Published on November 17th, 2010 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Review
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
Release Date: Nov. 16, 2010
Developer: Criterion Games
Platforms: Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PlayStation 3, Wii, PC
Criterion Games has done it again. I am not one you would consider a fan of racing sims, or driving games in general, but I did enjoy what Burnout Paradise had to offer, and since it’s release in 2008 I was always curious as to what game they would work on next. Upon hearing that they were working on a Need For Speed game, I became instantly excited, and again I am not one to get excited about racing game. Especially when it comes to the Need For Speed series. Wit the Burnout feel added to the formula, Hot Pursuit is an adrenaline pumping racing game, that always keeps you on the edge of your seat.
You are on the island of Seacrest County, where driving at 200 MPH is not a rarity. Cops are equipped with the state of the art gadgets and yes, exotic cars. Race or chase in BMW’s, Lamborghinis, and Porches. Racing each other, and out-running the cops before they bust you is the name of the game here. Of course with Criterion at the helm, there are plenty of crashes to behold. The effects are awesome, and have a-lot of resemblance to Paradise. Crashing slows down the camera so you can get a solid look at the carnage, and earn a ton of points. You can also drop Spike Strips, call in helicopters (if your a cop), shoot EMP’s, and call in roadblocks (again, if your a cop) to end the “Hot Pursuit” and bring justice to Seacrest County.
Hot Pursuit is a very simplistic game that does not feature a tacked on, worthless story line. You drive Seacrest to win races, out run cops, run motorists off the road, and crash to increase your rank. You earn points, which they named “Bounty” to unlock new gadgets, new areas of the Seacrest map, and of course Cars. Each car in Hot Pursuit is designed for different events and driving styles. For Example, if you are planning on ramming racers off the road, and want to take them out by inflicting enough damage to them, either the Dodge, or Bentley are very successful. They can control quite well, and can withstand a lot of punishment. If you are racing against other drivers, and are looking to drift and turn frequently, you may have success with the Porche, or Audi. Remember each car functions better on certain game types so keep unlocking to find out which car better suits your needs. If you want to know what it feels like to be a celebrity car collector, this game features the worlds most exotic cars, but fine tuning them can not be found here. There is no garage to customize your cars, you select which car you want to drive, choose your color and go. Keep in mind that this is not a racing sim, just a pure action, racing game.
If you were a fan of Burnout’s open world driving that Paradise had to offer, you will not find that here. This career mode is much more linear, as in Hot Pursuit you pull up the map, choose an event, and after a small cutscene you are in the event. You can alternate between a racer or cop at will, and is pretty straight forward. Racer, races and tries to beat the other racers and not get busted by the cops, and the cops, well you get the idea. If you would like to just cruise around the beautiful city they have designed, you can do that. Choose a car and cruise to see new areas you may have unlocked, or simply just give that new car you unlocked a test run.
The world that Criterion had crafted is a beautiful landscape. It feels like life itself is just moving along when you are in a race or pursuit. Weather can change, and yes weather effect do change the course of how you drive, time cycles are in. Race long enough it becomes dark. The buildings all look authentic and when crashed into, break like you would expect them to.
You will have an arsenal of weapons at your disposal when you take on the racer or cop, and yes they differ. When racing you start with two EMP shots, two Spike Strips, one Turbo and one Radar Jam. As a Cop you are equipped with three Spike Strips, two Road Blocks, three EMP shots and one helicopter. You use these weapons to crash the racer, or cop cars to get them off your tail. Not one time did I feel that one weapon over powered the other, and I am glad that Criterion balanced these out prior to its ship date. EMP shots and radar jam can be deadly when performed correctly and can be a race changer.
The Autolog feature in Hot Pursuit is an interesting and unique way to keep the NFS community close and your friends up to date on whats going on. Your stats will be compared with your friends list, and other players you run into in the online portion of Hot Pursuit. Friends can upload pictures they have taken of cars they unlocked and drove (there are achievements for this with certain cars), and you can see how you stack up against your friends list in rank. Want to know how their story progression is going? Just look at the stream from the start menu of the game. You do not have to browse different menu’s or other options. Just look at the live stream from the main menu. A friend of yours beat your time, and yes that has happened to me (TWICE)? Autolog Recommends will send you a message, showing you what your friend had done, and if you choose to, can go straight to the event and win your record back.
Hot Pursuit was a blast to play, and not just because of the crashes, races, and cop pursuits, but because this game is full of adrenaline. When I play a racing game, I want it to keep me on the edge of my seat, and get me angry when a stupid driver doesn’t get out of my way when I’m trying to hit 200 MPH on a straight away. This has been the NFS game I have been waiting on for a long time. Join up with 7 other friends to race and chase each other, makes for one fun night, especially when alcohol is involved. Criterion added a layer onto the series that I hope they continue to build on for years to come. I know in Paradise we got loads of DLC, and I just hope that they build up the DLC library for Hot Pursuit as they did for their past game. If your looking for a slid, action racing game, this is your Holiday #1 pick. NFS is back, and I for one am truly happy. Thanks Criterion!
[xrr label=”Rating: 8.5/10″ rating=8.5/10]
+ Awesome Multiplayer
+ Autolog is an awesome feature
+ Crashes are amazing to watch
+ Cop and Racer Pursuits or pure fun
+ Balanced Weapons
– Some Slow Texture loads
– Repetitive Career Mode