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Review: Needs for Speed – Hot Pursuit

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Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

So the latest in the Need For Speed saga has been brought to us by those geniuses down at Criterion, known best for their outstanding Burnout series.

The graphics are faultless, the music fantastic, but given their success, I find myself asking… could this really be Burnout: Hot Pursuit?

The awesome free-driving method of choosing missions isn’t there, a great feature in both NFS and Burnout so its strange that it doesn’t feature. Especially as you would have imagined that would be a core part of the police gameplay, hang around doughnut shops until someone races past, then jump in your Crown Vic and chase, a shame for sure.

nfs-hot-pursuit-screenshot-1The other issue which is apparent every time you load up the game, is that this is really an online-only title, on the main screen, 5 of the 6 buttons won’t work unless you’re connected to Xbox live, if you are looking for a great stand alone racing game, look further!

The “Career” mode is okay, but being able to choose cop or racer missions at any point is just strange, so you end up as a master criminal and a decorated cop at the same time?!

There are lots of useless cars thrown into the mix, possibly a side effect of them wanting to give you a new car after every single race… it’s okay guys, I can wait 2 races for a new car…

It seems strange that they tell you the prices of the cars, but it’s totally pointless as you have no concept of cash in the game. Also forget upgrades too, I suppose they do give out Pagani Zondas like they’re sweets, but that seems to miss the point somehow. Especially when the handling of all the cars feels very similar…


The Need for Speed series is one of the longest running franchises, and has gone through a variety of sub genres, from ambitious origins of bringing real simulation to an arcade obsessed genre, then moving towards underground/street racing where the paint job is the most valuable part of the car, and reputation is what is on the line.

Now it’s trying out the breaking “social racing” genre, with rivals like Blur showing that racing need not be about the nuts and bolts. Unfortunately, I think greatest social aspects around racing seem to rely on the nuts and bolts, trading setups, comparing racing lines and cars etc, are what draws people together where the competitive side is minor at least compared to the FPS games.

That said, Autolog sounds good, highlighting the achievements of your friends and making the most out of the competition. I can imagine if Call of Duty or Warcraft sent me messages every time a friend levelled up it would make it clear when I’m falling behind. The limited race options may not be a huge problem at the moment, but variety is the spice of life and it’ll take some kick ass DLC to open up this game to serious replay value, something which Criterion know about!

As such, this game has some fantastic ideas, playing as the police is brilliant, the sci-fi weapons like EMPs and portable spike strips hot up the action, and free practice for learning which shortcuts work is usually missed from arcade titles. However it’s a shame that the game doesn’t seem to have enough structure and so is little mileage in the singleplayer. But, if you’re looking for some different online action Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is well worth trying but don’t hold your breath!

Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC & Wii
Version Reviewed: Xbox 360
Release Date: Out Now

Review Overview: “A fantastic concept, developed by top developers and leading to a mediocre product”

Overall Score: 6.5/10

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 at 5:53 pm and is filed under Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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