I first discovered Need for Speed : Hot Pursuit around ten years ago. It came in an unmarked padded bag and was a surprise review. Knowing nothing about the game I went in blind, it was early in my ButtonmasherNZ days and I was keen.
Out of that came an overlong and excitable review, the game was good and had its turbo boosted hooks in me.
Another Remaster, did we need it?
Racers and specifically Arcade Racers are ten-a-penny, but Hot Pursuit comes from a pedigree stable. What got me right into the game back in the day was the legacy it came with. Follow ups like Payback or The Run, couldn’t hold a candle to it. Everything about it screamed early Burnout, Criterion were developers that lavished playability and it was the start of the Autolog. My favourite Burnout was Burnout 2, point to point racing with some of the best crash systems today. Need for Speed : Hot Pursuit delivered than in spades, modern, fast and playable and furthermore, weaponised cars.
A tale of two sides.
Hot Pursuit gives you open access to a Cop career and a Racer career, both paths gradually unlock different events and can be played alongside each other from the map. This system is fine, apart from my obsession on the Cop side. I will play Cop events over and over until I get a Gold distinction. Unless they are the “drive fast and don’t scratch the car” missions – which I hate. Passionately.
From the Cop side procession unlocks some real Sportscar Beasts to drive excessively, each event also comes with its own set of offensive options. Being able to lay Spike Strips behind you, organise Roadblocks up ahead and send an offensive Chopper out over the pack. You have no control over these load outs and that’s great, making each event a strategic choice on how you shut it down.
The outcomes of these takedowns can vary wildly each attempt, depending on AI mistakes or choices. You might struggle to shut down a seven car race for a few attempts. Then find yourself completing it in three minutes.
As a Racer, you obviously ‘Race’, but once things progress more events open up were you can use the offensive suite against other Racers and more importantly the Cops shutting you down.
How does Need for Speed : Hot Pursuit play?
It does exactly what it says on the tin, NFS game, even Burnout games are accessible arcade racers with one foot in fantasy land. Thats great.
As someone that soon gets frustrated with the Forza or GT obsessives, Hot Pursuit is exactly the kind of Racer I want to pour time into. Not only are the events (mostly) satisfying, but also the satisfaction of taking down a competitor, be it Cop or Racer, never gets old. Those signature Criterion catch graphics sparking off in slow motion as your victim cartwheels over the railings. It gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling.
Obviously the more you progress the fasters the cars get. It won’t be long until you are screaming around night time roads in nothing more than a blur. As you prowess grows, so does your confidence in drifting long sweeping bends and avoiding spike traps at 200mph.
The game does have a very generous Rubber-Band mechanism, getting you back in the race in the blink of an eye. Great for the early stages, but don’t rely on it especially when the finish line is looming up.
It’s a game Jim, and It’s meant to be played.
Currently I have both consoles with super 4k games begging to be played, Dirt 5 is eyeing me suspiciously from the Xbox Series X dashboard as we speak. Need for Speed : Hot Pursuit is outshining them all at the moment, its accessible and fun. This is what we enjoy about a good game, its not always about fancy visuals or massive open words. Its about a clear objectives, personal reward and replayability.
Not forgetting the asynchronous competitive edge you get with Autolog and your Speedwall. A decade ago it was making the early strides into driving you to beat your friends, now its a given. That said, its still satisfying to beat out a friends time by a few seconds.
Hot Pursuit is a firm favourite of mine, granted, but right now its the video game I need.
My speedwall is full of fun times, come at me Bro!