Published on September 27th, 2010 | by Swaine Dillinger1
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit – Preview
When you’re slamming a Porsche 918 Spyder into an s-bend at 180mph on a wet mountain road, the blues and twos on your back are probably the least of your concerns. At least, they would be if it wasn’t your best mate driving that Bugetti Veyron-shaped cop car, determined to take you down in the quickest time possible as revenge for beating his lap time on one of Seacrest County’s coastal roads.
Need for Speed, then, is still all about those exotic cars, the beautiful landscapes and the thrill of the chase, just as it was all those years ago. But Criterion isn’t going to settle for just that, as it’s about to reinvent the way you look at social gaming. Forget standard leaderboards, Twitter notifications and Blur’s pioneering – and at the time fantastic – social network integration as, quite frankly, Criterion’s Autolog system makes any previous attempts at social networking look like child’s play.
It’ll feel familiar to anyone with a Facebook account, and is filled with a variety of different, yet easily navigable and plainly laid out menu screens collating the latest data from your – and your friends’ – world of Hot Pursuit. There are pages to check out your friends’ latest times, upload and comment on photos (complete with metatagging of location and player names), post statuses and leap directly into challenges. It’s completely passive too – the system will automatically pick up on a friend beating your times and recommend you stick one back on them the next time you boot up the game. It’s the ultimate portal for friends to keep in touch in-game, and a system that fills in the gaps neglected by PSN itself.
Of course, with Criterion at the wheel you’re guaranteed a great time on the road, too. Hot Pursuit’s handling feels significantly heavier than what we had been expecting, and just like Burnout, Hot Pursuit’s cars’ rear-ends do tend to swing out, but you’ll have a harder time battling with the wheel to get them back in a straight line after a successful drift. It’s a wonderful halfway house between the outrageously arcade feel of Burnout Paradise and the realism posed by the licensed cars, with each feeling subtly different to drive.
There are still plenty of similarities to keep the Burnout fans happy, though. Boost is earned by drifting, avoiding near misses and driving on the wrong side of the road, and Seacrest County is filled with plenty of shortcuts to give you the drop on your rivals. But the most important thing to bear in mind, however, is that this is Criterion at their very best, and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit may yet prove to be the genre’s shining (red and blue) light.