Burnout: Hot Pursuit

This is Burnout. That's the first thing that crossed my mind in the middle of my race against a group of other writers. And why not: Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit and Burnout share a pedigree.

Electronic Arts' Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit promises to go back to the series roots with exotic cars and high-speed police chases, but the roots that the game is going back to feels more like Burnout's and that's a great thing.

The Need for Speed racing series has passed through a plethora of development studios, almost always managing to rack up significant sales. But over the years the series lost me to other entries into the arcade racing genre. Top of that list was Criterion Games' Burnout series which delivered over-the-top crashes and an invigorating sense of speed to the genre.

So it's no surprise that I fell head-over-hells for Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit when I had a chance to play it last week. With Criterion helping development on the game, a lot about Hot Pursuit felt familiar.

Before giving us a chance to run through a complete, albeit all-too brief, race in the game, the developers explained that with Hot Pursuit they wanted to bring the Need for Speed series "back to its roots of exotic cars and epic drives."

They also showed off the autolog, unveiled at Electronic Arts' GamesCom press conference earlier in the week. Autolog is meant to make the game more communal, challenging and one-upping friends easier.

After the short talk we dropped into a race, running through a track in the game's Seacrest County, an open world that is four times larger than Burnout Paradise's Paradise City.

The game's controls weren't just familiar, they were Burnout, or just nearly. The handling did feel a bit different with true slipstreaming and cars that are meant to behave much more realistically, and uniquely, then they ever did in the Burnout games.

There were also some visual tweaks, like a rear view mirror that showed colour-coded silhouettes instead of the actual cars to make it easier to distinguish who is who in a race or pursuit. There were also plentiful, beautiful weather effects, like mist kicking up from wet pavement.

I managed to maintain first place until the bottom half of my last lap, blowing a turn and wrapping my car around a solid barrier. The slip up cost me the race and reminded me of some of the soul-crushing, best moments of virtual racing in the Burnout series.

Hot Pursuit is the sort of game that's going to sink its claws into me when it hits the PS3, Wii and Xbox 360 on November 16, and I'm going to like it.


    Though can you come back after having a horrible crash? And can you force other players (AI or Human) to make errors and cause crashes? These I think were important aspects to the Burnout series.

    "The game’s controls weren’t just familiar, they were Burnout, or just nearly."

    fuck yeah! That is fantastic news... and also 4x the size of Paradise City! Can't wait...

    "November 16th"

    That's not so great... :( November has Gran Turismo, Call Of Duty, Assassin's Creed and I'm sure there is more that I can think of just now...

      A friend and I were discussing yesterday how ridiculous the release schedule is in November, now it seems it's even bigger. Playstation Move also due in Aus in November, right?

        Late response here, but no, the Move is only 2 weeks away... Sept 16th or so...

    The last Need For Speed game I bought was Hot Pursuit 2.

    This is the first time I am interested in getting back to the series.

    I just hope Burnout will also go back to the Revenge and 3 formula, could not stand the NFS Underground drive around aimlessly formula.

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