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Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit (PS3)

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Electronic Arts / Genre: Racing.

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    10 Reviews
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      14.06.2013 14:47
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      A safe, but good addition to e franchise

      Since Criterion took over, the Need for Speed series has gone from strength to strength. They have managed to remain faithful to the franchise's style but added a some different elements to each game.

      The different element in Hot Pursuit is that you play on both sides of the law. Initially as an illegal racer seeking fame and fortune in cross-country speed races and time trials against other racers. Here, your aim is to finish a race in first position or within a certain time. The better you do, the more points you score and the more rewards you get. Once you've done that, you can go back and do it all again, this time as a police officer charged with using any means necessary to stop the illegal racers.

      Surprisingly, it was this latter element which was the most interesting aspect of Hot Pursuit. Normally, it's more fun to play bad guys but not here. The skill level needed to keep up with the illegal racers and then judge the perfect moment to ram them presents a real challenge and helps differentiate it from more standard racers.

      I actually found myself wishing that the whole game consisted of this; partly because it's more fun, but also because Hot Pursuit suffers from a fractured identity as a result of casting you in the role of both good and bad guy. There's no coherent narrative to what you are doing and it does sometimes just feel that the game boils down to a series of different races, with no real connection between them. Because you are not playing a specific character with a gradually developing backstory, you never completely engage with the game. It's a lot of fun, sure; but it's just a series of pixels moving around on a screen.

      Contrast this with Need for Speed: The Run. A lot of people criticised this but personally, I think it's the better game. In that, you played the same character all the way through and were racing for a specific purpose. You made that connection with your on-screen avatar and wanted to see him win. Hot Pursuit lacks that same human connection, making it slightly less immersive.

      Graphics are very impressive and really show off the processing power of the PS3. The different cars look great, a wonderful combination of shiny metal and powerful engines. It's good to see the shape of cars change as they sustain damage, too (smashed rear windows are not uncommon) and whilst some of the crashes might look a little odd, on the whole the graphics are excellent.

      Crucially, there is a real element of speed. As it should, racing around at 200mph feels very different to trundling along at 50 and the game makes you feel this. Roadside scenery just flies by, slower moving traffic disappears into your rear view mirror in the blink of an eye and it just gives the game a really exhilarating feel. Roads are imaginatively designed and nicely varied, with a combination of long, straight stretches where you can really race and tight hairpin bends that will test you driving skills to the limit.

      Sound is very good, although it doesn't really move much from the long-established template for racing games. The in-car radio plays a variety of songs and there's the standard roar of engines, screech of tyres, clash of metal type sound effects. The only downside is that the voiceover that introduces level objectives or provides information about cars is seriously dreary and a possible cure for insomnia. Still, on the whole, the sound effects do their job and contribute to an exhilarating racing environment.

      There's an unbelievably massive array of cars to race. I have no idea how like their real life counterparts, but they do all handle differently. Some have twitchy steering, some are incredibly manoeuvrable; others are unbelievably quick off the mark whilst some are slightly sluggish to start with but then race along once they reach higher speeds. This gives you the opportunity to try out lots of different cars, but also to find the one that best suits your driving style and stick to it. This on its own is great fun, without the more formal game objectives.

      Controls work very well. They use a fairly limited set of the PS3 controller's buttons and these don't change from race to race or from car to car. They are the buttons that your fingers fall on naturally, so it doesn't take long before you scarcely have to think about them. The cars are also very responsive, making steering a positive experience. After a few initial experiments, you'll soon find that you can weave your way through seemingly impossible gaps at high speeds, thanks to the tight controls. If you understeer, oversteer or crash into something, it's because you got your angles wrong, not because the game didn't respond in time.

      The disappointing thing (for me at least) is that EA have based so much of this game around online gaming. Whilst the career mode can be played offline and has a reasonable number of levels to unlock and play, it's not that difficult to complete. Depending on your skill levels, I'd say you're talking around 10-20 hours' game time. This is not actually that much for a game that originally retailed at £35 (although admittedly, you can now get hold of it for around a tenner).

      If you want more, you either have to pay for some extra downloadable content or race against other gamers online. This is just not my cup of tea at all. I'm pretty old school when it comes to gaming. If I'm competing with someone, I want them in the room so that I can witness their reactions when I scream past them: Hot Pursuit is limited to one player in offline mode. I'm also old-fashioned in that I tend to think that when I have paid for a game, I should have all the content available to me instantly for free, not be expected to pay more to download some extra bits.

      It gets worse if you have a second hand copy of the game. Each game comes with a unique online code to access the online content, and this can only be used once. So, if the previous owner has already redeemed the code, you will either have to do without the extra stuff and multiplayer online racing, or pay out a further £7.99 for a new code which is quite a chunk of cash. After massive public backlash, EA have recently dropped this policy for new games, but it still applies to older ones.

      As racing games go, Hot Pursuit is a lot of fun, especially when playing as a police officer. It can feel slightly formulaic and traditional at times, but the wealth of unlockable cars, great sensation of speed and fast, fun gameplay still make it a title worth considering if you enjoy racing games.

      (c) Copyright SWSt 2013

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      • More +
        13.05.2012 21:29
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        A great , addictive game, it will be had to put it down once you start it.

        I dont remember playing the original hot pursuit that came out a few years ago. But I am a big Need for Speed fan, having played the 'underground' and 'most wanted'. This game is more like Most wanted, it takes elements of the hot pursuit races and turns them into one big game.

