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17 Reviews

Need For Speed Hot Pursuit

Criterion takes the wheel

Super-quick cars speeding down slick stretches of tarmac, clipping competitors' back bumpers until they spin into spectacular write-offs.

Sliding around corners and slaloming between oncoming traffic before missing a split-second opportunity to avoid a head-on collision.

That's the essence of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit - where Fast and Furious-inspired races take place in exotic cars, while the Police give chase in some pretty pimped out rides of their own.

More than a little bit Burnout Paradise, then - and what might we expect from Criterion? But this is much more than a copycat endeavour - the studio's produced a unique thrill ride, deserving of any racing fan's consideration.
After a few years of inconsistency, Need For Speed is back in business.

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It would be daft to think that Criterion wouldn't pinch bits of Burnout for Hot Pursuit - but it's good to see that the studio's stuck to the best bits.

The solid, sleek presentation of the vehicles and the beautifully lush environments are all present. Yet as always seems to be the case in luxurious racers, the visuals are at their prettiest in the weather is at its ugliest.

Sliding along glistening, wet roads in a kitted out Police Lamborghini with your wheels kicking up spats of rain water looks as good as it feels.

Streaking into a tunnel, your flashing lights bounce off the walls creating a red and blue club-scene that'll distract you from the oncoming lorry.

The feel behind the wheel has Burnout traits as well. It's weighty and responsive - if a little sensitive - but ultimately easy to get to grips with and geared towards fun.

Drifting, for example is easily accomplished with a dab of the brakes and a sharp turn on the analogue stick just before a bend sending you skidding around a corner.

Boost is given and activated on a Burnout basis as well. Drive on the wrong side of the highway, within inches of oncoming traffic or stay within an opponents slip-stream and you'll be rewarded with nitrous.

Release it with X/A on the straights to get the most out of it, or use it to blast your way back onto the best racing line after a misjudged corner.

As always, racing is as much about combat as it is sprinting to first place. Takedowns get the usual slow-mo cinematic in an almost Road Rash style competition of Racer vs. Racer and Racer vs. Cop.

POP THE TRUNK
This time, however, Criterion's introduced a small but significant set of weapons. You won't find your car equipped with homing missiles and bombs but both cops and racers get spike strips and EMPs to put opponents out of commission.

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Exclusive to the Police is helicopter support, which is almost like a blue shell equivalent, pestering whoever's in first place with more spike-strips, and road blocks.

The latter sees the boys in blue come out in full force to form a barrier of cars bar a small gap for the player to squeeze through (you'd think they could just invest in another cop car).

Racers' unique weapons include a Jammer (the only way to confuse that pesky air support) and a turbo, which sends your car shooting off for a short period in a boost that exceeds the usual nitrous.

The weapons add an extra tactical layer to the races that would usually just consist of smashing into each other and some increased moments of tension.

Seeing a Police road-block in the distance, for example, makes for one of those head back "Hold on" moments as you desperately search for the gap and line yourself up in time to make it through.

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