy to win races in solo mode.
- Don’t take any damage. Vehicle damage can slow you down and eventually lead to you losing a race or getting caught. This cheat is handy for mad dashes away from the cop gangs.
- Don’t generate any heat. Great for enjoying night mode without any consequences.
- Unlimited money and unlimited nitro. Pretty self-explanatory!
As always, the caveats for using these mods all apply. They are only available for the PC version, so if you play on consoles this isn’t an option. Mods can introduce game-breaking bugs and may brick your game. While mods may work in the past, there’s no guarantee they’ll work in the future, especially if they are intentionally patched out.
Invest in Some Time Savers
While Heat doesn’t have any traditional loot boxes, it does have important add-ons including time-savers. If you prefer to play Heat without using any glitches or mods but still want an edge, these add-ons are invaluable.
The DLC you’ll specifically want is called Keys to the Map. It’s available on the official store for a few bucks, and gives you a big advantage without ruining any progress in the game. This adds an overlay to your in-game map that shows you…well, everything. That includes all collectibles, the locations of all activities, every gas station for recharging , and all safe houses.
That’s an immense advantage for players who are first starting out. But if you’ve been playing for a while, the difference is minimal, so make sure you really need it first.
Need for Speed Heat Cheats FAQ
Below we’ll go over several questions that many gamers have about how NFS: Heat works and specific questions about the useful tricks above.
Is There an App for Need for Speed Heat?
Yes, and it’s actually a lot of fun. There’s a Studio app that allows you to get new vehicles with timed deals, and customize your cars on the go. You can look at and change anything in your Showroom, including adding new content that you get from the app. When you are ready to complete your changes, you can push your customizations into the Heat game, where they’ll be waiting for you the next time you play. There’s even an augmented reality mode to mess around in.
Does Need for Speed Heat Have a Cheat Code Menu?
No, it doesn’t. Some past Need for Speed games did have an in-game cheat menu right in the settings. This allowed you to enter a number of codes to get vehicles, turn on cheat modes, and so on. That can be frustrating when you look up NFS cheats and find a bunch of lists that don’t apply to Heat at all. Stick with the methods we mentioned above for the most reliable ways, and don’t expect in-game cheat options.
Are There Car Mods for NFS: Heat?
Yes, if you look you can find some car mods for Heat to add vehicles to the game. However, our warnings about mods remain. They aren’t always reliable, can create bugs in the game, and may be patched out via updates. They’re also only available on PC. Plus, EA may ban you if it detects that you’re using a mod in multiplayer modes.