        The beauty of this game is its simplicity. Its one of the easiest games that I have ever played. Other then the d-pad, this game only requires three buttons, acceleration, brake and handbrake. The right cursor is also used for offensive and defensive measures.

        Gameplay: There are various types of races in this game that you can play as either a copper or as a criminal. You have the hot pursuits where you either race eachother as a criminal or you shutdown races as a copper. You also have strightforward one on one races, get from A to B in the quicket time, they call this rapid response in the copper mode (slightly annooying as it is a time trial and every time you hit either the side or another vehicle you lose 2 or 3 seconds), its a tough one. You play several races at each location and there are several locations around the fictional county of Seacrest. As you play each race you have to score points and make the times set to get either a pass, merit or distinction, or in the case of the criminal section of the game , first, second or third. The other objective of the game is to rise up the ranks as either the police or as a criminal ranks from level one to twenty.

        Features: Other then the different types of races, there is not much else in the way of modification. You do get an amazing array of other cars in the game, everything from a Nissan 370z right up to the Bugatti Verhron. You dont get to modify them other then the colour. You dont get to drag races or drifting races as in the 'Underground' series but there is still plenty to keep you busy. The weapons are also impressive, ranging from spike trips to helicopters and EMP pulses, all realisticaly carried out so that the game doesnt seem too cartoony.

        Graphics are impressive, your car will take damage and its visable, the soundtrack is also very modern and pretty impressive. Helpfully you can change songs mid race at the touch of a button.

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          13.01.2012 08:31
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          Killed a few hours but quite repetative and internet content heavy

          As my gaming horizons have expanded over the last few months with the addition of shooters and roleplaying games, however I've always loved sports games. In fact growing up some of my favourite games have been racing games, from Colin McCrae Rally to Gran Turismo to Need for Speed. So whenever a new Need For Speed title is released I'm very keen to give it a try, however I have fallen slightly behind and for that reason I've only just become acquainted with the 2010 release Hot Pursuit.

          A Different Idea

          The usual concept of the Need For Speed games is a story mode where you increase your reputation on the streets and customise and upgrade your cars. This time around it is slightly different as you have two methods of game play you can choose, either as the racer or as the Cops under orders to shut down the street races. With this slightly different approach you work your way around the area taking on various types of events, with more cars, equipment and races unlocking with each successful mission you pass.

          Having played as both sides of the law, I have to admit that the police missions are far more enjoyable. I particularly like the missions where you have a number of racers and the success of your mission is determined by how many of them you take out. With each type of mission you get a variety of different gadgets and toys to aid you in your capture or escape such as spike strips and Electromagnetic pulses, which become more powerful and more effective the further through the game you progress.

          Controlling The Cars

          The control mechanism for the game is pretty simplistic with the R 2 & L2 buttons used to accelerate and break and the joystick to steer the cars. The X button is used for a boost of NOS and the direction buttons for the cars special weapons. All in all the control system works well and the cars respond really well to your chosen action. There is very little delay from you pressing the button to the resulting action taking place on the screen and that for me adds to the realism of the game.

          Looking Good, Sounding Great

          The graphics on Hot Pursuit really look good, with sharp realistic looking scenery and impressive detailing on all the cars it is a very polished looking game. It's no less than you would expect from developers EA. The games graphics really did work for me and whilst I play a lot of driving games the improvement in graphics on Need For Speed over time has really brought the game on in leaps and bounds.

          Whilst the graphics look really good the sound effects are even better, from the skids as the car drifts around the corner to the hiss as you release a blast of NOS. as far as racing games go it is a really realistic sounding game, even as you try to delay or bring cars to a stop the crashes sound really good. Couple that with the usual high standard of music soundtrack you come to expect from EA, featuring the likes of Pendulum, The Klaxons and Black Rebel Motorcycle club, it really fits in with the style of the game.

          An Interesting Online Aspect

          Now I'm not really a big online gamer and for the most part I can't comment on the online aspects of this game, mainly because every time I've tried to go online with it there hasn't been anyone else around to play due to the age of the game. I did however like the feature on the game whereby if one of your online friend has the game you get given their time for each mission and you have to try and beat it. This keeps the game play a little more fresh and interesting, especially if you know someone has a particular strength on this type of game.

          It's Not All Good Though

          Now it would be fair to say that I do enjoy playing Need For Speed Hot Pursuit but there are a few things about the game that do really annoy me. Firstly it would appear to be a massive front for EA to sell more items through the PlayStation store with some car types only available if you buy the car pack, which didn't really interest me. The other real problem is the lack of variety. The cars may change as you progress and the races will become more difficult but the game does become very repetitive and this drastically reduces its shelf life.

          Worth The Money?

          It's a shame really because I do feel that Hot Pursuit is a decent concept and an interesting game, however it just doesn't seem to be worth buying. Throughout your experience with the game EA will be trying to sell you add on's and it's a close call whether this will annoy you before the repetitive nature of the game puts you off. It is a good driving game and it is good fun but it's a game I'd seriously recommend renting as you'll be bored after a few hours play. So whilst it is a good rental, I really wouldn't recommend buying it.

