Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit review

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

Perhaps the biggest difference between Hot Pursuit and Burnout is the lack of a takedown mode. Instead, the new game’s fighty fix comes in the shape of the titular Hot Pursuit events, which are fast and finely balanced games of cat and mouse, as played out in growling streaks of polished metal. We’re essentially talking about weapons-based car combat but, like the rest of the game, in a refined and balanced form.

Cops and racers share the EMP – a targeted burst of energy that knocks cars off their stride – and tyre-busting spike strips, left in the road to disrupt pursuing vehicles. What shapes the races are the mutually exclusive weapons – the cops’ road blocks and surveillance helicopters, and the racers’ jammers and turbo boost.

It’s a tight setup, enabling the police to throw obstacles in the path of escaping targets and at the same time helping racers to avoid and out-pace those obstacles.Plus weapon quantity is limited so, come the business end of races, timing your last jammer or road block becomes huge.

It’s furiously fast, with a streamlined tactical edge that nails the game’s central cops-versus-racers premise.

What we’ve played of the online works well, too. Straight races and hot pursuit events can be played real-time against other racers, but the focus is on the game’s autolog system, which tracks on- and offline race times among your friends and displays them next to events on your main map.

It’s another step back from the intricacies of Paradise, but looks to replace the open-ended antics with a compelling and user-friendly high-score trading mechanic.

Hot Pursuit is a big success. It’s a huge return to form for Need For Speed, based on a move back to the building blocks of what’s always made the series so compelling.

As a super-slick arcade racer, it’s the obvious next step for Burnout fans – it would be wrong to conflate the two series, but as much as this is a Need For Speed title, it’s also a Criterion title, bristling with their trademark touches. It’s also essential – go and buy it now.

Our Score

Score: 9