Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Review (PS3)
Need For Speed lost its spark. The series tried hard but kept coming up short. And when it was announced that customization did not exist in NFS: Hot Pursuit, dreams were crushed.
But now it is safe to say that, even without the option to paint your car blue, NFS: Hot Pursuit has brought back the series better than ever. And this time you get to choose who you are: racer or cop.
Choose Your Side
The main pull for this title is the choice you must make. You must choose between being a racer and being a cop.
Okay, so you don't have to make a choice, you have to be both to beat the game. But both types of events, whether you are a racer or cop, are entirely different. It really feels like there are two separate games in one.
You gain "bounty" as a racer and a cop, and this bounty will increase and grant you more cars and events. The bounty levels range from one to 20, and in order to get all the way up to 20, you will have to play online.
There is also a Free Drive available in Career mode. All this mode does is let you drive around and get used to cars. Honestly, the game would be the same without it.
Catch Me If You Can
During part one of the Career mode, you become a racer and make it a top priority to become the biggest thorn in the side of Seacrest County's finest. There are different types of events you will have to conquer that range from a normal race to a time trial to simply avoiding the cops.
The game really finds itself once the cops enter the fray. In a Hot Pursuit event you and other racers will be vying for first place, but at the same time you will need to avoid being busted by the cops. Your car will be loaded with weapons to help you battle the cops. Those include EMPs, spike strips, a police jammer and a turbo boost. Each weapon has its own advantages, but you must use them at the right moment to really see what they can do.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
During part two of Career mode, you get to buckle up, turn on the sirens and enjoy the life of a cop. You also get to enjoy driving the most exotic patrol cars you could ever imagine.
Similar to the racer portion of the game there are the typical modes to complete. The time trials are you getting to the scene of a crime as fast as possible, and there are preview races where you drive cars you have yet to unlock. But once again, just like being a racer, the fun does not begin until the cops and racers unite.
Hot Pursuit as a cop is by far a better experience than as a racer. Having to bust seven racers is a daunting task, but it feels good when the last one goes down. You are also equipped with weapons like the spike strip and EMP, but you are also in control of calling in helicopters that will drop spike strips for you. And of course the infamous roadblocks have returned.
The other cop game is called Interceptor, a one-on-one battle with a racer. Chasing down a suspect is fun, but it does miss a little of the luster that Most Wanted had years ago. In addition, Interceptor is only available for cops, so you will not be able to control a racer in the same scenario.
Online and Autolog
Never before has a NFS game succeeded to the point where online play is where it makes its living. Now it finally has. Hot Pursuit is arguably the best racing game to make its way online. With Hot Pursuit and Interceptor modes at your disposal, you will find out how good you actually are at escaping cops or busting racers.
The online community is not that large, but there are enough people around to find a game within five minutes. And once you find a game you stick with the same group until people start backing out. Each race will alternate the players between being a cop and a racer, which gives everyone the ultimate experience.
Autolog is EA’s attempt at reaching out to the social media in our lives. And surprisingly enough, it kind of works. Sure people don’t use it like Facebook and Twitter, but the setup is brilliant to the point where it really would work if everyone played this game.
You have a "wall" to receive challenges from friends, and you can post on theirs as well. And each time before you attempt a challenge in Career mode, Autolog will offer you a challenge of beating a friend's high score; and if you beat it, you will gain a little extra bounty.
All in all, online is where this game really comes to life.
Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away
I don’t know if it is all racing games nowadays, but every single one I play seems to have fantastic graphics. NFS: HP is no exception. When you use your boost, or better yet the turbo as a racer, your car will get near or over 200 mph. Once you break that speed barrier the surroundings almost look unreal. Yet you can still see all of the detail, so it is almost like you’re going in slow motion.
The weather aspects in the game vary often, so the reactions the surroundings have with your car will be different every time. When the sun is shining bright, the glare will bounce off the car. When the rain is pouring something fierce, you will see your flashing lights reflect of off each little rain drop. Even when you drive through a tunnel with a cop in there, the entire place looks like a rave full of red and blue lights. EA deserves some serious props for keeping up with graphics.
I never thought I would find a NFS game better than Most Wanted, and I especially never thought the one that would top it would have zero customization, but Hot Pursuit has achieved the impossible.
Now it’s time for you to choose what you want to do. Do you want to enforce the law or would you have more fun breaking it?
On the Track: Controls are top notch and the variety between racer/cop keeps the game fresh.
Visuals: The climate changes are a breath of fresh air -- no pun intended.
Audio: Soundtrack isn’t too shabby, but you won’t notice much beyond the police scanner.
Entertainment Value: If you stay online, this game won’t die for quite some time.
Learning Curve: If you have played a NFS title before, you’ll be fine. If not, you’ll be fine.
Online: The bread and butter of Hot Pursuit.
Score: 9.0 (Exceptional)