It’s been a long year for fans of the racing-style games. With very few games launching within the genre, its become a bit of a challenge for those who enjoy those racing-esque styled games, or enjoy the thrill of driving on the open road, bolting away from the police. Other than Need for Speed: Most Wanted, practically nothing else has shown its face on the market for racing fans.
So lets take a quick trip back in time, not too far back though, but just back far enough so that we can find a great racing game that you maybe haven’t had the chance to check up on yet. Or for those who are just antsy for another race. If you’ve missed out on Criterion’s reboot of the Hot Pursuit sub-series, then you have a lot of work to do over the holidays!
This racer not only provides those thrilling, high-speed chases and races, but a fun career mode with a cops-and-robbers kind of vibe that will keep you hooked for hours to come.
Welcome to Seacrest County
Here in the fictional world that Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is set in, there are dozens upon dozens of race tracks for you to compete on, or to bust a few street-racing thugs. And in all but the Wii version unfortunately, you can compete online with other racers in more game modes such as Hot Pursuit, Interceptor, and Race.
The new Autolog system is a shining part of the game that keeps both you and your friends glued to the screen in one never-ending competition. Autolog connects you and your friends to an online leaderboard to compare your stats, motivating you into become the better racer of each track in the game.
It’s a never-ending spiral of winning and losing your records to your friends, which is why I think it is so fun and addictive. They beat you, you beat them again and again and again… And thanks to the Autolog system, jumping in and retrying that race you just lost your record in is one easy click of the button away.
Your career begins now
The standout element of the game however is not the Autolog system, as good as it is, but it is the option to cruise through the game in career mode as either a cop or a racer. And the best part of it is that you can choose, at whatever time what part you wish to take part in.
If busting racers as a cop isn’t your thing, then you don’t have to do it! But no matter which path you choose to go down, each career mode offers up an equally thrilling experience.
Think of it this way: in one instance, you’re driving as fast as possible, drifting around tight turns, avoiding spike strips at the last moment, and needling through roadblocks, in the other, you’re trying to bash a racer’s car until they crash, taking on a much more aggressive take to the race-like experience.
On top of the career mode, you also have an entire system of collecting bounty points for either driving superbly and winning races, or by quickly busting the other drivers as a cop, and doing so in record time. Points can also be earned for beating records, wrecking other cars, or by even obtaining top speed records for that specific track.
The more bounty points you earn, the higher your rank becomes as either a cop or a racer. Which as a result, unlocks you more exotic cars to race as either a cop or a street racer, and unlocks you new gadgets to toy with while out on the road. Cops get helicopters spike strips, EMPs, and roadblocks, while racers can use pretty much all the same gear, minus the roadblocks in favor of a jamming device that will make cop gear useless for a short period.
Right out of the gate, Hot Pursuit is a thrilling experience that delivers an amazing experience on both sides of the law, and an excellent take on control and handling of your car. And in a game that spans from the sandy coastline of the shore, to the arid desert out west, to the snowy mountain peaks to the north, there is no shortage in the variety of races to ever begin to bore you.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit cruises past the checkered flag in record time even after being left to dust on store shelves for over two years, keeping competition in the rear-view mirror.
Replay Value: High