Scheduled release date:
November 16, 2010
Publisher:
EA
Developer:
Criterion Games
Number Of Players:
1-8
Genre:
Racing
Release Date:
November 16, 2010


Criterion Games is known for making some seriously high-octane racing games; you might’ve heard of them, they have “Burnout” in the title. Therefore, the combination of Criterion and iconic industry name “Need for Speed” has just got to result in a winner. Based on the playable demo currently on the PlayStation Store, we get just about what we’d expect: a super slick presentation, solid albeit not necessarily impressive graphics, and a lot of fluid, entertaining gameplay. The demo allows you to play as both the pursued and the pursuers; one event has you tracking down four speeders as a member of the law enforcers, and the other is a simple dash to the finish across a breathtaking expanse of the fictional coastal town of Seacrest. For the most part, this is a game racing fans will definitely want to play…as if that comes as a surprise.

I had wondered how they would approach the pursuit aspect (the other side is pretty straightforward) and as it turns out, Criterion implemented a damage system that is simple to understand: each of your targets has a health bar of sorts, and once that bar is entirely depleted, it goes down as an arrest. This means that you don’t need a flashy takedown to nail a racer, and you also don’t need to execute a drastic maneuver to finish off an ailing target. If there’s only a smidgen of energy left, even bumping that racer in the rear will finish him. You can use your own car and a multitude of what they’re calling “weapons;” in the demo, you have access to spike strips and roadblocks. You get three of each but be wary; you can nail the roadblocks too if you’re not careful. Also, it takes time for each "weapon" to refill before you can use it again, so strategy and timing are essential.

Thing is, you’re timed in the pursuit events (or at least, you are in the demo event). The faster you can take down the goal number of targets, the better your score will be. You can also increase your score by displaying expert driving skills, nearly avoiding crashes, hitting the top speed of your vehicle, and damage dealt. The damage modeling is pretty good; it’s well designed and detailed, even if a lot of the cars break up in the same way. Also, bear in mind that while a lot of the cars may feel and sound like their real-life counterparts, this can’t be considered a simulator. Criterion just doesn’t tackle such a style, and that’s fine. We’ll leave that to Need for Speed: SHIFT 2 and Gran Turismo 5 . Even so, the physics here do feel a little more realistic than what we had in any Burnout title; they feel heavier and more accurate in Hot Pursuit . It won’t take long to figure out, though.

The presentation is, as mentioned before, high-tech and all kinds of slick. You’ll be introduced to the Autolog, which acts as the central hub of all your NFS endeavors. This is where you can kick off your career, compete against others online, and compare top performances to those of your friends. The soundtrack really works as well, and those graphics are more than adequate. The visuals can be a little muddled, though, especially at night, and it can be tough to spot shortcuts (yeah, well, what else is new?). When it comes to a game like this, the question is simple: “will I have a good time?” Well, if you enjoy hot cars, a great sense of speed, and a robust gameplay structure that should satisfy both the single-player and multiplayer demands, than the answer is obvious.

Oh, I should add that having the “weapons” in pursuit mode really reminded me of Split/Second . Anybody else…?

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Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

I've always maintained a bias against the NFS series. Simply because I've always felt it was an overly-sensationalized and overly-exposed series by big cat EA who attempts to capitalize on the racing market as far as their budgeted advertising dollars will take it. To me, a series that's always had an orientation for heavy attitude and frills but it delivers lesser quality and un-even game design up against other, more higher rated racers on the market.

BUt seeing that Criterion is at the helm, I have more than a passing interest on this go around. From the demo I could tell inspiration has been drawn from something like Burnout, yet, not quite delivering a cookie-cutter-like experience with a different name. And thank goodness for that, I wouldn't want to see Burnout absorbed under the umbrella of the NFS games that get stamped out from factory in a seemingly annual fashion.

But regardless of this, I thought the demo played fun enough with some pretty solid cops and robbers play. Sucky that I can't access the other track, yet. BUt anyhow it's a definite bummer that Criterion opted out of 60fps and settled for half the frames(they've been going at 60fps for what seems like a decade). Fast-action racers like these I think benefit a lot from the faster frames.

Anyway, not a deal breaker but a let down. Sadly, though, I didn't think the game looked a whole lot better than Burnout Paradise from years ago. Which means something because it's an older game that also dealt with a huge city. You'd think for NFS it'd have freed itself up enough resources to make something look around GT5 quality, but at half the frames.. Anywho, just some thoughts of mine.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 10/27/2010 10:05:04 PM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

The lower frame rates does take something away from a game like this, it's hard to pin down though, precisely what goes missing.

