NFS Hot Pursuit

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Review

We paid Criterion Games a visit in Guildford UK and played the latest NFS game: Need for Speed Hot Pursuit! With Hot Pursuit Criterion Games got the chance to create their own interpretation of Need for Speed and the result is quite impressive! Expensive exotic cars, fast races and thrilling pursuits are shaping the game. After a long time you can even sit behind the wheel of a police car and hunt down racers - NFS Hot Pursuit combines both sides of the law in this title.

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Cars / Handling

The fleet in NFS Hot Pursuit offers everything you can wish vor: From Lamborghini Gallardo in multiple versions, over Bugatti Veyron, Porsche 918 Spyder, up to Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss. Only Ferraris are once again left out.

While most of the luxurios cars are well known to race drivers, also the cops have most exotics available as cop-versions, to take down the racers. So you get a Nissan 370Z, a Dodge Viper or event a Lamborghini of the italian "Polizia".

Concerning the handling of the cars Criterion can't hide its Burnout-roots, because the cars handle very arcade-like and the differences between the cars, especially within a class, are not very noticable. The best indication for that is the fact, that the buttons for Nitro and handbrake were switched and are now the same controls as in Burnout. On the other hand, the arcade handling has its attractions, because long drawn-out drifts around corners are quite easy and fast manoeuvres without unintended trips into the green are easy possible.

The handling of the cars can be explained as „easy to learn, hard to master“: If you want to get good times, you need the feeling for the right drift degree and tend to drive on the opposite lane, as these actions will recharge your nitro faster.

Events / Game Modes

Regarding racers there are no huge surprises - you have classic races, time trials and pursuits with the police. As a cop you have to take down the racers, so there are several game modes to do that. For example you're set into a race and have to take down all race participants, before they cross the finish line.

An interesting mode is the „Interceptor-Mode“, which ranges over the whole world and you have to take down a racer. He can drive wherever he wants, you just have to be careful, not to lose him.

Additionally you have Preview-Events, where you have to make it in a certain time (with signal lights and siren) to a road block. When colliding with other cars or objects, you get punishment in form of additional seconds added to your time.


NFS Hot Pursuit is - as already mentioned - an arcade-game, so you have several „weapons“ to take down your enemies. Racers as well as cops have a palette of weapons available, they can use whenever they want, but only a limited number of times in an event.

Starting with the cops, we have the classic road block. Once activated, several police cars build a road block ahead, to stop the racers. You have a slight chance to get through the road block, because every time there is a small gap, where you can drive through. For the racer it's the only chance to see the gap in time, as most times there is no place left and right to avoid the road block.

Another weapon is the spike strip, which can be deployed during driving from the back of your car. The best way is to look in the rear view mirror and plant the spike strips at the right position. Cops can additionally order helicopter support, which flies ahead the fugitive and drops spike strips ahead of him.

Another powerful weapon is the EMP, which sends an electromagnetic pulse and destroys the car electronics for a short time range. In order to do that, you have to drive behind the opponent's car and try to have it in your sight a certain time. If you located him long enough, the pulse will be sent. When the racer is too far away or got out of your sight, the EMP fails, if you couldn't sight him long enough. So the best way to use the EMP is on long straight roads, where the racer can't draw aside.

But also the racer can defend himself and try to get rid of the cops. He can also use spike strips, so even when you're a cop, you should be careful driving behind a racer. If a cop tries to lock the racer with an EMP, the racer can use a „Jammer“, to disable the systems of the cop. This fails the EMP and also disables the cop's weapons and the minimap, which shows the position of the racer. This makes the jammer an ideal weapon to hide somewhere or lay a false trail.

When the cops come too close, the racer can activate its „Turbo“, which is much more powerful than the classic nitro. For a short time the car goes off like a rocket and you get a good margin between you and the cops. Additionally also the racer has an EMP, just like the police, he can use against cop cars or even other racers.

The weapons might seem a little bit odd for a Need for Speed Spiel game, but they fit quite good in the atmosphere of Hot Pursuit and gives both sides several possibilities to get unexpected advantages. Especially in multiplayer this is quite a fun factor, to give your friends a hard time. But be careful when playing in a team, as it's possible that you unintentionally use the weapons against your team mates...

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- Shocker, Junkie

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