Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
‘Blues Brothers as imagined by Michael Bay’
The Gods of Nitrous and deformable car models have brought Criterion, the Burnout series’ developers, and the Need for Speed franchise together to jumpkick-start the Hot Pursuit franchise back into screaming life and give us a new reason to grin like masturbating chimps at cut-scenes of cars we’ll never own flying through the air into walls.
I’ve always enjoyed driving games and my first experience with Burnout was fantastic and I’ve loved the series ever since but Burnout Paradise seemed a little too open-worldy to me. My love for the Need for Speed franchise had taken a hit too after Shift failed to really be arcadey or sim-like and was an awkward mix of the two. So I was hoping this game would combine the two and make me love them again and luckily Hot Pursuit has mashed the feel of the two franchises together fairly well though people hoping for a full on burnout experience will be disappointed.
Licensed cars gloriously rendered with some amazing rain effects on the road as you blast along at 200mph with a fantastic sensation of speed only to hit a spike strip and cartwheel around flying over a barricade and down a mountain, an Aston Martin that costs ‘£fuckin-ridiculous’ spearing through a police roadblock as the pursuing coppers ram into it and re-enact the Blue’s Brothers scene, these things are fantastic and will make you feel euphoric. Shame then that the other elements of the game caused a fist shaped indentation in my tv and 3 broken controllers… Blindingly obvious rubber band A.I. opponents and an extremely random damage system tied with some bugs meaning that on my 50th attempt to beat a time or target number of racer takedowns going down the shitter as I fell through the world and got stuck resulted in me screaming and trying to jam my fist through the console
A big part of the experience in this game is their ‘Autolog’ system which is actually a brilliant way to compare your times with your friends and keep you updated on how you stand against them. Problems occur with the fact that the servers for this service seem unstable as all hell and apart from the first couple of events my times were on their own and noone could see my times. Dodgy A.I. in most of the Enforcer races meaning that shutting down a race could take upwards of 6-7 minutes or as short as 24 seconds depending on if the A.I. crashes into a wall and takes themselves out and when it’s comparing your times with your mates through Autolog and you’re as competitive as me it’ll make for infuriating hours as you wait for the A.I. to pull a Nick Nolte.
The whole of the single player section of the game feels like a training section for the multiplayer here and taking it online is superbly satisfying as you wreck people up and know that the spike strip you just dropped has caused someone to burst a vessel screaming at the screen. Latency was the biggest problem I found here, swerving across the road to slam into someone only to see them appear 15 metres down the road then 15 metres behind you in the seconds before you smack into a barrier and take yourself out.
In summary this game is an entertaining blend of the Burnout and Need for Speed styles of game though it ends up being 95% Need for Speed which is a bit disappointing. Cars handle very well and drifting is easy to accomplish and will make you look incredibly skilled with the least of efforts and Autolog setting up competition between you and your friends in a social app style presentation is something I’d love to see in more games but everything else in the game just feels a touch rushed and I feel like there’s a little bit of a lack of content compared to the games it’s competing against. A great shallow arcade driving game that can be annoying and has some problems but will entertain for a good chunk of time