Community Review: Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

Community Review: Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

So Gran Turismo 5 has come and gone and, to an extent, disappointed a lot of people. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit has been the game that has sort of come in and surprised everyone, stealing the thunder of GT5 to become, arguably, the best racing game of 2010. But what did you think of Criterion’s interpretation of EA’s lucrative driving franchise?

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of any driving games outside of F-Zero GX and Super Mario Kart but, after being forced by my brothers-in-law to play the game over the weekend, I’ve really started to enjoy it.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit seems to walk a delicate line quite expertly. On the one hand it’s super accessible, but never at the expense of brilliant driver feedback or control. Most ‘arcade’ racers struggle with that balance – the cars feel too similar, it’s a little too forgiving – but Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit absolutely nails it. It’s fun, in-depth, constantly rewarding and has an incredible sense of speed.

Moving away from the sub-Fast and the Furious storylines has been a wise-choice on the part of Criterion. EA must have been sweating when they first saw how stripped back and bare Hot Pursuit was, but it’s a testament to how solid the mechanics and framework of the game is, that no-one seemed to notice of care when all the filler inbetween was removed in fovour of a tight focus on racing.

But enough of my uninformed ramblings – I’m keen to hear what you guys thought of it? Let us know in the comments below.


  • I think the distinction I draw between the two is that GT5 is by far the best DRIVING game of the year, while NFS:HP is hands down the better RACING game.

    GT5 nails the feel of driving a real car better than any game I’ve ever played. But I find the enjoyment is in the actual driving – I don’t really care if I’m racing other cars or just doing practice laps of a circuit on my own – it’s the physics and car handling that provide endless hours of enjoyment. In fact, if anything, I almost PREFER driving on my own so I can just concentrate on and enjoy the driving without worrying about having to beat the other cars.

    NFS, on the other hand, is just a flat out competitive adrenaline-rush kind of game that finds that big red “COMPETE!” button inside you and hammers the damn thing to breaking point. It’s a game where you’re constantly trying to beat the competition, whether that’s trying to wreck racers / cops, beat other racers to the finish line, bust all the racers as a cop, get more busts than the other cops in online play, or beat your friends times on the Speedwall through Autolog.

    But take away the competitive aspect of the game and just use the free-drive option to drive around on your own and it’s just a big yawn.

    They’re both 9/10 games for me, and I’ve probably put about the same amount of time into each so far because they both serve different needs.

    • Really well articulated! Apples and Oranges and both delicious.

      Also love your comment about driving alone in GT5 just to do laps and enjoy the driving experience, I spent the majority of my time with it doing just that! To me A-spec is a way of earning money to buy cars so I can enjoy driving them in practice mode!

  • I enjoy how the driving makes you feel like a badass, it’s easy to get the hang of while still enough of an enjoyable challenge.
    I thoroughly enjoy the soundtrack and often pick a favourite car and jump into free drive to roam around the map, learn the tracks, try get new high speeds, all the while listening to some great music. A good way to wind down in the afternoon, relaxing drive around the gorgeous virtual countryside 😉
    The online components work great as well with a small selection of modes but all good racing fun either cops vs racers or all out 8 hyper cars racing together, though I am unsure if there is a party lobby system to play with friends. Often I have to search for a match then hope there are spots that my friends can jump in with me, otherwise I have to back out and search again.

    It’s been the first need for speed I’ve gotten into since Most Wanted, though I did thoroughly enjoy Burnout Paradise and I’m hoping to see the same level of support for this game. I would recommend it to anyone, whether they’re interested in racing or not.

  • I haven’t had nearly enough time to play NFS (what with AC:B, DKCR, Fallout NV, etc), but from what I have played it is an excellent arcade racer. And that’s the difference between Hot Pursuit and GT5 – GT5 is a racing simulator, whilst NFS is an arcade racer. Both may be excellent, but they suit different audiences (IMO).

  • It would be great if they were making DLC for the PC version.
    It would also be good if Autolog was cross platform, cause none of my friends have NFS HP on PC 🙁
    I think I may have to eventually buy an Xbox 🙁
    But, the game is great, definitely returns to NFS roots. NFS High Stakes was the first ‘real’ game I owned, and I am happy with how NFS HP turned out. My younger brother isn’t as happy with it though, because you don’t buy cars and you can’t customize them.

  • It’s a very good & very fun racing game – you can see a lot of influence from Burnout, but I think bringing Criterion in to the franchise was definitely a good move.

    Only a few minor irritating things, nothing that should dissuade you from buying the game if you think you want it though:

    –Cop missions seem significantly easier than the racer missions. I’m not sure if that’s intentional or just me, but I would breeze through them.

    –There’s a bit of grinding to max out your rank once you finish all the events. However, I think multiplayer contributes and despite working nicely…

    –…there’s no splitscreen and I feel like it should have be an obvious inclusion.

    Apart from those minor things, it’s a great game. Well worth owning.

