HEAVENS, isn't Palm City bright... for a minute I thought I'd accidentally downloaded GTA Vice City. Even at night – actually, especially at night – neon is right in your face.

Not that I'm complaining. At all, actually, given my apprehension in the wake of the last NFS title, Payback, with its dodgy handling and loot-box foolishness.

Heat winds everything back to basics, and is all the better for it. There's little story to speak of, but a decent prologue sets up just how much the local fuzz are desperate to rid the street of dirty racers such as yourself.

It's your general 'noob moves to the area and wants to prove himself' routine, and while the script and voice acting won't be troubling their respective categories in the gaming awards, it's a damned site better than the horrendous effort in Payback.

Racing is divided into two sections: night and day, which will earn you reputation points and money respectively. Need the cash? Take your wheels out in the day for legit races. Need the rep? Night hooning's your best option.

Get spotted by the police, however, and they won't let you go easily. Speed alone won't save you, generally some fancy driving is needed to throw them off, maybe even some judicious off-road grass-cutting.

All your cash will be put towards upgrading your cars, and improved rep will give you better races, earning more dosh. Thankfully Heat can be played both on and offline, so

There's not a lot more to it, to be honest, but what's there is polished enough. The handling is great, upgrade systems solid, and Palm City's open-world playground is a glorious setting with a decent amount to occupy one's itchy accelerator foot.