Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Review

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Another Need for Speed game. What's in store this time?

Basically this is a game of cops vs robbers with cars. Each has tactics and weapons at their disposal. Cops have spike strips to slow down those behind, can call air support or roadblocks for those ahead, or cause electronic damage. Racers have the same spike strips and electronic damage weapons, along with turbo boost and a radar jammer.

There's some strategy involved too. Yeah in a racing game. Weaving in and out of traffic, trying to maintain speed in the high speed races. Drifting to go faster in tight corners. Playing dirty to win. Or when to follow instead of lead in races where weapons are limited.

There are a few race types, with pursuit is by far the most frantic and fun of them all. It's quite satisfying to chase down those pesky evasive cars, take them out, and watch a quick cutscene of the victim car being totaled. FATALITY. The others are more usual fare races racing against an individual car or a group, from one place to another, or laps.

The races that I felt were a total drag were the police preview and racer time trial courses. Both are the same type of race - just go from one place to another as fast as possible with a time penalty for hitting anything. And you're forced to complete it in order to unlock further races.

Graphically, the environment was great, lots of very pretty backdrops, from ocean views to snowy mountains. Races take place in the day, at dusk, and at night, with rain at times. High speed runs have that tunnel vision feeling of everything flying by. Seeing the police lights all around in the night is a great effect. Oh and those cars, did I mention the cars look great?

There's a wide variety of cars, ranging from your typical street cars from Nissan, Mazda, Ford, and BMW to ultra exotics from Porsche, Pagani, McLaren, and Koenigsegg. Even unique manufacturers like Carbon Motors police cars are in here. It's awesome enough to drive something like a Lamborghini Reventon. It's double awesome to hunt down criminals in the same car with the lights flashing and sirens blaring. It's too bad you won't need to drive all of them, as each unlocked car is usually better than anything you've previously drove.

On races where you are a racer and police are involved, the police cars sits on the side of the road waiting and light up as soon you roar by. I had a strange feeling of virtual deja vu when seeing the exact same thing in real life. First immediate thought: ****! Next immediate thought: where's the nearest shortcut I can use to evade them?

Overall, it's a pretty good game, addictive especially in the beginning, when new tracks and cars and weapon upgrades are constantly being unlocked. And you have your achievements to go for if you're into that sort of thing. But it slowly becomes repetitive and a grind to keep advancing. It's a refreshing take on the Need for Speed franchise, with the game being made by the same folks at Criterion who developed the Burnout series. Hope they do more in the future.