-by Logan Witt Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
is a racing game where you can play as cops and wreck racers or play as racers and try not to get wrecked by cops. I really would love to say a lot more about that, but that's more or less it. I'd love to be able to give a full review, but there's not really all that much to expound on, but I'll do what I can here.
During the racer "missions" (scenarios, whatever you want to call them) you have one, obvious objective- finish first. Sometimes they add in police that can deploy spike strips and roadblocks, but their presence isn't all that pronounced, even in the later, more difficult scenarios. The AI also isn't all that bright, but the biggest disappointment from something that was billed as an NFS
game that played like Burnout
is that it doesn't really play like Burnout
. As a racer, when you hit other racers you get the sim effect of slowing down and grinding against them; nobody goes flying, nobody does spectacular flipping and exploding wrecks, even the turbo hardly feels like turbo.
Though in contrast, during the police missions, when you take out the racers they do sorta slide around and do flipping crashes...if you wreck them sideways at precisely at the top of a hill. The weapons that are at your disposal as a cop actually kinda suck, to be honest. The spike strip is a waste of time because as soon as you get in front of a racer they hit some magic warp strip that slings them a few hundred yards past you (no joke); the roadblocks are set up with a beyond obvious hole near one edge or the other, and even crashing through the police SUV's doesn't seem to damage or really slow anybody down; the helicopter is supposed to get ahead of the racers and drop a spike strip for them to run over, and while I'm in favor of the spike strips being noticeable, the flashing lights make them too obvious and they're also far too narrow (they would've worked better as part of the roadblocks); the EMP works as a kind of front-facing cannon that has to take a second to lock-on, but it only does minimal damage, not making it worth the effort.
There is an attempt in variety with time trial missions, but so much as brushing the wall costs you 2 seconds while you're expected to keep a constant breakneck pace. And there are two kinds of racer busting missions, one type has one car with more health and a slightly enhanced AI, the other type packs a field with 4 or 6 cars with slightly less health and slightly less intelligent AI. Not really a whole lot of mix-up, and the actual racing is fairly standard fare, no crazy Burnout
-style catch-ups possible with ridiculous takedown bonuses or screen-melting turbo.
The visuals are nice, but that's just not enough with games anymore. The audio is generic and forgettable, not adding anything to help you feel the pressure of hunting down a speeding Corvette or running from a black-and-white Viper. There is an inclusion of a snapshot function to take a picture at any time by clicking in the right stick, but the delay is too long (I had an awesome shot of busting somebody by powersliding into them and took the picture right when it happened, but the image showed him already slid down the road and my cruiser straightened out; bummer). They also include the EMP cannon and spike strip as gadgets during racer gameplay, and while the EMP cannon is still fairly pointless, the spike strip is slightly more effective.
The much hyped Autolog function is something that didn't add anything for me. The idea is to set up competitions and beat the records of your friends, assuming you have a bunch of people on your friends list who were also playing Hot Pursuit
. I don't, so I didn't really get the full-effect of the feature, but I'm sure it's nice for groups of friends who like to one-up each other. Hot Pursuit
isn't a bad game, it's just not what it was billed to be. It doesn't have the Burnout gameplay style that was constantly promised, the Autolog function is only useful for people who have plenty of friends to compete with, and the gameplay itself was the epitome of mediocre. Criterion didn't deliver on all of its promises, giving us a pretty racing game that didn't do anything really interesting or amazing. The cars are cool, and they look great, as do the environments, but it's kinda lost in the banal gameplay. Score- 6.5/10