The long-running racing series gets a timely boost
Need for Speed is a racing franchise that's not afraid to reinvent itself every so often.
With Hot Pursuit, developing duties have been handed to Criterion Games, best known as the makers of the excellent Burnout series. Hot Pursuit loses a lot of the vehicle tweaking elements that Need for Speed veterans may be used to and boils the experience down to a simple, thrilling game of cops versus racers.
The premise is that Seacrest County has become a target for speed junkies – so much so that the local law enforcers have taken to driving Lamborghinis and Corvettes in order to catch up with the bad guys. You get to play on both sides of the law. As a racer you need to get to the finish line first, whilst avoiding police entanglement. As a cop, you need to take down the racers as quickly as possible.
Make no mistake; Hot Pursuit is not about simulating real-life driving physics. It's a pure arcade racer; a direct descendent of 1980s' games such as Outrun, mixed with an added pinch of World's Wildest Police Videos.
You don't have to stick to a strict racing line; instead you can fling vehicles around corners at terrifying speeds and, if you're playing as a racer, you're actually rewarded for bad or dangerous driving, such as hurtling into oncoming traffic.
Both cops and racers get a handful of power-up-style weapons at their disposal, including spike strips and electromagnetic pulses.
Cops also get roadblocks and helicopter support, while racers get jammers, which can temporarily prevent the police from deploying their choppers, and an extra-fast turbo boost.
Career mode is backed up by an excellent online multiplayer version of the game that has some clever social networking elements built into it.
Graphics are among the best you'll see in any racer, with highly realistic licensed cars and some stunning scenery to look at if you can take your eyes off the road.
You'll need a pretty powerful PC to play this one – click here for the full requirements. And if we had one real criticism, it's that Hot Pursuit can eventually get a little repetitive after a while.
Age rating: PG
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Hot Pursuit boils the experience down to a simple, thrilling game of cops versus racers
Exhilarating, seat-of-your-pants racing; stunning graphics; great online multiplayer
Can get a bit repetitive after a while
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