Review: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

THE CANNONBALL RUN GETS A SMACKING FACELIFT

Developer(s): Criterion Games, EA Digital Illusions CE
Genre: Racing
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Release Date: November 16, 2010
Compatability (PS3): 4MB Mininum Space | DUALSHOCK 3 Vibration Function | HD 480p / 720p / 1080i / 1080p | Network Players 2-8
Compatability (Xbox 360): 1.3MB Mininum Space | HDTV 720p / 1080i / 1080p | Online Multiplayer 2-8
Rating: 8.7

Since the words where whispered in the wind this game has been hotly anticipated throughout 2010, and throughout the release of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, it seems to be dealing well with all the hype. EA Canada started this ‘cops and robbers’ ball rolling all the way back in 1998 with the original on PlayStation 2 and Xbox format. A fantastic idea, simple in design and concept but expertly captured for a game of its time. Rightly so the game spawned a sequel in 2002, like most realised concept franchises, there was little need for a major overhaul, just a little tweak. To this day it still holds a place as one of the best retro getaway driving games on any console, until now.

With the help of modern day next gen equipment and HD format with 142 inch TV walls, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit still attains the same principals it did over 10 years ago, the format need not change, who doesn’t enjoy playing a criminal in a criminally priced, horribly coloured car driving through lush scenery with spike strips in his weaponry? No? Really? Well Christ, of course you do! The game thrusts you straight into the fictional luxury island known as Seacrest Country (did they need to get his permission for that!?) and segregates the island into a whole host of different tracks, all playing in one run, over 100 miles of point-to-point action, which creates a much better feel than several laps of a tawdry track. Whereas the previous title gave you a little glimpse into ‘being the cop’ this new titles puts both police and getaway car careers parallel to each other, giving you the choice of which to pursue, side by side, throughout the game.

Ian seemed to miss the obvious police road block at the scene of a 54 car motorway pile-up.

So we begin with the naughty getaway career man, or to everyone else ‘racer’. Like with most progressive racers, you will be brought up slowly, easy and quiet sparse races at first, all split into categories (as with the police career) such as ‘race’ which puts you against several other cars with no weapons, ‘duel’ which puts against one equal car, but the real meat here is ‘hot pursuit’ which combines all elements of the game. You will not have the full itinerary of weapons at first; they will be gradually unlocked and painfully explained to you in pointless cut-scenes that cannot be skipped! I mean, who hasn’t used a spike strip or an E.M.P. device before? Seriously! There is no monetary value for completing objective based races so you can buy new cars and upgrades, more on meritocracy. You complete the course within a certain time frame, based on gold silver and bronze times, then the more cars you unlock. This adds a nice replay element as the single player career already boasts 15 hours of game time.

On the face of it, the Police interceptor side of the career would not be anywhere near as fun, but due to the developers being from the insane Burnout series, only LA Police have seen more brutal days like this. As with the ‘racer’ mode, there are several different game modes. Yet again the majority of action lies within the ‘Hot Pursuit’ mode where you will be tasked to bring down around eight criminals in one run. Your vehicle comes fully equipped with all the gadgets under the sun; road blocks, helicopter backup, etc. Seems you’re only missing missiles and ninja ropes! The main crux is to use these as aids to be able to shunt, smash, shatter your criminal into tiny little pieces within an allotted time in order to claim a potential gold medal prize. The mix of these two really adds to the overall dynamic of the game.

Word hadn't reached Seacrest County's police force about public spending cuts.

Everything within Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is based around a central hub known as Autolog. This acts as social network device for online players, and also tallies your wanted record and police record as you progress through both careers. Autolog has been described as Facebook for the game. Players can post records, achievements and photos on the Autolog feed for Xbox Live friends to see, which they then can try to beat, while achievements are also based around this aspect of the game in order to make it competitive, this adds another aspect of replay value to the game.

All in all, nothing too disappointing here in the next gen version of a classic title. The only main concern here, as with many of our modern games is, the fact you will need to be online on either console (PS3, 360) to explore the majority of the game features. Even if Autolog will (just like dammed Facebook) suggest friends to you in a slightly cringe worthy fashion, just in case only a few of your friends have the game and are online. The other major issue here, as with a more increasing number of modern day games is the distinct lack of a split-screen multiplayer. It seems more than obviously that cops vs. robbers split-screen would be beyond a shoe-in. Alas no, it seems the increased notion to be as anti-social as possible is to the social game players detriment and EA’s gain as more revenue is increased through network play, ultimately the most upsetting part of NFS: HP. Not to end on a sour note but this aspect of most game needs to be addressed or we will never step foot out of our houses again. NFS: HP offers much more than this in terms of a racer, it mixes the elements of previous Burnout games with the addition of hot pursuit franchise. Driving feels responsive, races are intense and deafening, content is enough to keep this game ticking over for quite some time. If only Fast and the Furious was this entertaining …

Reviewed by andrewhunter316 – February 16, 2011

Graphics
Great attention to detail on car models, even large pile-ups and road blocks does not slow the game engine down, Seacrest County backdrop is amazing.
 
Sound
Clichéd rock soundtrack aside, when the dramatic orchestral score is introduced at points it adds another dimension of tension, turn this up to eleven and the crashes will feel like they’re in your front street or at least that’s what the neighbors will think.
 
Fun
I cannot stress enough how desperately this is lacking a split-screen multiplayer. But regardless this is a mesmeric pick-up-and-play arcade style cops and robbers aesthetic fest that, with additional DLC, will have you coming back for more way into 2011.
 
Final Score

 

Responses

  1. Another well written review, a great help when I am buying games for my grandsons.
    Keep up the excellent work Mr Hunter!

  2. I haven’t had as much fun driving 200mph whilst trying to avoid the cops and crashing my pristine Pagani Zonda into mates cars since those hedonistic days as a teenager in downtown Carlisle. Nice review

  3. Really in depth review. Covers all aspects of the game and makes me want to buy a really expensive car and smash up some cops!!!!! Coming to think of it, that could possible be a bad effect of this review.

  4. Totally agree the lack of a split-screen multiplayer spoils this otherwise fab game! Another informative review


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