Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Review

When I heard Criterion Games was going to be working on a Need For Speed title, I was a little apprehensive. That was until I saw gameplay at Electronic Arts’ E3 press conference. Now with the title in my hands and a lot of time spent on it; I can say that Criterion really knows how to make fun driving games, when they are focused on their strengths.

Hot Pursuit is a mixture of the knowledge that Criterion has on intense racing with spectacular crashes combined with the focus on miles per hour of the Need For Speed series. The title mixes the two in a great way while introducing an online component that works well to create a bigger experience than just a simple single player mode.

Hot Pursuit is two sides of a coin, allowing players to work up the experience ladder as a pursuit police officer or illegal racer. Both play the same, only the police have the jobs of stopping racers and racers are just trying to get to the finish line. While the police have tools to combat against the racers; Hot Pursuit also gives the racers some tricks to get to the finish line while taking out some police.

The title has an incredible mix of realistic visuals combined with action movie cutscenes. Featuring licensed cars, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit gives more of real life sense because all the cars used actually exists. They drive different, handle different, and are easily recognizable. It’s easier to choose between a Dodge Charger and Audi than two “similar” cars of the same style. Name recognition helps a lot with choosing which car to use in different circumstances.

Even though the title takes place in one area, there is a lot of variety in the tracks that are used, but most of the time is spent watching cars ahead or behind; so the actual landscape is only useful in not hitting concrete objects and crashing the cars.

The different mission modes earn experience which level up players’ opening new cars and tools. The better placement in missions gives more experience along with the social aspect of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.

The social aspect is the consistent competition that players can have with friends online. Bonus points are given in missions for being at the top of the charts compared to friends creating a much more social gaming experience. The Autolog of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit keeps track of many things so getting friends with the title opens up the world dramatically.

A simple issue with the title is the necessity of the speed laps or “Preview” missions. It’s understandable the are necessary for experience and using new cars; but they don’t have the same impact as the races of the police and racers.

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is an incredible racing title. With Criterion behind the scenes, it’s more of a Criterion title with the Need For Speed name caging some of the extravagance that the developer uses. The focus of being more social works well for a racing title, and it looks like the Autolog might wander into other racing titles as well under the Electronic Arts banner.

A great racing game though the post-race statistic screens slow down the action.

Review Copy Provided by Publisher