Need For Speed Hot Pursuit
Hail to the NFS King!
Posted 2 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
Despite seeing Gran Turismo 5 finally hit store shelves on November 24 (no, really!), 2010 has not been an incredible year for racing fans. Whether it’s a sequel to a critically acclaimed series or a brand new intellectual property, all racing fans want is to feel the adrenalin flow through their blood vessels and go straight to their hearts. The kind of feeling that has your eyes glued to the TV, not blinking, while white-knuckling the controller as the next corner rears up. The last time I’ve felt that level of passion was with Need for Speed SHIFT. But that feeling happened again when I played Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Criterion Games’ take on the classic title of the same name, at last June’s E3.
Sure, the place was noisy, filled with excited journalists and gamers, but most people knew that EA was striking gold with this brand new NFS game. Think about it: the most popular Need for Speed game meets Burnout Paradise. Anyhow, I’ve spent the last week cruising around Seacrest County with the coolest cars a guy can ask for and even though there are a few things that didn’t please me much, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is still the most amazing Need for Speed I’ve played in years. Yes. YEARS.
As previously mentioned, Hot Pursuit takes place in the fictional city of Seacrest County, a place where speed racers rule. The constant competition between them has led the county’s law enforcement department to create a special police road-force tasked with stopping the reckless driver insurgency, by any means necessary.
Players can take the role of a relentless racing outlaw or as a daring SCPD enforcer. In Career mode, each side has its own set of events to complete. The Seacrest County map will show a preliminary list of unlocked missions at first with both SCPD and Racer missions specially marked. Hot Pursuit allows players to jump back in forth between careers. Once an event is chosen, (depending on who the player wants to play as) a list of in-race achievements will be given. Complete missions under a certain time frame or race to the finish line without getting caught by the po-po in exchange for bounty points. Make your way through the missions and new ones will become available.
There’s a level progression beneath each career as well. Cops begin as a Rank 1 newbie while Racers have a non-existent wanted level. Career advancement will give each side access to high performance cars. As players increase their bounty points and progress in their respective careers, special equipment will also become available.
Each piece of equipment will become an important part of your driving skill set, either to evade pesky pursuers or catch felons. SCPD drivers will get to set road blocks, spike trips, call helicopters for back-up and even shoot electro-magnetic pulses for slowdown tactics. Racers on the other hand, can jam police radars, use turbo and also set spike trips and shoot EMPs. All I can say is that this weapon component adds an extra layer of heart-pumping depth to an already emotionally engaging experience. These perks can be seen the same way as those in BLUR, only less Mario Kart-like and much more interesting. Each event has a certain number of each piece of equipment based on the wanted/rank level and the event’s conditions. How to manage them in race is completely up to the player. Alongside the equipment, each car comes with the good old Nitrous. Racers will see their Nitrous level increase while driving dangerously or wrecking cop cars while Cops’ Nitrous will only charge while driving fast or busting racers.
Even though the Career mode carries a solid variety of missions to complete, the heart of NFS Hot Pursuit lies in a suite of online-enabled features called Autolog, where players connect, compare and compete with their friends either via Xbox Live or Playstation Network. Sharing a similarity to Facebook, players can comment on virtual walls, chat with their friends or other Hot Pursuit players, post in-game pictures and even post gameplay performances from within the game. But wait, it goes further than that. Autolog also keeps track of the player’s achievements in real-time (both during the career and online modes) and post them directly to the player’s friend network, creating a dynamic and socially competitive experience.
Of course, in order to enjoy Autolog at its fullest, friend lists need to be jam packed with Hot Pursuit players. However, interactivity with the community via matchmaking is well present and the chances of seeing your NFS Hot Pursuit network increase are rather high since the game also friend suggestion feature. Yup, just like Facebook. Should you not have your console connected to the Internet, Autolog will automatically be relayed to second place (i.e. the functionality will not exist.) The offline career is rather long but once you’re done with it, there’s nothing else to do. We’re aware that online features have become omnipotent in the gaming industry and we know that there’s folks out there that simply do not care for online connectivity. Mind you, what Criterion Games is giving offline, is no different than any other arcade racer out there so getting the best bang for your buck will rely heavily on the connected features.
On top of Autolog, Hot Pursuit packs a competitive multiplayer mode that supports up to eight players in Racer/Cops events. No offline split-screen however, but I think some gamers have grown accustomed to seeing this option overlooked by racing studios. Agree to disagree I guess.
So the offline career mode has its appeal. Autolog is extremely addictive...but what about the rest? Well, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is a beauty to play, listen to and watch. Seacrest County is one massive open world with breathtaking scenery and long roads that are made to be driven at high speeds. The latter can also be tricky however since traffic, road blocks and shortcuts will force drivers to push them to rely on sharp-edged skills at any given second. And when the climatic music starts playing in the background, especially during cop chases, Hot Pursuit becomes simply amazing. Whether its a Porsche Boxter Spyder or a Lamborghini, the driving mechanics are responsive. As for the physics and the handling, we can all agree on the fact that you don’t play a NFS game with hopes to find a Gran Turismo/Forza styled experience. Here, its all about putting the pedal to the metal and rave about driving these exotic cars. Cars are highly detailed and so gorgeous that it almost feels bad to see them crash and roll. However, there’s one thing that lacks in Hot Pursuit: a cockpit view. I loved the way SHIFT played in this particular view and it would have been fabulous to see it here. Maybe next time?
In times where discussions over “perfect scores for perfect games” come around every day in the game reviewing world, I have to say that Criterion Games not only reinvented one of my favorite and unforgettable franchises but created the best “near perfect” arcade racer while setting the bar high for any upcoming arcade racer currently in the works. Kudos.
Now, what about SHIFT 2 Unleashed?
+ Great sound (both cars and soundtrack)
+ Interesting career mode...
- Favors connected players
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Release Date : 2010/11/16
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Developer : Criterion Games
Category : Racing
ESRB : E10+
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10