E3 2010: NFS: Hot Pursuit Hands On Preview - Chasers & Racers
Written Monday, June 28, 2010 By Dan WebbView author's profile
So what made the series great? Criterion were that on the ball at this year’s E3 that they actually told us what we wanted to hear: exotic cars, epic landscapes – of which there are 100 miles of road – and of course, the main ingredient: cops.
A big focus for Criterion at this year’s E3 – other than the racing itself – are the things that they plan to do with social networking within Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit – they’re looking to create a connected experience by putting a social network at the heart of it. Meet, “Need For Speed Autolog” – an in-game social network that tracks your friends’ progress, gives you news, gives you a “Most Wanted” friend, allows you to send and receive messages (and pictures) and more. Two of the things that Criterion touched upon a little further was Autolog’s “Feed” and “Recommends” aspects.
“Need For Speed Feed” is the part of the Autolog which you can access from any web-enabled device, and it’s basically a live updated network that changes depending on what your friends do. “Autolog Recommends” on the other hand creates personalised challenges based on what your friends are doing online – so if a friend sets a new personal best, it’ll give you the option to go and beat it. If you beat that personal best then you can gloat to the high heavens. With the social networking side out the way, Criterion moved on to focus a little on the career mode.
Luckily for us we even managed to sneak a bit of hands-on time with title’s “Chase” mode that pits one racer against one chaser – in other words: a cop vs. a street racer. Taking turns with both sides of the law, we found the handling on both to be a joy as we were often able to drift round corners at high speeds with a certain amount of style and panache – something that the celebrated Need For Speeds excelled at. Both the racer and the chaser each have a handful of few tools at their disposal, and it not only helps keep you on your toes, but definitely raises the stakes of the mode. The cops can use EMPs, roadblocks and even call in the support of a chopper, while the racers can use jammers, decoys and nitrous to gain an advantage – all of which are assigned to the d-pad – but the end goals stay the same: if you’re a cop, whittle down the street racer’s energy till it’s 0% - damage is only aesthetic, so don’t worry too much about that – and as the racer, you have to get out of the cop’s detection radius.
If I’m being honest, the thing that Criterion focused most on in their presentation was the thing I cared the least about: the whole social networking malarkey. More and more developers are trying to put this into their games these days, you know, because “social networking” is the in-thing, when truth be told, it’s just a distraction from why we play games... to immerse ourselves. I’m not sure I care if so-and-so on my friends list beats my lap time because truthfully, I’m not playing games to compete with them – although I’m sure a few of you are – but for me, the reason why we awarded NFS: Hot Pursuit our Racer of the Show award was because not only did it handle like the Need For Speeds of yesteryear, but it seemed as if Criterion understood what made the series so popular to start with: fast cars and intense chases. Although we’d like to have seen more of the straight up races and how the cops play their part there, on first impressions, things are ticking along quite nicely.
Need For Speed is racing onto consoles this coming November.