          Platform: PS3
          Other Platforms: PC, Wii & Xbox 360
          Age - 12 plus
          Amazon: £15

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            27.11.2011 14:39
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            Burnout Paradise in formal dress

            Whatever the Need For Speed franchise may sometimes have lacked in quality, it's more than compensated for in the metronomic turnout of new instalments. The sixteen years following its 1994 debut have yielded no less than sixteen games, a somewhat improbable achievement for a series that has only occasionally been party to concerted critical acclaim. 2010's Hot Pursuit had better prospects than most in its recent history however, simply because it was being created by a developer of some considerable pedigree; Criterion Games, the clever people responsible for giving us the blistering arcade street racer Burnout Paradise. Whilst Hot Pursuit is a comparatively clinical foray into cops 'n' robbers racing, it's still likely the best Need For Speed there's ever been.

            The fictitious Seacrest County is the setting that's mapped out for the player in the beginning as you're handed a range of challenges to undertake, either as a cop or a racer. The influence Burnout Paradise has had on the game is an instant and very obvious positive; skilled or on-the-limit driving is rewarded through the filling of a nitrous bar. Heading into oncoming traffic, executing powerslides and utilising shortcuts are all means of topping up your boost. There's a tantalisingly thin line between success and failure, but the more risks you take, the faster you can go.

            Hot Pursuit opts for a structured approach to its racing, using fixed routes with few deviations as opposed to a point-to-point setup where drivers pick their own route to the destination. At first, it struggles to emulate Paradise's buzz and excitement; the canyon passes, long desert roads and coastal runs feel reserved and sparse next to aforementioned title's bustling city. The handling initially seems a touch heavy, not as instinctive, and the action less busy.

            Yet the game gets markedly better with extended play, and by the time you reach the exotic car classes, there's little question that in instances that see you blazing down the freeways in the blurry night-time, slipstreaming and weaving in and out of traffic, it's right up there with the best racers in terms of excitement and adrenalin. Car control, which feels ill-suited to arcade racing to begin with, soon becomes second nature, and the weight of direction change and the wickedly enjoyable powerslides soon come to be appreciated. Furthermore, it really shows off with its weather effects; rain reduces grip levels and acceleration just enough to make you feel like you're walking a tight rope when approaching corners and traffic at speed - driving a Lamborghini at 160mph in the night with limited visibility and battering rain is an immense experience, and particularly satisfying if you manage to master the conditions.

            The gameplay is further complimented by some superb weapons and gadgets. No weapon is infallible and there are always ways to use each situation to your advantage - police roadblocks for example can be a nuisance from a racer's point of view, but should you pick the right spot to nip through whilst dropping a spike strip, it's an ingenious way and turning the situation to your advantage and taking care of your pursuers. There's a nice sense of balance and counter-balance to the equipment; police can use EMP's to wreak havoc with racers electrics, or send helicopters up the road to scout their progress, but equally racers can use jammers that prevent such measures and, by temporarily knocking the cops' radar offline, it gives you the opportunity to flee or shake your tail before they've recovered their bearings.

            Whilst the race layouts and scenic designs are perhaps a touch conservative, there's no denying the game is exceptionally pretty. The incredible speed, fluidity and dynamism it sports at crazy speeds is something of an art form. The vehicles themselves include a glamorous array of real-life manufacturers including Porsche, Lamborghini and Shelby, and it even throws in the world-beating Bugatti Veyron for good measure. All look sumptuous and impossibly glossy on the selection screens but also make full use of some bruising crash damage effects. The damage parameters themselves could have been a bit better; it's easy to cause damage by ramming an opponent from behind, but side-swipe collisions seem rather more of a grey area, as sometimes slamming a racer into the railings has no effect at all. It also has a habit of cutting away to brief cinematics mid-race to show resultant crashes or the deployment of police officers and this can be a peril, especially when it you are made to rejoin the action halfway around a corner or heading straight into traffic.

            For what it is, it's a heck of a lot of fun to play with others too. The online structure leaves a little to be desired however; it's a shame there wasn't a more detailed set of leaderboards or a stronger emphasis on structured progression, because though the racing itself is highly addictive, it's ultimately more geared towards holding your interest for a few days than a few months. "Hot Pursuit", which sees as many as four cops chasing four racers, is an absolute blast whichever side you are on, whilst "Race" does pretty much what it says on the tin and is competitive and enjoyable too. "Interceptor" is a bit of a misfire - a one-vs-one battle across an entirely non-linear route where either the cop wins with a bust or the racer does by escaping. It's hard to derive any significant enjoyment from this, as they often descend into awkward scraps that see the racer doubling back on the route in an attempt to disorientate their opponent.

            For those who'd rather tackle it alone, a stern challenge awaits that'll keep you grafting away for a few weeks, in part thanks to the smart level-up system for the police/racer disciplines. Points are accumulated through strong performances, personal-best times and also for beating friends' records. They in turn lead to a steady stream of new cars, events and equipment upgrades, though it is a little odd that, given that there are twenty levels to scale, the goodies abruptly stop at Level 13. Still, just as online, the Hot Pursuits will provide you with the most enjoyment, whilst the "Rapid Response" and "Preview" disciplines may divide opinion. They make for an engaging and satisfying challenge, even if these time-trial styled events are given a rather bigger role than was really necessary. Penalties for clipping traffic or scenery are harsh however, and if you wish to restart (which, if you are aiming for the top awards, will be quite frequently), you'll be met with some curiously lengthy loading times. Even so, these are small gripes.

            Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is a class act, all told. Graphics and gameplay tick the right boxes, whilst the game gradually builds from an innocuous start to reveal a hi-octane racer of some considerable technical quality that, at its best, is quite thrilling to play. The settings may be guilty of coming across as just a tad anonymous in the final reckoning, but if you're in any way interested in the racing genre, then this has to be worth seeking out.

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            • More +
              15.05.2011 21:53
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              A must buy for racing game lovers

              I love this game, it has to be one of the best released in 2010. I have have been playing it for hours upon end, it is a great game of great quality but is not your typical racing game.

              Hot Pursuit is a racing game based on motorways. The game is mostly a chase between cops and racers. The aim as a racer is to beat the other racers to the finish line and avoid being busted or destroyed by the police, and as the cop the aim is to destroy as many racers as possible.

              I find the best mode to play this game is online against other people, you earn bounty as a cop and a racer career and the more bounty you get the quicker you level up and get better cars. As a racer there are many cars to choose from such as Porshe's, Lamboughini's and the Bugatti Veyron to pick a few. This game provides you with tools of which the cars can use such as spike strip and emp. This makes the game more excotong and adds an extra thrill to the chase.

              This game will entertain anyone of any age for hours upon end.

              The graphics are great, every detail on the cars are as realistic as they can get. The damage physics is very realistic and you can see every bump and scratch your and the other players cars get. The driving engine is perfect and designed for motorway driving. This game also uses Need For Speeds "Auto Log" which is their new game social network which allows friends to follow each other in the game and compete against each other and track everyones progress

              This game is great for entertaining anyone of any age for hours at a time.

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                10.03.2011 14:53
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                The definitive arcade racing experience

                The Need For Speed name is one of the most recognisable in the racing genre. Since the original game was released in 1994, the franchise has produced no less than sixteen different games, with the seventeenth well on the way. These have been spread amongst several sub series, such as Undercover, Most Wanted, Underground and Shift. Unfortunately these varied sub series have also been wildly inconsistent in their quality, and in recent years the Need For Speed series has been unable to get anywhere near the quality of the best games in the genre.

                The original Need For Speed Hot Pursuit was actually the third game in the series (released in 1998), with Hot Pursuit II being the sixth game (released in 2002). Therefore, the Hot Pursuit that forms the basis of this review should actually be Hot Pursuit III, and is the sixteenth game in the Need For Speed series. Confused? No need to worry if you are. All you need to know is that the Hot Pursuit game that I am reviewing here is a remake of a game that is generally held in very high regard by those who have played it, meaning that this new release has had some fairly hefty expectations placed upon it.

                Normally at this point in my computer game reviews I pose some kind of question as to whether this game lives up to expectations. Hot Pursuit is going to break this trend, because for once a game has so utterly exceeded my expectations that I feel no need to place any room for ambiguity in my review of it. Hot Pursuit is an exceptional game, and is one that will both restore faith in the series, and also redefine expectations within the arcade racer genre in general. And now I'm going to tell you why that is the case.

                KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GETTING YOURSELF IN TO (PREMISE)

                The basic idea behind Hot Pursuit is that the player takes part in races and other events involving some of the most impressive and high powered sports and super cars in the world. However, such dazzling races are hardly going to take place without attracting the attention of the police, and as a result racers can expect to have to contend with equally high powered police cars trying to wreck their vehicles and generally shut down the race. The kicker is that Hot Pursuit allows the player to get behind the wheel of either a street racer or a police officer, offering two very distinct experiences.

                Fans of simulation racing games such as Gran Turismo should look away now; Hot Pursuit is an arcade racer that very much ignores realism for the sake of entertainment. Cars do not handle like their real life counterparts, and the general situations that the player will find themselves in are in no way realistic. What they are, however, is adrenaline packed and exhilarating. In other words, Hot Pursuit seeks to deliver only what a pure arcade racer should deliver. If that is what interests you, then read on.

                TAKE A LOOK AROUND THE FORECOURT (GRAPHICS)

                In terms of graphics, Hot Pursuit looks fantastic. Every car model is faithfully recreated, as you would expect, with each car also available in police colours for those wanting to put a stop to the street races. The races themselves take place in a variety of locations, each one offering stunning vistas and environments. It should be noted that, whilst the roads are populated with civilian vehicles depending on where you are racing, there is no racing within cities in Hot Pursuit. As a result there are no pedestrians or similar. The closest that Hot Pursuit gets to heavily populated areas is racing on freeways, putting the focus very much on the cars and the driving rather than ploughing through pedestrians or wrecking havoc within cities. Which, in my opinion at least, is exactly as it should be.

                The game is not afraid to show off its graphics, either. As cars scrape against and collide with one another, paintwork becomes damaged, windows smash, and bits and pieces fly off all over the place. If you crash or force another car to crash, the game will cut to a close up view of the carnage in slow motion, which really demonstrates how detailed the graphics are. It is very much an approach taken from the Burnout series, but in the context of break neck speed races between felons and cops, it is incredibly effective.

                Crucially, the graphics are complemented by a frame rate that always keeps up with the action. Given the speed at which things happen in Hot Pursuit and the carnage that can be caused, the game could perhaps be forgiven for stuttering or slowing down slightly when a lot happens on the screen. But impressively nothing of the kind happens, and regardless of how fast you are travelling or how much debris is being thrown into the air, everything graphically within Hot Pursuit remains super smooth, which is a triumph in itself.

