Here’s Why You Should Be Busting Out The Old Need For Speed Right Now

Here’s Why You Should Be Busting Out The Old Need For Speed Right Now
Photo: Toni Scott

Modern gaming, especially in the racing world, has made enormous strides forward in recent years, with tire wear, realistic slipstreaming, and laser-scanned real world courses dominating feature lists. But sometimes, it’s fun to just throw a disc in, and harmlessly slam a multimillion dollar exotic off of walls, and for that, I think the best place to look is the classics.

Let’s start off this series with my personal favourite from childhood, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2, released in 2002. I was right at that sweet spot in my life where I could be in absolute awe of it. The NFS series has produced three Hot Pursuit titles, in chronological order of release: NFS 3: Hot Pursuit, NFS: Hot Pursuit 2, and NFS: Hot Pursuit. And we thought Valve can’t count.

While the first game was still finding the sweet spot of what made racing games truly fun and had graphics that have aged to the point of being difficult to see on a modern TV, and the last game was a bit of a Burnout clone with actual supercars instead of imaginary ones, NFS: Hot Pursuit 2 was released at the arguable peak of the series’ strength, with the right blend of semi-realistic graphics, arcade-style handling, and a ridiculously over-the-top Be The Cop mode, where you could call in a helicopter to literally drop bombs on speeders.

With one of the best intros for a video game of all time (you can fight me on that one) and a killer car list that shaped my tastes immeasurably in the decades to come, not to mention an unbelievably good soundtrack for the era (how many racing games put Rush in their playlist?), I think it’s worth blowing the dust off the PS2 to give it another go. Plus, if you have some pent up aggression from being trapped inside you’d like to blow off, you can ram speeding supercars off the road as a cop in a Corvette Z06.

Check out some nicely modernised footage of every Millennial’s favourite supercar ripping through the streets of-definitely-not-Italy below.


  • When I sold off my PS2 games collection, there were only a couple of games that made the list of not being sold (I had close to 70 games as this was peak mid 20s disposable income era). Amongst the GTA games which I had either imported or bought before they were banned so they were all the uncensored versions, I only kept Wipeout 3 Special Edition, Colin 2.0 and… NFS Hot Pursuit 2..

    It definitely holds up!!

  • Funnily enough about 2 weeks ago I went through a NFS nostalgia trip. I’m completely exhausted on racing games built in open worlds, and was yearning for the days of exotic cars and big open road loops.

    I was hoping NFS: The Run would fill that need – a game that seemingly passed me by completely when it came out – but alas its hot garbage, weighed down by an overly contrived and desperately cinematic presentation. It felt depressingly inorganic.

    So further back I went, digging out my old copy of PS1 copy of NFS: High Stakes. While it looks terrible on modern HDTVs, and is passable on PC (which also has a cockpit view), for me it was a best played on my PSP, with the smaller screen helping to mask its age.

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