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Need For Speed Hot Pursuit Review

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is a reboot of its namesake from the good old Playstation days. A return to the simplistic idea of you vs. the law, or its flip-side you vs. those pesky kids and their heavy right foot.

Set in the fictional haven Seacrest County, racers from across the globe are bringing the worlds most exotic and expensive cars to the peaceful coastal roads, forest tracks and mountain trails. To combat this Seacrest County Police Department seem to have gained the funding out of the pockets of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs combined as the SCPD also have access to a range of high speed vehicles tailored for one job only; shutting down the racers with extreme prejudice.


NFS: Hot Pursuit allows you to jump into the action of both sides of this argument, letting you progress your street racing career along with your SCPD campaign in seamless parallel. Each race or call is shown on an overview of the County so you may pick and choose at will. This freedom of choice keeps the single player experience fresh as you're not locked into one side of the struggle for your entire career.

There are various mission types within both careers of Hot Pursuit ranging from a simple single manufacturer race, time trial in a loaned supercar/police hypercar to the all out battle on the roads between the racers and the fuzz. This latter mode will give the most intense races in the game as the AI street racers aren't slouches by any means, they will push you to the finishing line, couple that with the interceptor teams hounding your tail lights, avoiding road blocks and spike strips or evading the SCPD helicopter it's guaranteed to get your pulse racing.


Once you've completed the missions you'll be awarded bounty, the games variation of XP, as you progress in the game earning more bounty you will gain access to even more exotic supercars to play with while levelling up your wanted level or police rank. Starting off as a street racer gives you a bit more of a desirable car than what the police offer, I mean Porsche Boxster Spyder compared to a Ford Crown Victoria patrol car? No contest! But it's not long before you see some serious horsepower decked out in SCPD colours, including the legendary Bugatti Veyron 16.4.

The real action however is found in Hot Pursuit's online mode, randomly dividing the eight players into teams of four and placing them on opposite sides and let them loose in Seacrest County. Racers are armed with spike strips, EMP's, jammers and turbo boosts while the SCPD also get spike strips and EMP's but replace the other two options with road blocks and the aerial support which conveniently enough flies in front of the racers to drop spike strips.
Though if you miss with your gadgetry then you can resort to good old brute force and ignorance as you ram your Pagani Zonda hypercar up the exhaust pipe of that Dodge Viper that you've been chasing to result in one expensive repair bill.


To ensure that the game modes have that extra spark, the team at Criterion have created the Autolog, a complete social media tool that grabs your friends list from your system, tracks their times on the game, allows them to post on a wall their achievements or particularly gratifying wins, and also informs you when your times have been beaten, suggest challenges for you to complete based on your friends and generate an overall leaderboard for you and your friends to compete in. It will also suggest people based upon your level of gameplay to join with to expand your network of racers.

This system gives you that all important extra incentive to go back and replay old races in order to get that fastest time or extra bust, all in the name of waving your e-peen in the faces of your peers. It really is an awesome inclusion to what could have been an average racer, that looming notification informing you that a time was smashed by your friends just pushes you to get that little extra more from the car.


Seacrest County itself spans quite an impressive area, while the missions are linear and only go on select sections of the County, you may jump into a free drive behind the wheel of your favourite car and just cruise around the lush scenery. However this is where I feel the game misses a trick, you see there is no sandbox style world at play here, you can't just drive around then find a race, or have a call of some foul play in free drive mode which would have been an awesome inclusion. Imagine if you will, you driving around in your patrol vehicle to suddenly get a call of a street race that you need to shut down, or you roll up to a set of traffic lights and there's your rival next to you which sets off an epic race, it could have been that one aspect that would have taken this game from the realms of good to great.

Nevertheless Hot Pursuit is a good game, the overall visual quality is top notch, the damage on the very very expensive cars look great, there's something satisfying about viewing a broken up Lamborghini Reventon after you've slammed into the back of it. The scenery of Seacrest is varied however the roads you race down can at times seem a little bland, even with the shortcuts hidden away, but the speed you race down them at times makes this little grumble irrelevant as you'll be through it in a blink of an eye.


The weather effects are very nice indeed too, wet weather causes spray to be thrown up from the cars in front of you, along with altering the overall road handling of the cars, making it very difficult indeed to keep an eye on them while in a slipstream, also needing cat like reflexes as the spray makes perfect cover for spike strip deployment. Head up into the mountains and you'll get snow covered peaks with the occasional snow drift flowing over the roads impairing your visibility, factor in day and night races and you have a very atmospheric ambiance indeed.

Now it's not all good news with NFS Hot Pursuit, realism fans look elsewhere as the car handling is firmly pointing to the fun side of things, tapping the break to induce a drift around the corner then using nitrous out of the bend, it's all about action rather than precision. There's also only a limited number of camera views in this game; chase cam, bonnet cam and bumper cam, so it's a tad disappointing that there is no cockpit view in the game.


Also the more casual racer may find it tough to win the races or get that gold medal/distinction as some of the missions have such a fine line of execution that the tiniest mistake could cost you the top bounty award, also shortcuts are a necessity in some races to just catch up with your opponents.

Make sure you read the mission parameters before selecting your car too as at one point I was trying to chase a Subaru Impreza on a dirt track using a rear wheel drive Nissan 370z.
Also whoever chose the soundtrack to the game needs to be shot, the selection of driving music on offer is quite poor indeed and is best turned off in our opinion.

Overall Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is a very admirable reboot of the series, while some aspects are disappointing, the game takes you on a thrill ride in the struggle between street racing and the SCPD, certainly a title to take pride of place in your gaming collections.




7.50/10 7½

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (Reviewed on PlayStation 3)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is a reboot of its namesake from the good old Playstation days. A return to the simplistic idea of you vs. the law, or its flip-side you vs. those pesky kids and their heavy right foot.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Neil 'Wedge' Hetherington

Neil 'Wedge' Hetherington

Staff Writer

A purveyor of strange alcoholic mixes and a penchant for blowing shit up in games. Proud member of the glorious PC master race.

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