In yesterday's article I ranted about whether the game is worth of the Need for Speed title and paid extra attention to how it drives and overall how it feels. Having ended with a conclusion that it's another great representative of the series with a step in a new directly I'd like to continue here with a more detailed overview of what the game has to offer.
Roadblocks are all about finding the narrow open spot
Cars have always been a big thing in the series and Hot Pursuit continues that tradition with the largest list to date. There are a few models that appear in different versions (roadsters, coupes,...) but still, it's a very impressive list with several big shots like the Porsche 918, Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport, McLaren MP4-12C, Koenigsegg Agera or the Zonda Cinque. The good thing too is that all cars behave differently on the road, for example the heavy weights like the Bentley and Bugatti require a lot of braking to initiate drifts and on the opposite side cars like the Agera or McLaren F1 where a really short tap of the brakes during cornering can turn your car by almost 180 degrees. I found the tiers 3 (Gallardos, R8, 918,...) and 4 (Zondas, MP4-12C, SLR,...) cars to be the most fun to drive and the slower cars are simply too slow and the top tier cars too sensitive and just too unrealistic. Every time you unlock a new car, it will be shown in a short video and the good thing about career is, that you start unlocking faster cars early on. The third race in the career is with Zonda making the whole career interesting from the start.
Watch out when the chopper is in front of you. It drops spike strips
Career itself is broken down into cop and racer missions. Earn points on each side to unlock new cars and weapons. The good thing is that like in SHIFT, you also gain points when doing multiplayer races. All the events are shown as icons throughout the career map, and icons are broken down into cop and racer events. Each icon has about 5 events that are set in that part of the map. The map itself is a quite large area called Seacrest County which has a coastal area on the west, mountains on the north, desert on the east and forests and fields in between. It's really cool when the events take you from one part to another and the scenery subtly changes, like from the barren desert through golden wheat fields into dark forests or to the cold and snowy mountains. There's lots of remarkable locations like the large dam, desert airfield or the forest with the impressive huge trees. Combine that with different times of day and changing weather and you get an amazing looking game.
Cop cars come with different liveries. There's also an Italian Polizia Gallardo
Game modes are limited basically to races and races with cops with varied amount of opponents. It's either gonna be a solo race against the time, a duel or a full 8 pack race. Add cops to some of these events and you have the racer side covered. There's also a cop side which focuses on catching the racers and focuses heavily on the use of weapons. To catch a racer you either have to damage their car over a certain point or make them stop completely next to you. You can use the EMP, which when it locks to a racer, damages their car significantly, use a spike strip when they're on your tail, call a helicopter which drops spike strips, or call for a road block. Amount of uses of all these weapons is very limited with the road block and helicopter being shared between all cops in a multiplayer race. Racers on the other hand have turbo which acts as boost for a longer time, jammer which counters the EMP and makes the racer disappear from a cop's radar for a while, EMP and spike strips which act the same as for cops. You'll make use of the weapons often, both as a racer and a cop and they're a necessity in the multiplayer races which can get quite even when there's an equal amount of cops and racers. And the cool thing is, you can also use the spike strips on your fellow racers and it's not a bad idea when they're tailing you close to the finish line. Apart from the race and hot pursuit online modes, there's also a third called Interceptor. It's a 1vs1 cop vs robber mode in the open world with the goal of the cop catching the racer or the racer getting away. It's a mode that relies heaviest on the use of weapons and tactics, especially using the jammer as a racer and then trying to hide somewhere offroad, or the EMP and spikes for cops. But I found the lack of varied online modes somewhat disturbing. Races are perfectly fine, but Hot Pursuit mode can get boring if the teams are not balanced out (the game does not force an even amount of cops and racers) and the interceptor mode is basically for messing around with one of your friends. Having more modes added as DLC would be very welcome.
Take an awesome car like this R8 into free roam, find a good spot and take a dream shot. Photo mode is the best so far in an NFS game.
You've probably heard of Autolog, the system that suggests you which events to race to beat your friend times. It's integrated into the career map showing your friends and your own times on every event with details like the cars used and number of attempts you or your friends had at an event. It's a system that works very well if you like a bit of competition and have enough friends playing the game. It's exceptionally useful when your friends are in different time zones or you simply don't want to get online for whatever reason. With Autolog you can get that online competitive feel with the comfort of you choosing the events and when you race. But you better have enough Hot Pursuit players on your friends list because otherwise you'll be on top of all events pretty soon with no effort. The game will suggest you random players to add as friends to keep the competition going, but if you don't like strangers on your friends list, you'll be pretty much competing against yourself and missing out on a lot of fun.
Remember The Need for Speed and the Coastal track? Cars have gotten faster and roads wider though.
In the end we have a game that looks amazingly good, drives well and relies more on offline Autolog multiplayer than online. If you like the unconventional driving style and have lots of friends buying the game, you can expect to play for a long time. With a small friends list you'll be more or less limited to what the career has to offer and online multiplayer and hope for some DLC in the near future. But if you remember Burnout Paradise and the long term support it had, I'm certain that Criterion will surprise us in the near future.
More on Hot Pursuit
Complete car list
Hot Pursuit: A Detailed Preview
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit's features explained in detail
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