Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit online review
You’d think with eight players almost breaking the sound barrier as they streak through the gorgeously rendered highways of Seacrest County, Hot Pursuit’s servers would feel the strain. There’d be a bit of lag. A connection failure or two. Yet in more than 20 hours of blistering multiplayer, none of that happened.
Need For Speed online is smooth, responsive, insanely fast and – quite how Criterion has managed this I don’t know – makes the single-player version feel like a test drive in a banged-up old Volkswagen.
Inevitably, some comparisons will be drawn between this and Criterion’s other tyre-melting racer. Yet for all its pomp, Burnout Paradise is a far more diluted experience than Hot Pursuit. Yes, tearing through Paradise City is a blast, but the vast open-world playground means that interactions with other players are scarce.
Here, every event is a breakneck battle of streamlined brilliance that’s more akin to the weapons-based antics of Blur – only tighter, faster and more likely to end with molten bits of Lamborghini on your windscreen.
Hot Pursuit mode is the main draw. This four-on-four, police-versus-speed freaks frenzy is superb offline, but against human opposition the intensity is multiplied tenfold. As a racer you’ll need to plan when to use your limited weapons supply carefully, and constantly keep an eye on the rear view mirror to avoid being turned to metal mulch by your pursuers.
In addition to spike strips and EMP missiles, which the cops also have, you get access to a radar jammer and a single shot of turbo. Making these count is crucial to success. Playing on the right side of the law is also rollicking good fun – deploying a helicopter to set up a road block before careering into straggling drivers never gets old.
It’s a finely balanced set-up and ensures that, no matter what team you’re batting for, you feel confident in your machine’s abilities. Unlock some of the sexier vehicles as you progress through the ranks and you’ll find races become truly spectacular affairs – think The Fast And The Furious meets World’s Scariest Police Chases. You’ll be left with a fun-filled grin plastered across your face.