                TAKE IT FOR A SPIN (GAMEPLAY)

                As stated above, Hot Pursuit is very much an arcade racer. Crucially, the controls are tight and responsive. It will obviously take anybody a little bit of time to get used to how the cars handle, but once a little bit of time is spent on the game the cars handle like a dream. The slightest tap of the brake button can cause cars to drift around corners at break neck speeds which, whilst not the most realistic thing in the world, is certainly exhilarating.

                And when I mention break neck speeds, I really am not kidding. Regardless of the individual speed that is noted on the screen, which at the end of the day is just a number, Hot Pursuit has an extraordinary sense of speed. Every car is equipped with nitro boost, which is used simply by pressing or holding the X button, and which gives your car a boost in acceleration and speed. Your nitrous bar refills through driving dangerously, such as by racing on the wrong side of the road, narrowly missing civilian vehicles, or driving directly behind opponents, which quite literally means that the more dangerously you drive, the fast you will be able to go. All of this combines to create a general feel that will constantly leave you on the edge of your seat.

                The cars also feel solid, making shunts in to and from other vehicles feel hard-hitting and significant. Given that each car can only take a certain amount of damage before they are wrecked, the solid feel to the collisions combined with the tight controls and extreme sense of speed combine to create a compelling gameplay experience.

                In addition to standard driving, however, both racers and police officers have access to up to four extra types of weapons by using the d-pad. Both sides can release spike strips when in front of opponents and lock on to opponents when they are behind them with EMPs (Electro Mangentic Pulse), causing other vehicles both to slow down and take damage. Racers can also activate a Jammer, disrupting police weapons and causing their radar to shut down, and switch on a Turbo system, which gives a massive boost in speed at the expense of handling. On the other side, police officers can call in roadblocks to block the road ahead of racers, and helicopters, which harass racers and drop spike strips in front of them. The weapons themselves are all useful and all have an excellent balance to them, which really adds an extra dynamic to the gameplay.

                MAKE A NAME FOR YOURSELF (SINGLE PLAYER CAREER)

                The single player mode in Hot Pursuit takes place in the fictional area of Seacrest County, which conveniently contains numerous suitable areas for racing at ridiculous speed. Unusually, Seacrest County is one big map, and each event will simply see you racing from one point to another as guided by your map. This gives something of an authentic feel as each race area is constructed as an actual road rather than a racing track. There are also numerous shortcuts scattered around each area, giving an air of flexibility in how you race through each area.

                The map of Seacrest County contains symbols for both Racer events and Police events, and it is simply a case of choosing a symbol, picking one of the events contained within that area, choosing a vehicle and doing your best to win the event. There is a great variety to the types of events, so as well as taking part in Races and Hot Pursuits (where cops are trying to shut down the race), racers will also take part in Time Trials, Duels (a race with one other driver) and Gauntlets (where there are no rival racers, and the aim is to reach the end in a quick time without the police arresting you). On the flip side, as well as trying to shut down races in Hot Pursuit, cops will also take part in Rapid Response events (effectively time trials) and Interceptors (where the aim is simply to bust a single racer before they escape).

                Each event sets a standard to win bronze, silver and gold awards, so whilst the aim will be to win a Race in first place, you will have to bust a vehicle within a particular time in an Interceptor event, or bust a certain number of racers in a Hot Pursuit. Completing an event gives your racer points which are accumulated throughout your career, which will see your progress from a Level 1 Racer or Officer, all the way through to an Ultimate Felon or Ultimate Officer at Level 20. On the way you will unlock more events, more cars, and more effective weapons.

                With a total of approximately 70 events, and trophies that encourage you to win gold in each one, the single player career in Hot Pursuit really does have a great deal of substance to it. The difficulty level is just right, with no one event being too easy or too hard, and the racer AI becoming steadily more competent and ruthless as you progress. The sense of progression is clear, and the sense of satisfaction when you achieve gold on a particular event never goes away.

                KEEP TABS ON YOUR FRIENDS (THE AUTOLOG SYSTEM)

                However, once you have fully completed the Career mode and secured gold in every event, chances are you will be going back over some events again to better your performance. Why? Because Hot Pursuit introduced a brand new system called Autolog, which keeps track of your performance in each event and compares it directly against your friends'. This means that next to each event description will be a leaderboard showing you your best time, and comparing it directly to the best times that your friends have managed to achieve.

                Just showing this information would probably be enough to incite some competition between friends, but Autolog actually goes on step further and takes proactive steps to encourage you to beat your friends' times. Events in which friends beat you are highlighted on the Career map, and every time you beat a friend's time, a record of it is posted to your 'Speed Wall' for all of your friends to see. Equally, when a friend beats your time, you can see it on their Speed Wall. Autolog will verbally update you with regards to friends that have beaten your times recently, and will actively recommend certain events for you to try to better yourself. I'm not one for replaying games personally, but Autolog telling me that my friends have beaten me in a number of events over the past day really proved to be incentive enough for me do my best to beat them in return. It is a great system, that will hopefully be developed in future games.

                COMPETE AGAINST THE BEST (MULTIPLAYER)

                It should come as no surprise that the general gameplay and style of Hot Pursuit lends itself very well to online play, and there are three basic online modes available to pit your skills against other players; Hot Pursuit, Interceptor, Race. These are effectively carbon copies of the single player modes, except every participant is a human player, rather than AI controlled.

