Need for Speed Heat has a big focus on the difference between day and night (besides the obvious), each one affording the player new opportunities and new challenges. We’re here to show you how night and day works, how you can swap between them, and how to use them to your advantage for money and reputation.
What's the Difference Between Day and Night in Need for Speed Heat?
Need for Speed’s day/night cycle essentially breaks the game in two, with large portions of the game’s content made either accessible or inaccessible depending on the time. Some elements remain the same (there’ll always be billboards to smash, for example), but most of the game’s available races are either assigned to the day or night, each one offering different rewards.
All the daytime races are considered legal and legitimate in the world of Need for Speed, meaning that they come with big cash rewards, the roads should be empty besides for your opponents, and for an additional bonus the police won’t hassle you during a race. After all, this is (somehow) legal, even after ploughing through six stop signs and a storefront cafe in a single drift. The only problem is that no illegal street racing punks are going to be impressed by your law-abiding activities, so your reputation will remain at a standstill, no matter how impressive your win or how stylish your fuzzy dice.
When the sun goes down and the streetlights go on, everything changes. All the races you can go to now are considered illegal, and the roads aren’t going to be cleared, meaning that you’ll be weaving through pedestrian cars during your races as well as in the open world. You’re also practically guaranteed to be chased by the police in either situation, assuming that you crash or drive ridiculously fast in their presence (and this being a Need for Speed game, you’re probably doing both).
However, the rewards for completing races change at night. Considering that these races are basically illegal, unsponsored hobbies, there’s no chance of getting paid. Instead, your reputation score will go up, allowing you access to more cars, parts and upgrades next time you go to a garage. If you’re being chased by cops and manage to escape, you’ll earn a multiplayer on that score at the end of the night.
How Do I Change From Day to Night and Night to Day?
Just because the two periods offer different rewards doesn’t mean one is better than the other. You’ll need both to get anywhere in Need for Speed, meaning that it’s important to know how to make time progress. Unlike games such as Grand Theft Auto, the passage of time is not automatic and can’t be achieved by just waiting. Instead, use the map to find a garage or safehouse, or go through the pause menu by simply moving to the “Garage” tab and fast travelling there.
Once you leave the garage, you’ll be asked what time of day you want it to be. Once you leave, that won’t change until you go back there again. If it's the daytime, you can also go to night be entering the map and pressing R3 (though you can't go from night to day this way).
Now that you know the ins and outs of night and day, take a look at our guide on Palm City's police and how to stay ahead of them. Or you could go to our page on vehicle repair to see another example of something that changes during the night. And if you just want something a bit more colourful, we've put together a guide on how to unlock and look for Need for Speed Heat's many, many flamingos. Yeah, that's a thing.