Despite having had releases on earlier consoles, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is the first outing on the Xbox 360, Wii and PS3 for the ‘Hot Pursuit’ games from EA although fans of the NFS games will be familiar with what they are all about – fast cars and great races!

So what is different about this Need for Speed against say ‘Undercover’ or ‘Most Wanted’? Well primarily, the engine that powers the game has been upgraded to improve the graphics and the sense of speed in any race. Secondly – the way the game plays out is slightly different to the more story-driven NFS games in recent times.

With previous Need for Speed games you were either taken to a track and told to race or given the free-roam option and allowed to drive around until you found a race or event you fancied. Hot Pursuit does a slight mixture of both – you are given a map with a series of events or races dotted around. Once you find an event you are happy with, you can chose to be the Cops or the Robbers.

With each side of the law (Cop or Criminal) you are put into a car class and a selection of vehicles to chose from. It is crucial to chose wisely as depending on the objective of the race or event you could end up picking the fastest car but find that part of the course is bendy or requires a more delicate touch rather than getting from point A to B in the quickest time.

So what else is new or changed? Well there’s no option to purchase cars or upgrade them in a garage as instead you unlock different cars or car classes as you progress through the game. So with the criminals you may start off with a selection of Audi TT and Subaru but after a few races you might have the option of an Aston Martin and Bugatti Veyron! Sounds good but not to forget that the cops will also get the upgraded cars which keeps the races fair as no longer can you improve your car beyond all others and drive off into the sunset, beating other racers by a massive lap time.
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit game review Play EjectAlso there’s the addition of the ‘weapons’ (although thats probably not the best term) that are unlocked throughout the game and automatically deployed to a car before a race. These vary slightly depending on which side of the law you are on but essentially they consist of Road Blocks, Spike Strips, EMP’s and Helicopter assistance, to name a few. The purpose of each is to disable the other racers and help you either catch criminals or escape the law – again depending on the side you chose!

Online, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is amazing – the choice of races and events means that all fans of the single player will have a favourite for the online mode and the car classes (without option to upgrade beyond all sense) keeps the races fair. You will soon find that learning the tracks and the handling of each car is as important as knowing which weapon to use and when to reach the objective.

There’s plenty of people playing NFS online and consequently we’ve not had to wait to get a game against rival racers – allowing you to jump straight in when you want to.

Being able to play Cops versus Robbers also adds a great thrill of being chased or chasing the crook – depending on which side of the law you are on it does add another level to a typical online racer.

As mentioned earlier, the engine for the game has been improved and consequently the graphics have improved over NFS predecessors – the cars look amazing and the scenery you race in (if you get chance to look at it while hurtling around at 100+mph) is also very well detailed. This makes races great to watch and be a part of as the sense of speed is incredible and coupled with the obligatory massive engine noises, this is one of the best racers on the consoles at the moment.

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