                Race and Interceptor are both decent, but both are somewhat short lived in terms of appeal. Race fails to hold the attention simply because Hot Pursuit by its nature is about more than just racing. Interceptor is a more interesting game mode in that it is a 1v1 competition between a racer and a cop, with the cop attempting to make an arrest and the racer trying to escape. However, whilst tactically the game does offer some variety, after ten or so games you will really have seen it all.

                Hot Pursuit mode, however, makes up for the other two and then some. Events take place with four racers and four cops, with the racers attempting to finish (and, as a bonus, win the race), whilst the cops are trying to wreck them. This mode cranks Hot Pursuit up a gear in terms of intensity and really is an adrenaline packed rush from start to finish. It is the sort of online experience that arcade racers have been crying out for. The AI, whilst decent enough in single player, is no match for the skill, variety and unpredictability that human players bring to the table, and the exhilaration and competition experienced in playing Hot Pursuit mode is simply something that no other arcade racer has ever matched.

                THERE'S MORE TO COME (DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT)

                The content within Hot Pursuit out of the box is enough to keep you occupied for a long time, but even as I type this review there are new fewer than four downloadable content packs to expand the experience further; specifically Porsche Unleashed, Lamborghini Untamed, Super Sports, and Armed and Dangerous. These bring new cars, new events, new trophies/achievements, and (in the case of Armed and Dangerous) new online game modes. If Hot Pursuit grabs you as much as it has grabbed me, then these are certainly packs that you will want to consider picking up. However, it is certainly valid criticism that these packs should have been in the original game, and that they are effectively just ways of making more money out of customers. In the circumstances it is worth noting that the packs are in no way essential, and there is more than enough to keep you going in the main game without spending more money on these.

                MAKING IT TO THE FINISH LINE (CONCLUSION)

                In case it isn't obvious by now, I consider Hot Pursuit to be one of, if not the finest arcade racer available on the current generation consoles at the moment. Everything about the game oozes quality, and it provides an exhilarating experience that will keep you coming back for more time after time.

                There are, as with every game, some minor niggles that will irritate some people. For example, the slow motion camera that fixes on crashes as mentioned above can be a distraction from racing and cause collisions in itself. The single player races are also 'rubber banded', meaning that it is difficult to open up large gaps between rival racers regardless of how well you race. However, in the context of a game that otherwise displays such exceptional quality at every turn, these niggles will hardly register for most people.

                All in all, the unpredictability of the races and the sheer speed that they are played at make Hot Pursuit an exceptionally thrilling game that is very difficult to put down, regardless of whether you want to play as a racer or a cop. If you are looking for an arcade racing game that offers tight controls, stunning graphics, a great sense of speed, and edge of your seat thrills, you need look no further.

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                  01.02.2011 21:36
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                  have a blast with the game

                  I absolutely love this game. It isn't just a racing game that gives you a thrill when you get up to top speeds in top cars such as Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Porche's, but it also is a game that lets you live on the edge - an adrenaline pumping game where you can go insane - race hard, be chased by cops, earn points and progress up the career ladder - its fun, its progressive, and its action packed.

                  I have always been a fan of racing games, but this in my opinion is one of my favourites. It's not easy, but its not hard, which is great because if you aren't that good at games or just out of practice, this is a game that you can easily get the hang of. It's also extremely fun. I personally love getting in cop chases because it adds a bit more hysteria to the game. The races are hot and chaotic, but the cop chases are what really bring fun to the game I think.

                  This game really does encourage chaos though, which is what makes this game action packed and popular amongst thriller seeking and teens wanting some rebellish fun. This is because you earn more points through speeding and crashing. However, it's not a game just targeted at teens. Plenty of adults play this game too.

                  Whilst vehicles are customizable and some vehicles are unlockable, I do not think there is that many options for upgrading or improving cars, mainly because this game focuses for the majority, on driving skills, or perhaps more so, - dangerous driving skills.

                  The graphics are great. I mean, really really great. Buildings and roads look very realistic and the cars look awesome, so this is definitely a high quality game. The sounds are also excellent. The crashes sound real and frightening especially.

                  The game has 'freeride' mode, multiplayer mode and career mode. Obviously, free ride mode does not affect your career points but unless you want a game to just mess around, career mode is better for progressing up the ranks.

                  This is definitely a very entertaining racing game that you should have a blast playing.

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                    23.01.2011 11:44
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                    A great addition to any racing fans collection, Hot Pursuit offers you plenty of value and gameplay.

                    Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (Xbox 360 & PS3)

                    Tested and reviewed based on the Xbox 360 version
                    Review by Ben Nacca
                    GT: Darkeyes2k7
                    It has been a long time since the Need for Speed franchise has really seen any progressive leaps forward in terms of gameplay, bumbling down the middle of the racing genre with the hope that flashy cars and custom tuning will save the day. For the past 4 titles at least, this has not worked as each Need for Speed title from EA has had variable ups and downs, but most notably being a let-down for the fans.

