I really didn’t expect to be writing this post until Spring, as I had heard at IAAPA that the latest arcade entry for the Need For Speed series likely wouldn’t be shipping until that time. Turns out that development was much closer to final that expected as I have confirmed with manufacturer Adrenaline Amusements that the standard version of the game is shipping now. In case you are an op who ordered one already, it might be good to check with your distributor (unless they told you its on its way already). In case you want to visit Adrenaline’s page for this one, click here; Note that in Europe, these are being sold by Bandai Namco Amusements Europe.
In case this is the first time you are hearing about this, NFS Heat Takedown is a highly modified version of Need For Speed (NFS) Heat that launched to consoles not long ago. Changes have been made to better fit with the needs of the arcade, making it a more streamlined experience. I also have to mention another reason you’ll want to play this on an arcade cabinet in case you’re thinking “well that’s on console” – the sound system on this is the best out of all the racers that I played at IAAPA, and there were quite a few. The base effect+surround was done much better than you usually find in a racer and that alone makes for a fun and more unique experience than you get with racing on your couch or even a gaming chair at home. The rest of the cabinet is cool too, it using an LED billboard as the marquee as a kind of wink at what Raw Thrills did with Fast & Furious.
Graphically it is hard to say who, out of everyone at IAAPA, had the best look. NFS is certainly a top contender in that regard, although it is possible that F&F is doing more since it’s actively driving the render on 2x 4K screens and keeping that at 60fps. Still, this game is no slouch in the visuals either, which is always nice to see in our market since arcades aren’t leaders in looks like they used to be. (Note that this video below is horribly compressed from nabbing it off of Facebook – that and it seems that the software was an even earlier build than what I played at IAAPA. I can guarantee that in-person, this game looks better than this when you’re playing it on a real cab):
Also note that this is not the only cabinet model. A deluxe version with motion has been seen on test recently, so depending on how that does, you might be able to grab that soon as well.
This does create an interesting issue with the industry though – as you might have noticed, two other racers were just announced as shipping too, both from Sega (Storm Rider 2 and Drone Racing Genesis). With Fast & Furious Arcade and Asphalt 9 Legends Arcade VR also having begun to ship a few months ago, this means that us arcade operators have a lot of choices, which is a good thing – but chances are that we’ll only be buying one of these (unless a site is working on opening up for the first time and they’re buying multiple games as a part of their deal). I always want to see everyone in the biz succeed but when so many games of the same type become available, it’s reasonable to assume that something (or a few) will fail. Still, I think where much of it will fall down to is the pricing. From what I’ve heard, this one is competitively priced – I know the distributor cost although I’m not sure what distros are quoting out there. It’s a bit lower than I had expected however – I had been thinking it would sell around $20k a cab but it sounds like they’ll go for under $15k per unit (maybe closer to $12~13k). That’s higher than pre-pandemic times of course but given how many games out there are selling close to or above $20k now, I think it puts this one in a great spot.
If you’ve already played the arcade version of NFS Heat, what are your thoughts on it? Where would you rate it against the other racers out there right now?