  • Oh hey! I was thinking of getting this! My dilemma:
    I’m not usually a big racing game fan. I don’t ‘get’ the appeal of GT5, and although Blur and Split Second looked nice, I was happy to leave those alone too. So I don’t really know what it is about Hot Pursuit that piqued my interest, but it did. I guess it just looks… fun? Plain, simple fun. That sort of raw, non-serious entertainment like Mario Kart, maybe?
    It’s only $45ish from the UK, and I was thinking of grabbing it for ~$35ish when zavvi had it on sale, but… get it, y/n?

      • I’ll Split/Second that recommendation [groan], especially because it’s often very cheap.

        S/S also has 2 player splitscreen, even on PC, something that seems to be lacking in Criterion’s current endeavours

  • Its a well made game but its nothing you haven’t done before and that the reason why its such a “meh” title to me personally. Played it for a couple of hours and I can’t see myself going back to it any time soon with all these other great games coming out. Might sell it to get DK Returns. I wonder if its worth more considering I haven’t used the online ticket?

    • I guess theoretically that’d make it worth $10 more (or however much they charge to buy an online ticket).

      But the hard part is actually PROVING you haven’t used it, so in practice you’ll probably find it’s worth no more.

  • Thank [insert local deity of choice] they have done away with the ‘fast and furious’ wannabe storylines. Those things actualy drove me away from the series for the past 7 years. The last one I bothered buying was the original NFS Underground, I own every game before that except Porsche but even the improved graphics and mechanics just could get me past the crap street racer culture they forced on us from Underground onwards. If thats gone I may actually pick this up as the first hot pursuit back in 98 was my favourite of the old series.

  • NFS HP is well worth picking up, especially for the $50 mark it seems to have been reduced to in the UK. Its fun, good looking, accessible and something you can pick up and play for 20 minutes or 2 hours. Autolog is a huge step forward in leaderboards and in creating competition “offline”. I was shocked at how addictive this game can get, forget that it has NFS in the title, judge it for the great arcade racer that it is. All the high review scores it got are pretty accurate imo, well worthy of a 9/10.

  • Overall I’m enjoying it, but as a fan of both Need For Speed (Underground 2, and Most Wanted), and the Burnout Series, it makes me want more from the game than what’s on offer.

    I wanted Free Drive mode to have random AI racers to bust, and I also wanted some basic car customization other than paint jobs. Also, I want to be able to do any race / track with any class of car, not predetermined series.

    Small gripes, but overall it’s great fun, especially online. Well worth the money.

  • Probably my biggest beef with it is a couple of the weapons. Can’t help but feel racers have an unfair advantage with the ability to drop spike strips when they also speed bost better than cops do. The cops have a diminished ability to get ahead of racers whereas the racers have an easy time getting ahead of cops. Sure you can slipstream but then you fall into the trap of being spiked again.

    The police helicopter is also pretty damn useless in my opinion. It basically advertises the position of the spikes (which it usually drops in a position you don’t want it to drop) by hovering over it. The road block is much more effective in slowing down racers that are ahead of you in that regard. As the ultimate cop weapon, it seems like it should be the cop’s first weapon. They need to make them drop exploding barrels like they did in Hot Pursuit 2 heh…that or just buzz around and get in the friggin way of the racer.

    It’s still fun, I just prefer the company of the old school Hot Pursuits more.

    • Hehe yeah, I find that when I use the helicopter the goddamn thing tends to spike ME more often than it does the racers!

  • This game got less enjoyable the more I played it. The AI gains gains the ability to perfectly drift, use all the shortcuts etc, which combined with the rampant rubberbanding, ended up making it a lot less fun. By the time I finished the racer career I was burnt out (no pun intended) and stopped playing.

  • I knew you secretly loved it, deep inside.

    Has anyone here played it with a steering wheel?
    The last time I had a chance was on NFS:Underground PC, and it felt really loose and rubbish.

    Be keen on trying it again on Hot Pursuit if it’s recommended!

    • A friend told me it was crap with a wheel.

      I basically make it a rule to only play sims with a wheel, arcade racers like NFS and PGR have to be with a controller…

  • NFS:HP is a great racing game for people that like plain old fun. The tight integration of your friends times is also excellent, encouraging you to try that race one more time….

  • I love this NFS, but the thing that has been bugging the hell out of me is the lack of split screen multiplayer, Criterion is gone with the online multiplayer componenet and neglecting one of the main reasons the first NFS were so fun, maybe Criterion will release a patch or DLC that has split screen but i am very dissapointed i may have to pay more for a mode which should have been included in the first place.

    One this i am surprised with is that each car has its own feel, drifting in the Zonda Cinque is much easier then in the Lamborghini Murciélago SV. Although when you dont have any friends on the Autolog it kinda becomes boring after a while.

  • I still don’t know how GT5 and Hot Pursuit get compared- it’s like comparing Fallout to Modern Warfare.

    They are striving to achieve fundamentally different experiences- the only common factor being cars.

  • I am on this game ALL DAY. This, and Mortal Kombat. XD
    Fun as hell to play with friends, though usually I have to challenge them in order to get a good race lolol.
    PSN: Zylerx
    I have this game on both systems, don’t know why. Probably forgot I had it the first time rofl.

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