                    One could argue that Need for Speed: Most Wanted was EA's last decent racing game, seeing the balance of racing action, exotic cars and a progressive story.
                    Since then, the franchise has been lost and alienated. Along come Criterion, kings of the racing genre, creators of Burnout Paradise and saviours of the Need for Speed series. By implementing the ever determined police, a variety of exotic cars and crisp, clear visuals, Criterion are attempting to drive the title back into NFS fans hearts.
                    The first thing you will realise is the new menu system. Named the Autolog, this new way of compiling all information together becomes more of a gimmick as this Facebook copy-cat updates your "wall" with times your friends have made on tracks, people who have beaten your times and other races that you can participate in. There is no denying the innovative features that Criterion have tried to implement but sadly, it falls short as you will be here for the racing, not to explore a pretty menu that works bad under the bonnet.

                    Moving on to better things, the career of Hot Pursuit is split into two parts, Racers and Cops. Each side have their own ranks, vehicles and style of races, with each win progressing you further up the career ladder. Do not feel like you are tied to one or the other though as Criterion have allowed you to switch seamlessly between the two, so if you are tired of chasing down the criminals, turn to one yourself and give the cops a run for their money. The system works and is implemented beautifully within the game.
                    Delving into the law enforcement side to begin with, you are treated with all your favourite racing vehicles with big names such as Lamborghinis, Aston Martins and Porsches to name a few. It is enough to make David Beckham's or Jay Kay's, from Jamiroquai, car garage look like a cheap car show room. With the cops however, you get to spin the wheels of these vehicles in 48 events with all the police colouring and trimming that you need as you hunt down racers and answer police calls, racing A to B. So you can now have a Porsche 911 with all the extras, which include the flashing lights and police colours all over it while hunting down the criminals in style.

                    On the other hand, if you prefer your cars sporting exotic colours and roaring engines, then the Racer side is for you. With 60 events to plough through, there is plenty to do as you participate in races, time trials, duels and of course, hot pursuits, which is what the game is based on, where you battle for the road against fellow racers and the police.
                    Unfortunately though, there are too much A to B races and time trial quests. Races and Hot Pursuits are what makes this game really fun to play and at times it feels like there are not enough of these events in here, making it sometimes a chore. On the other hand, when you are unlocking cars and earning XP as you rank up, you will probably not find it to troublesome, with the progression tending to be well balanced throughout the game. This is by far the best racing experience for the series since the days on the Xbox and PS2, so well done Criterion!

                    Taking a leaf out of Burnout Paradise's book, Hot Pursuit will have you throwing yourself round corners at insane speeds as you build your boost up in game. The premise works well and especially with the vehicle handling being spot on so you will have no problems driving towards oncoming traffic and darting through the numerous shortcuts on the tracks.
                    Short cuts themselves are a double edged blade in this game. Nail them, and you will be better than you were, with more time on your hands and maybe even bumped up a few positions if in a race. However, if you fail to implement them correctly, you will likely find yourself regretting the action, causing you valuable seconds which could be costly. With them being rather hard to see at times however, particularly in the evening races, relying on the mini map for the next turnoffs will probably be best so you can plan your route before you get there.

                    Moving online is where the real fun begins though. Despite the singleplayer having some shortcomings, with repetitive modes and tiresome time trials, the multiplayer flourishes with the hot pursuits and races. One of the best online racers I have player, Need for Speed returns to online glory with Criterion. It is a shame about the matchmaking is not as slick as Burnout's but it does the job and hopefully the community will pick up, but with people preoccupied on Black Ops and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, it could have some problems.
                    Achievements are a mixed bunch, while being rewarding at times for good gameplay but being a pain for having to grind a lot to gain XP. However, with the campaign being enjoyable throughout, if a bit repetitive at times, you should have no problem getting the full 1000 here but there are far too many progression ones to be anything fun and ground breaking.

                    Visuals
                    90/100

                    A joy to behold visually and never fails to impress. Criterion have implemented some fantastic weather effects as well to really dazzle you and sometimes question if the disc in the console actually has " Need For Speed" on it. The cars are accurately recreated for both racers and cops and the online also is impressive to look at as well.

                    Audio
                    85/100

                    A nice soundtrack with all your Hip hop/Drum 'n' bass tracks from all sorts of popular artists. Combine that with the roar of the engines and the accurate wail of police sirens and you have a superb effort for Hot Pursuit in the sound department.

                    Gameplay
                    85/100

                    Although a bit repetitive at times, there is no denying what Criterion has set out to achieve with this one, implementing variety, progression, tonnes of cars and various options. The online works well and although the community at the moment leaves more to be desired, patience is key as people will soon realise this is a multiplayer gem and a definite for racing fans out there.

                    Delivery
                    85/100

                    The Autolog is a gimmick quite frankly but it is a progressive stepping stone to something great in the future. The wall and photo modes do show promise and have some use but majority of the time will be spent racing online or in the career. Bonus points for online progression contributing to your single player endeavours which is always nice.

                    Achievements
                    75/100

                    A bit of a bland bunch in honesty, with more focussed on completing everything that actually doing achievement worthy feats. However, there are some that are redeeming and make Hot Pursuit a credible title, while not being too difficult at the same time.

                    Summary
                    84/100

                    Although still having areas to improve on, Criterion have rejuvenated the practically dead Need for Speed series and put them back on track with Hot Pursuit. A great addition to any racing fans collection, Hot Pursuit offers you plenty of value, gameplay and cars galore while keeping the vehicle handling spot on and accompanying it with a well implemented multiplayer. Bravo, hopefully Criterion will be used again by EA in the future to make another top title.
                    This guide is the property of Ben Nacca and is for the sole use of Lanraiders.co.uk, www.dooyoo.co.uk and www.ciao.co.uk.
                    No copying to other websites or other mediums without written permission first.