Alienange
Alienange
9 years ago

Sounds fantastic. Glad to see not all developers are going the simulation route. Some of us just want to drive our friends off the road.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

…or shoot them from armed vehicles.. *thinks of Twisted Metal*

Nickjcal
Nickjcal
9 years ago

i have a little hope in the back of my head though they add like a hardcore mode where you have to stop them totally like in hot pursuit 2. That really creates the tension. Im not too fond of the health bar system its too easy imo. I like actually having to pull them over not destroy the car then have them arrested>

gangan19
gangan19
9 years ago

ahh yes! it seemed fun to play, I'm gonna get it when it's cheaper. i liked the driving a normal cop car, it was fun to be in crown victoria, bashing expensive cars

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

I totally love driving the Crown Vic Police Interceptor. It's like finally having payback time on all those annoying tuners that clog the roads at rush hour.

NoSmokingBandit
NoSmokingBandit
9 years ago

I'm really looking forward to this seeing as nobody has any damn idea what is up with GT5 *glares at Yamauchi*

gangan19
gangan19
9 years ago

just let the guy take care of what he thinks is best for now, you know what they say "good things come to those who wait!…

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

This was a maybe purchase and then GT5 was delayed – again. Now this is a D1P, and GT5 will arrive when it arrives.

NoSmokingBandit
NoSmokingBandit
9 years ago

I understand the delay, i just wish they'd give us some kind of new date. "Soon" just doesnt cut it, imo. As long as it is out by the end of the year i'll be happy, but i'd be much more pleased if they could give us a rough estimate.

daus26
daus26
9 years ago

There is nothing Yamauchi can do at this point. Everything is up to Sony now as they are the publisher so stare at them.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

I downloaded it last night and had a bit of a blast in it. It's difficult for me, because I see comparisons to Criterion's previous racer everywhere I look, but I enjoyed it, and I figure that the online play and full game will flesh out the bare bones we see in the demo.

I posted a review in the User Reviews section as well, since I'll be getting the full game when it launches, I'll do a full review then as well.

If you like racers with a dose of arcade fun and action, I think you'll like this, but if you really loved Burnout Paradise, you'll need to stop yourself from continually comparing the two, there's not point and it's not a fair comparison because the games go after two different styles of non-simulation racing.

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
9 years ago

I'm disappointed with the demo, the car feels heavy and I find myself driving in zig zag at times.
I expected a Burnout feeling but it plays nothing like Burnout.

If this is how the final version is gonna be then this will be a pass for me.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

It plays completely different from Burnout Paradise, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, just a difference. I do have my reservations about it, but it was a lot of fun being a Cop chasing miscreants.

gangan19
gangan19
9 years ago

yup i love bashing cars with ma crown victoria

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

As I said, this has some elements of realism in it. Certainly not enough to be considered a simulator, but you have to at least understand the subtleties of acceleration, braking and drifting, which you didn't QUITE need in the Burnout games.

And that's what I like about this game. It doesn't feel like an amped-up version of Rush.

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
9 years ago

But since this is Criterion and NFS, I totally never expected this kind of realism.

It kinda felt like playing Hot Pursuit with Pro Street steering.

With this, I highly doubt I can pull off that "Pit Maneuver" the Bugatti pulled off in the trailer which was totally awesome.


Last edited by Snaaaake on 10/28/2010 3:17:56 AM

StangMan80
StangMan80
9 years ago

I will diffidently download.
I will not purchase it for a while because of GT5. NFS:HP looks like fun, but all my racing needs will be fulfilled by GT5 for a lo-ng, lo-ng time.

GT5 should be coming out before December 2!

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

Cool, I D/Led it along with Blacklight Tango Down last night, but I didn't get a chance to play yet, but will do so within the next hour..

Hey Ben,
are you going to doing a preview on Blacklight Tango Down demo that went up on the store last night too???
BTW, I was waiting for a long long time for this title, but then was pissed to hear that it was only going to be a MP mode title.
But my long awaited curiosity got the better of me in the middle of the night so I wound up sneaking on-line & trying it out(yes, I snuck to try out some MP while everyone was asleep, LOL).

But this MP n00b didn't get too far in though, because the game kept jumping over to the save file all through my 20 minute play-through(damned timed trial demo's) with the message "can't save-corrupted file" or something like it, so I finally backed out & deleted it.

But, now looking back at it, last night was one super-gale force windy night & even though I have surge protectors on everything, my whole apartment still spiked twice, including TV(my PS3 & TV's on the same surge strip) while DL'img Blacklight.
So I think my DL most probably got corrupted, rather than the game itself going bonkers on me(at least I hope so).

