The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Taking the reins from longtime-NFS specialists Black Box, Burnout
creator Criterion brings its love of fast cars and intense action to
EA’s iconic racing franchise. Hot Pursuit’s most ambitious feature is
twin career modes that give players a chance to become either the most
notorious racer or most renowned cop in Seacrest County. Progression is
entirely in your hands, as you can dynamically switch from racer to cop
as desired, even allowing you to strike a balance between donning the
badge and defying it. This keeps the game fresh due to the diverse
events, weapons, and cars exclusive to each campaign.
Renegade racers test their grit in traditional races, duels, time
trials, and previews of hot new cars. Cop missions switch between rapid
response missions, tracking down renegade racers sporting powerful
sports cars in interceptor mode, and test-driving new vehicles in the
police fleet. Both campaigns feature Hot Pursuit mode, in which you have
access to offensive weapons and defensive equipment to use against the
lawless racers or law enforcers. Both cops and racers can deploy spike
strips and EMPs. For special abilities, racers have access to a turbo
boost and radar jammers, and cops can radio in a support helicopter or
police roadblocks. These tools add strategy to each race and make Hot
Pursuit, as one would expect, the standout mode in Criterion’s Need for
Evolution is constant in Need for Speed Hot Pursuit; the sense of
progression is pivotal in pushing you though more difficult missions.
Ranking up unlocks new events and vehicles or upgrades to your equipment
and weapons. Even if you don’t place, racers and cops are still
rewarded bounty for reaching driving milestones and for drifting,
drafting, near misses, and more. As a result, I never felt my time on
the asphalt was wasted.
The further your career progresses, it gets notably more punishing.
As a racer, cops get increasingly aggressive with EMPs and spike strips,
and often tag team and flank you. As a cop, racers become more erratic
and unpredictable, hitting the e-brake and abruptly changing directions,
or scrambling your radar and escaping off-road under the veil of night.
Thankfully, the difficulty increase never feels unfair. Need for Speed
doesn’t fall victim to rubber-banding and other problems that
consistently plague the genre. My placement was always tied to my skill
level rather than blind luck. The AI is intelligent, never drafting too
long behind you to avoid a blown out tire when you employ a spike strip,
and even falling back to let you crash through a roadblock and follow
in your wake. Even ambient traffic is realistically unpredictable; some
drivers stick to the course when you barrel into oncoming traffic, while
others panic, hitting their brakes and spinning out into your path.
Long after you’ve bested the campaigns, Hot Pursuit’s impressive
Autolog feature will have you revisiting Seacrest frequently. The
seamlessly integrated system facilitates intense and constant
competition, updating you when friends have bested your times. A simple
pull of the trigger launches you into an event to attempt to reclaim
your ranking. I fell into a habit of surveying my standings immediately
upon logging in and addressing any challenges before returning to my
Though Hot Pursuit impresses, minor annoyances appear from time to
time. Camera cutaways show the epic crash caused by your driving
prowess, but sometimes cut back to the road at a high speed with your
car aimed directly at a median. Sometimes direct hits to a competing car
don’t seem to register damage, which is especially frustrating when
getting in close proximity to the vehicle is a mission in and of itself.
While I wished the single-player campaign featured more
combat-intensive Hot Pursuit missions, multiplayer thankfully sates this
hunger. You can indulge in traditional races and one-on-one interceptor
missions, but the eight-player Hot Pursuit races are the star mode,
many of which devolve into utter madness.
To say that Criterion has successfully taken over the Need For Speed
series and reinvigorated it with a modern take on the Hot Pursuit
formula is an understatement. Fans of white-knuckle racing games, both
online and off, will find immense satisfaction on the roads of Seacrest