The Need for Speed franchise has been successful at blending tense high-speed chases with adrenaline filled racing. EA took an unexpected turn with simulation racers in 2007 with Need for Speed Prostreet and in 2009 with Need for Speed Shift. I for one wasn’t excited about the change that was made to its popular franchise. I thought its future was in jeopardy. I’m glad to say that EA doesn’t disappoint with its latest offering in Need for Speed Hot Pursuit.
The game was developed by Criterion, the same people behind the Burnout franchise. It takes the game to its roots with nail-biting police chases, highs-speed racing and exotic race cars. You have 60+ cars in the game which are available to racers and cops. Some are exclusive to each side only. The game also features many power-ups. Some are exclusive to the cops or racers. Power-ups include spike strips, which are used by both cops and racers and activate a spike strip from the back of the car and lay it on the road, and EMPs (ElectroMagnetic Pulses) which are used by both cops and racers and can be used for taking down cops or racers, or for performing takedowns. Other power-ups include helicopters and roadblocks for cops and turbo and jammers for racers.
There is no storyline in the game. Instead, you compete in races in a fictitious Seacrest County. Its a battle of two sides: racers and cops. As a racer you want to win races while avoiding being busted by the cops and getting bounty. As a cop your duty is to bust the racers. The main aspect of the game is its career mode. You have time-based events in which you win the car if you beat the given time limit, winning races without being busted by the cops, competing in regular races, etc. You are awarded gold, silver or bronze based on your performance. You also get points based on your driving skills and the amount of bounty that you get for each race.
You unlock new cars and your wanted level goes up. You start off with a limited choice of cars, but as you progress you unlock more cars. More powerful law enforcement will look to take you down as well. You have a nitrous boost that allows your car to drive faster for a short period of time. The online multiplayer has a feature called autolog which puts you in the heart of the game. With Autolog, you can keep track of your career progression, personal best times and how they compare against your friends, look at game photos that you’ve taken, and you can even brag about great feats that you have accomplished.
The soundtrack is solid with great rock songs and adrenaline filled music during tense chases. The sound of the cars as they drive at high speeds is very pleasing. The graphics are top notch featuring very detailed car models and very nice scenery. The cars also take damage which looks very good. Its definitely one of the nicest looking racers to date. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is a solid racing game that deserves to be in every gamer’s collection.