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Supplier: Criterion
Price: $49.95Reviewed: Dec 9, 2010

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit
Author: T_H_Schafer -- Posted: 2010-12-09
I'll start with this, I love Burnout and I used to love Need for Speed before they started getting into the import, car-modification culture. I loved Need for Speed when it was simply about racing fancy cars I would never afford while running from the po-po, something I would never dare do(probably). That said, I may be the perfect candidate to play the revamp of Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, but my instincts tell me that I'm not the only one.

Here's how the game plays out. You have a career mode where you level up as a racer or as the police. Each group gets faster/awesomer cars as they progress. They also upgrade their weapons, things like spike strips and EMP blasts which blast the offending car into walls and such. The cops have road blocks and helicopters to call on to slow down racers. Those being pursued have jammers to temporarily block cop communications and a second uber-turbo boost to make haste in tight situations. As a racer, you can build your regular boost meter by driving all crazy like, a la Burnout. This means driving in the wrong lane, drifting and almost careening into unsuspecting daily commuters.

As this is a Need for Speed game, the cars are licensed recreations of actual vehicles you can drive in real life for lots and lots and lots of real life money. And that is somewhat of a problem. The Burnout series featured cars that may look like real life counterparts, but they were far from it. Because of this they were allowed to let the cars get all squished in serious wrecks, as they should. In NFS, you can put all kinds of zeros behind your MPHs, and say hello to some Subaru head on but the cars simply end up with cracked windshields and a massive set of scratches. Example of a car without and with damage from a head-on collision at 253 MPH:

And this sort of boggles my mind. Anyone who knows a thing or two about car wrecks knows that it is because the car crumples up front that you have a higher chance of surviving in a wreck. Actual auto manufacturers should give video game players more credit and allow their cars to perform accordingly, because if I'm going to buy a car, I'm certainly going to go for the one that has actual crash survivability. If the car didn't crunch at all, I'd simply be so much meat flavored Jell-o in my pristine exotic super car after my accidents, and I'd rather not be Jell-o.

But this doesn't really break the game. I didn't mind the lack of credible vehicle damage while I was outrunning the cops at 250 MPH while online with people from Germany and France. I felt kind of sophisticated. The game is gorgeous too, especially in the levels where it has just stopped raining. The sun is out, the roads are glazed with the morning mist and you're car looks like it just stepped out of the shower. Yowza is what you would say in that situation. Also, speeding through tunnels as the police makes the whole thing light up like that crazy scene in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, where Gene Wilder goes nuts on the boat.

Overall it's a great revamp for Need for Speed. Criterion really nailed the feel of the original series while giving it enough new features to make it fresh and new with that new car smell. For fans of the original, it's a buy, for fans of Burnout, it's pretty awesome too.

Overall Rating:
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