Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Review

A Greater Need

Although Need for Speed Hot Pursuit shares its name with the classic racing game released on the PlayStation and PC back in 1998 it's a whole new car chase. The new Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is developed by Criterion Games, the studio famous for creating the crash-happy racing series Burnout. Sure it might still have the same fast cars, reckless driving and power-tripping cops but Criterion has taken the much loved series from its straight roads and placed it in an open-world filled with other mischievous drivers and over-zealous law enforcers.

The friendly racer

The newest addition to the game is a Criterion's new 'Autolog' feature, an innovation that tracks and logs all of a player online friends, making comparisons between every aspect of your and their Need for Speed Hot Pursuit career. It then suggests what events the player should attempt next, spurring him or her on by letting them know that one of their friends has beaten their performance on that particular event. The Autolog also allows showoff racers to boast about their times and scores by sharing their 'dreamshots' to ignite rivalries.

Autolog allows showoff racers to boast about their times and scores by sharing their 'dreamshots' to ignite rivalries.

The Autolog is an extremely clever mix between a social network and a stat tracker, by monitoring performances it can suggest the ideal events for you to take on and can even suggest new friends that could provide a greater challenge. It'll be surprising if this feature doesn't show up in ever new racing game from now on - it's that good.

Hot Pursuit takes place in Seacrest County, unlike the densely-populated, twisty streets of Burnout's Paradise City, Seacrest has far more straights and lengthy curves for players to put their foot down on. The different areas of Seacrest County are also more varied than Paradise City, during a Hot Pursuit career players will drive through snow-capped mountains, forests, the countryside, deserts and of course urban freeways.

Drift away!

The structure of the city makes it ideal for frequently breaking the speed limit, weaving in and out of oncoming traffic and experimenting with recklessly dangerous drifting. At its heart though Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is a game of cat-and-mouse, albeit at breakneck speeds. Players will have to complete race events while trying to evade the police forces and their advanced miscreant catching gadgets. You can also choose to lay down the law and play as the Seacrest County's police force.

Police are equipped with state-of-the art vehicle-disabling equipment to dispense their own brand of high-speed justice.

Seacrest's police are equipped with state-of-the art vehicle-disabling equipment that they can use to dispense their own brand of high-speed justice. Racing as the police will give players control over 'stingers', spiked strips which are fired out from the car that will disable any racers behind, an EMP which releases a pulse to slow down any victims in front and also helicopters that can drop stingers. Since racers also have these, as well as the ability to boost catching a law-breaker will take skill, strategy and timing.

Full speed ahead

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is a cleverly crafter racing game, its innovative Autolog feature is wrapped up in slick visuals and the most satisfying racing gameplay since the first Hot Pursuit. It's hard not to get excited about playing a game that is essentially 'World's Wildest Police Chases' taken to the extreme and then just a little bit further. Though it's tempting to spend hours just trying to go as fast as possible in the world on your own, the online races are where the real fun is had. Playing against other players will require nerves of steel, smart strategies designed to deceive your opponent and a raw driving skill out-perform them.

Criterion's Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is a return to form for the series and is one of the finest arcade racing game released in years - don't miss this one race fans.

GAME's Verdict
plus points
  • Races are fast and furious.
  • Seacrest County is wonderfully varied.
  • Autolog is a clever new way to get rivalries going.
minus points
  • Not enough to do in the big open world.
  • More weapons would have been cool.
  • As would a few more car tinkering options.

Review by: Tamoor 'Speed Racer' Hussain
Version Tested: Xbox 360
Review Published: 17.11.10

Published: 17/11/2010

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