The Need for Speed series holds some fond memories for me; it was the first racing series I really got into, and NFSII remains one of my all-time favorite titles. Hot Pursuit 2 was great on the PS2, so I’m happy to see the return of the sub-series (the name “Hot Pursuit” actually debuted back in 1994). This one is being developed by Burnout gurus Criterion Games, which seems like the perfect marriage on paper. The end result should be an absurdly polished, white-knuckle adrenaline rush that’ll sustain even the most die-hard racing aficionado for hours and hours. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit will be a big holiday title, loaded with interesting single-player and online modes, what is being rumored to be silky smooth gameplay, and some seriously beautiful supercars. They may not be quite as meticulously designed and detailed as what we’ll see in Gran Turismo 5 , but the media for EA’s latest is pretty damn impressive.
You can expect some of the most capable, agile cars on the planet to blister roads with mind-bending speed and impossible maneuvers. Criterion is destined to make all the cars respond to the lightest touch, which means that while you really won’t be restricted in any way, you’ll still have to employ a deft touch. With the exception of last year’s Need for Speed: SHIFT , the NFS franchise has always been all about arcade-style racing; if you’re looking for a simulator, don’t look in this direction. But what you will find in Hot Pursuit is an unbelievable sense of speed and danger – you’re on the very edge of disaster at all times – and some of the most eye-catching and visually appealing backdrops you’ll see anywhere. The roads and courses are usually fictitious in nature but so what? They’re so amazing that you’ll often veer off the road when caught gazing at a particularly spectacular view.
We’ve heard of one course in particular that spans more than 11 miles in the Sun, Sand and Supercars event. It’s modeled after the Pacific Coastal Highway, which means you’ll pass everything from spectacular ocean glimpses to breathtaking mountain cliffs; the environment really won’t get boring. As for the racing itself, that nitro boost so familiar to Burnout fans will be included, which will only serve to enhance the arcade-y feel. And of course, the ability to either choose to be the runner or the chaser sits at the core of the experience. Some erroneously believe the cops are at a disadvantage but they’re thinking in realistic terms…in reality, the police don’t have Pagani Zondas, Ferraris, or Bugattis at their disposal. In Hot Pursuit , they do. On top of which, they have air support in the form of helicopters, plus remote-activated tire-popping spikes that will spring up directly in your path.
So don’t you worry about a lopsided battle; it’ll be pretty even. We like the idea of the new Blacklisted mode, which will test your fleeing ability to the max: it’s a point-to-point race and all you gotta do is finish, but the further you go, the more cops will be alerted to your insane driving. Lastly, we have to mention another Criterion bonus: the developer’s social networking service known as Autolog, which catalogues the accomplishments of your Friends and models events around those achievements. You can bet that a game like this is likely best played with a group of people (or at least with a friend), although we’re definitely anticipating a fulfilling single-player experience. Criterion always gives the gamer his money’s worth, right? And given their track record concerning downloadable content, this new racer is probably another game that will continue to grow and expand a good long while after it releases.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit will launch on November 16 in North America for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.