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                      30.12.2010 11:34
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                      Fantastic game for the price, entertaining multiplayer. Good for a laugh.

                      Need for Speed is a game that feels vastly different in every installment. Constantly being developed by different development teams, it's always playing very differently to it's predecessors.

                      So it comes as no surprise that the lastest game in the Need for Speed series feels completely different to the last. However when the development team responsible, Criterion Games, is the same team responsible for Burnout Paradise, you know that you're in for a game with much more of a freedom feel and a variety of high octane game modes.


                      ### GAMEPLAY ###


                      Welcome to Seacrest County, where illegal street racing is fast and brutal, and the only difference between them and the cops is a badge. The geography of the region is very sporadic and includes desert, forest, seaside and mountainous regions.

                      Seacrest country spans over 100 miles of open road which can be freely explored in free drive, similar to Burnout Paradise. There is also a career mode. Players can now play as the cops and the career mode is available to both racer and cop, and each has its own path. There is no storyline or plot to speak of however events are much more easily found as the player chooses which they wish to participate in, rather than having to drive to the location as in Burnout.

                      Objectives remain similar in the career. Racers much evade and escape the police, whilst the cops must aim to take out and bust the illegal racers.


                      ### SPECIAL ABILITIES ###


                      Both the cops and the racers have special abilities to aid in catching and eluding their rivals respectively.

                      RACERS
                      - Spike Strip - This damages the chasing vehicle is a strike is successful, though only a little. The real advantage is that it causes the car to spin and come to a halt, increasing the gap between you and your pursuer.

                      - Jammer - Scrambles the electronics of the chasing vehicles and interrupts any EMP lock being targeted on the user. Prevents the chaser from using any abilities and shuts down their radar.

                      - Turbo - A more powerful version of the turbo available to all players, this propels the racer at an incredible speed. Very useful for escaping the police that are closing in. Has a short time delay.

                      - EMP - Slows down the targeted car and reverses their controls.


                      COPS
                      - Spike Strips - This damages the chasing vehicle is a strike is successful, though only a little. The real advantage is that it causes the car to spin and come to a halt, increasing the gap between you and your pursuer.

                      - Helicopter - The chopper may lay down spike strips when upgraded, and always increases the search radius leaving racers on the radar.

                      - Road Blocks - Constructs a blockade of police cars further down the race track. A head on smash will cause severe damage and slow down the racer greatly. Breaking through the small gap or smashing in between police cars may afford the racer an escape though.

                      - EMP - Slows down the targeted car and reverses their controls.

                      These abilities may be upgraded as player progress increases, allowing them to perform differently. For example the helicopter gains the ability to follow players into confined tunnel spaces and throw down spike strips.

                      Both racers and cops have cars that are exclusive to that class, however they also share a large amount of cars. As a general rule, the cops are generally faster and more resilient than the racers, taking a lot more punishment to disable them.


                      ### MULTIPLAYER ###


                      - Online Modes:

                      * Race - 8-player races, no Cops.
                      * Hot Pursuit - 4 Racers vs 4 Cops.
                      * Interceptor - 1 Racer vs 1 Cop, free-roam.

                      On completion of matches players are awarded 'bounty'. This is dependant on actions performed during the events, and the outcome and placing in races. There are bonuses available for coming first, or taking down other players. This bounty system is how players level up, separately, as cop or racer, and gain access to new cars.


                      One noteable addition to Multiplayer is a feature called Autolog. This lets you track your friends progress on events and their times, and allowing you to jump right in and try to beat them. If you succeed, it taunts your friends into attempting to take back their top times. It also allows you to challenge them to pursuits, where one person plays as the cop while the other plays as the fugitive who's on the run. It also keeps track of your progress in earning bounty as you play.


                      Being a fan of arcade racers, I would greatly recommend this game for purchase. I personally do not like realistic sims as much as arcade racing games, so I found this rather refreshing. The reintroduction of the cops vs racers mode is fantastic and very entertaining.

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                      20.12.2010 23:44
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                      This is another great driving game for 2010, they really have stepped up the game!

                      Wow!
                      Just when you thought a Need for Speed title was just going to be another average game with a tired gameplay format.

                      But this game is so much more, my last Need for Speed game was SHIFT, which was a highly track based "racer". This is more of a Smokey and the Bandit meets Vanishing Point meets Duel, meets Cannonball Run.

                      The cars are beautifully modelled and represented in all their glory. And the locations are breath taking to say the least.

                      The idea is simple, race to destination without getting copped. Fancy being the cop? Well you can give chase too!

                      The game AI is very good as you would expect from a Need for Speed game. There are some really great bits I still need to checkout.

                      But so far this is a great game, and I am sure the Queen wont mind if I spend 3pm Christmas Day playing HOT PURSUIT!

                      Again as always I test all driving games I buy with both the controller and Microsoft Steering Wheel and this is another great game to use with the wheel.

                      I have the Xbox 360 version, I could not find this game under the Xbox 360 title to do a review so i'm sorry if you think this does not apply to you.

                      But I can confirm that the game is better on the Xbox 360

                      You can pick this game up for the RRP but at Tesco you can get it for only £25 if bought with a console or premium game.

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