Anyway, I'll probably DL it again to make sure, plus I still want to see what the game's like.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

I'll be reviewing Tango Down soon.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

Yeah, I know there are vast differences, but it sounds like a more limited version of Burnout Paradise with real cars. Not necessarily a bad thing, but nor is it necessarily my thing, and B:P was the only game besides GT5 that I ever preordered. Saying that might make some people believe that I'm some kind of racing game fiend, but that isn't true.

Eh, anyway, I'll see what the reviews have to say, but from where I'm sitting, it isn't looking too promising right now.
Peace.

___________
___________
9 years ago

really looking forward to this, spent 10s of hours a day non stop playing this as a kid so i can see this having the exact same effect on me!
been begging for years to get a new hot pursuit game, EA has FINALLY listened!
so, maybe, maybe………… NOW CAN WE PLEASE HAVE OUR BLACK TWO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BLACK = the best shooter to ever exist, so its only fair it gets a sequel!
crap like COD get tons of sequels, but gold like BLACK dont even get one!
wheres the justice in that!?

tridon
tridon
9 years ago

I played the demo last night. It was okay. With the cars available, I found the controlling was a lot more loose than the Burnout series. I personally wish they (Criterion) would've just stuck with their own franchise, worked on BLACK 2 or started a new series of some kind. I haven't enjoyed a NFS title since Hot Pursuit 2 on the PS2 so I think it's time to give the series a break. There's no need for yearly installments.

www
www
9 years ago

Still not even close to DiRT 2's fun and realism!

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

It's not supposed to be realistic….

city96
city96
9 years ago

My best time as a cop in the demo was 1.26
Shame no one can see it

I think a Burnout followup would have been more satisfying.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

city96,
Damn, that's hellified!

With a hundred miles clocked each on the on the Crown Vic & the Z 370, the fastest I've managed so far doing all 4 take-downs was 220.99.
(Have yet to try out the speeders mode though).

And I've been having trouble with the damned script being too small & very hard to read, so I haven't been able to find the instructions to figure out how to do the spike strips or to be able call in the roadblocks & helo either.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

@city

That's a fast time.

@Biker

Use the directional buttons on the controller, down does the spike strips, right calls in the road block, and so on. The demo only includes the spike strips and road block.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

That time doesn't happen with the 370Z, I don't think…not enough mass on that thing.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
9 years ago

Actually, that time does happen with the 370Z as that's how I got 1:26:00, the second attempt with the 370Z. Check my wall post. ūüėČ

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

Never mind. I never bothered to use spikes; I was testing other things.

G8GTdriver
G8GTdriver
9 years ago

The demo shows some promise. I haven't REALLY enjoyed a NFS game since Most Wanted. I played and liked Shift, but that was just a different beast than the whole series. Luckily my brother also likes racing games so he DL'd the demo also so I got to race in both races. I think we'll both be getting the game on day 1.

We both wish there was more to the demo, kind of worries me that the game it's self won't be all that long and we're supposed to spend more time beating friends times on the same races over and over.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

Thanks Highlander,
These ole weary eyes don't seem as good as they used to be….(chips instead of chicks, LOL)

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

Definite purchase for me. The demo was exactly like I thought it would it be, and that's a good thing.

My only complaint is that they should have allowed some open world drving.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
9 years ago

Yeah, we all wanted more from the demo but it's just enough to seal the deal for those of us that were interested. My pre-order was already in. Can't wait to get it.

nogoat23
nogoat23
9 years ago

"Not on my road, punks."

I haven't checked out the other race, but being the cops is certainly fun.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

Due to that Autolog system, the "speeder" mode on the demo stays locked until someone from your friends list goes over & plays the demo too.


Last edited by BikerSaint on 10/28/2010 7:05:04 PM

daus26
daus26
9 years ago

I'm definitely looking forward to this game, but with GT5 about a month away from this, I'm gonna have to wait on it. I don't think 60 bucks from this game will be worth the 1 month that I'll be playing it. Perhaps if it was 2-3 months before, I might go for it.

These guys at EA and Criterion should be fortunate that GT5 got delayed as it seems to be attracting new buyers that were going to wait on it due to the fact that GT5 was going to release before it. In a way, I'm happy for them.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
9 years ago

You could have pre-ordered it from Amazon and received a free copy of Need for Speed: Shift and a $20 future gaming credit. Plus, this game was available for $54.95 which would have saved you an additional $5 + tax (if applicable).

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

All they have now is the $20 credit, but it is a 'limited edition' which grants you access to special upgrades from the very start. I wish I'd got in earlier on the pre-order.