Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
|a game by||Criterion Software Group Ltd.|
|Platforms:||XBox 360, PC, Playstation 3|
|User Rating:||7.5/10 - 8 votes|
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|See also:||Need For Speed Series|
There Aren't Many game mechanics that I outright hate. The obvious one is the quick time event, whoever thought that having to react to on-screen button prompts, and then be smacked down and made to repeat the sequence if you get it wrong is a fun way to play through an action sequence should be folded up, crammed into a dustbin and fired into the Grand Canyon using a hydraulic catapult There is at least one other though, the low-speed car chase.
You know the ones, the races where you have to tail a person, staying an arbitrary distance away to avoid being spotted, but without lagging an arbitrary distance that is too far behind them, otherwise you lose them. This is the vehicular equivalent of blue balls, as you hover 30 metres behind someone while slamming on the brakes if you accidentally over-squeeze the fun pedal.
Car chases should be about outrageous velocity, a total disregard for the rules of the road, and as many hard handbrake turns as you can make before your bicep pops out of your arm and slaps against the windscreen. Criterion know this, which is why you'll be going hell for leather at all times in Hot Pursuit. This is a game dedicated to the glory of highspeed police chases.
This is also the reason why Criterion promise that, unlike more recent entries in the series, you won't see any Ford Focuses stinking up this game. It's all about the most exotic, desirable vehicles in the world and driving them as if you're being chased by an Apache gunship. To ensure the police aren't left in a cloud of tyre smoke, the Burnout developer has decided to bend the rules a bit Imagine if a police force, instead of paying their executives astonishing salaries, fired the lot and blew taxpayers' money on a set of Bugatti Veyron pursuit vehicles. Imagine the terror of a gang of chain-smoking 13 year-olds in a stolen Cavalier as the fastest production car on the planet flicks on the blues and twos behind them. In Hot Pursuit, the cops are just as kitted out as the racers.
Your playground is an enormous open-world environment rather than the choked, congested streets of a city. This makes the game all about blasting along arrow-straight highways, around sweeping curves and up winding mountain roads riddled with hairpins.
This being Criterion, Hot Pursuit is a stunningly beautiful game that thunders along at an electric pace. It's truly a developer and license marriage made in petrolhead heaven.
Tom And Jerry
The mode that EA was allowing eager journos to get their hands on was a two-player cat-and-mouse chase mode. One player slips into the bucket seat of a racer, the other one parks their doughnut-fed buttocks into the cockpit of a similarly pacey sports car, replete with black-and-white police livery.
The racer's job is to get a certain distance from the rozzer for a certain amount of time, whereas the filth is charged with knocking seven shades out of the suspect until their car cartwheels to a halt This isn't about Burnout insta-crashes, as the racer has an damage bar that must be built up until they hit 100%, which takes a fair amount of bumping and shunting. In a neat touch it never leaps straight up to full damage, always halting at 99% beforehand so the racer has one last chance to get away. If they do, the damage meter drops back down to 90% as a stay of execution. This sounds artificial but it works beautifully.
In addition to driving skills, you get power-ups that are unlocked depending on how the chase is unfolding. The racers get the opportunity to scramble police radar, giving them vital moments to dash down an off-road corner or hide behind a bit of scenery, before blasting off in the other direction. The cops get backup in the shape of deployable road blocks and even helicopters that drop stingers on the road ahead of fleeing perps. These boosts don't break the game's suspension of disbelief, and they help to ensure that chase remain closer and more tense for longer.
EA has only shown off a tiny fraction of Hot Pursuit and we have no idea what the single-player game will offer, but we're already intoxicated like we've been huffing petrol fumes. Rather than appealing to the seven people who still drive around in understeery, front-wheel-drive circles in Burger King car park, Need For Speed is back to what it should be about, deeply desirable, totally unattainable sports cars.