Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Hands-On Preview - War on the Streets
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Out of all the games coming out in 2010, we've probably played more of Criterion's Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit than any other game. It wowed us at E3, winning our 'Racer of the Show' awardit delighted us in sunny Cologne at Gamescom; and we spent many an hour on it at PAX. It had nothing to do with the swarms of booth babes employed to roam the stand... honest.

Last week though, we headed into EA's Guildford office and home of Criterion, to get our first proper extensive hands on with the November title and it somehow impressed us even more... if that was possible.

The purpose of this latest hands-on was to show off its hugely addictive multiplayer modes which have the don't-wanna-pass-the-pad aura surrounding them; the true keystone of all successful multiplayer games.

Before delving into the finer intricacies of the online multiplayer, it was time to warm up with a couple of single player races involving a time trial or two, a race and a takedown event: playing as a cop. Everything you do in-game goes towards the two progression systems, depending on which of the two factions you line up behind: racer & chaser – i.e. the cop. If you want to flick between the two though, by all means, you can, and rather than having to grind for hours to unlock the best car, Senior Producer, Matt Webster informs us that it’ll only take you three races to unlock the box art car. That being said, there are plenty of unlocks dispersed throughout as you progress through the career, with additional unlocks coming as you earn more experience points and rank up each career.

Now that we were suitably warmed up, there was nothing else to do but to show our chompers to the opposition and face-off in some 4 vs 4 ‘Hot Pursuit’ online matches; with 4 coppers trying to take down 4 racers, before they reach the finish line.

It’s somewhat similar to the mode we went hands-on with in LA at this year’s E3, but with 8 players instead of 2, and it’s a hell of a lot more interactive, intense and definitely more high-octane. While the objective of the cop at E3 was to take down the racer, it was the job of the racer to escape the grasp of the cops by getting out of their reach. Here? Nothing as civil, as the 4 cops must batter the hell out of the 4 racers, wrecking their cars, before they reach the finish line. The end result? Absolute carnage, a ton of mayhem and bundles of fun.

This isn’t just a straight up race with a bit of argy-bargy, oh no. It’s all-out war, and thanks to a handful of useful weapons, the race is tactical as well as explosive. To survive as a racer, jamming police communications can be a godsend, as can the turbo – which is a lot quicker than the nitrous – and the incapacitating spike strips, which I’d say was the racer’s greatest weapon if timed right.

The EMP for the cops can be one of most powerful weapons out, especially if your timing is impeccable. The EMP basically works like a charge of power in front of you and scrambles the electrics of its eventual target – friend or foe! However, lining up the shot and hitting the racer is a different kettle of fish. Using it on the corner is risky, but can reap the biggest reward if you’re successful, causing the racer to roll or leaving you with the perfect op to nosedive into your opponent’s lovely rendered chassis laughing at the disabled heap of junk you left behind – an expensive and gorgeous heap of junk, mind. On the straight is the most effective place to use it, but with a lack of manual targeting, make sure you don’t waste it on a fellow cop.

If that fails, the police have helicopters to call in, who drop spike strips in front of the racers and more importantly, road blocks to slow your foes down. Whether you’re a cop or a racer though, beware, you only have a limited amount of each to use per race, so use them wisely.

It’s a game mode that be either played as a lone-wolf or as a team. If anything, although you get more experience points if you win, sometimes as a racer, it may be necessary to sacrifice a teammate to save your own ass – something which I unashamedly admit that I did on more than one occasion. Working together though as the cops is more viable, and with 4 opponents to whittle down, it seems stupid for all 4 of you to concentrate on the one car.

As you’re probably well aware as well, part of the Need For Speed franchise’s lure is the whole high risk, big reward shortcuts that have been present in all of the successful iterations of the franchise. Hot Pursuit is no different and while there may be over 100 miles of road – making it 4 times bigger than Burnout Paradise – you can expect 30% more in terms of shortcuts according to Webster.

Our experience with shortcuts in the hands-on ranged from: “Holy crap, I’ve been on this shortcut for about 30-odd seconds now” to “Wow, I really didn’t see the turning for that one.” The former was a result of a dirt road that swooped underneath the track amidst the pillars holding the highway up above our heads, bringing us back out on the tarmac after what seemed like an eternity, while the latter was the result of racing in the dark. The 3 hour hands-on was enough to satisfy our shortcut needs though.

Ever since the announcement of their title at this year’s E3, Criterion has been keen to push the idea that they’re instilling 3 core tenets back into the Need For Speed franchise: epic drives, exotic cars and cops; three things that the original series built its success upon. While it’s obvious that these are all present and correct in Hot Pursuit, I’d argue that Need For Speed was a lot more than that. It’s about these intense battles, the risks of taking a shortcut and the thrill of the chase... something that Criterion has managed to instil in the title as well, which bodes very well indeed for this festive period.

Need For Speed is scheduled for a release on November 16th and November 19th in North America and Europe respectively.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 359
Comment #1 by mejimmeh45
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 08:00:48 PM
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I'm tempted to get this game but I've only ever liked 2 need 4 speed games. They should make a new Burnout games after this.

Forum Posts: 16
Comment #2 by Piztup
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 08:11:11 PM
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After picking up Shift, and enjoying it, im definatly getting this. I did feel upto Shift, that the NFS franchise had hit a wall. Thankfully Shift made me think otherwise, and seeing that Criterion had done this version, i was well and truely sold.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #3 by RAMO3000GT
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 08:13:30 PM
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i just hope this game is way better than N4S prostreet, i know it was supposed be realistic with the LEGAL races, but come on, you'd basically hit 1 speed bump goin at like 50 miles per hour and you'll pretty much total your car...

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #4 by elsnoggler
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 08:13:35 PM
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Fun as it sounds, it seems like something wherein the novelty would wear quickly. I'll probably borrow it from a mate or put it on my rental list, if perhaps for a somewhat extended period of time.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #5 by asilent boom
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 09:03:20 PM
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Can't wait for the demo, will probably be picking this up on the day of its release.

I'd kill for a sequel to Burnout Paradise.

Forum Posts: 446
Comment #6 by dertswa687o
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 09:20:50 PM
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Can anyone confirm if this will have free roam kind of like NFS Most Wanted? Where you could get in pursuits and stuff if you wanted and not be in a race.

Forum Posts: 10
Comment #7 by Or!on
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 09:51:03 PM
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@2, Shift was the changer for you? oh dear. The game was exactly the same as pro street all tracks and cars as the same anyway. Need for speed as sucked since Underground 2, now they gave it to Criterion, great... they might aswell just called it a burnout game. i will get it no doubt, i cant wait, but need for speed and EA have let me down over the years.

Forum Posts: 23
Comment #8 by chrisarcade
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 12:47:28 AM
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I loved Hot Pursuit 2 on PS2...can't wait for this

Forum Posts: 38
Comment #9 by FATCRAZYDUDE
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 01:49:16 AM
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im definaqtly going to get this it looks awsome

Forum Posts: 129
Comment #10 by Earth Djinn
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 01:57:46 AM
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God I want this so bad.

Forum Posts: 370
Comment #11 by Trikke
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 03:14:13 AM
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Never liked NFS, but I loved Burnout Paradise. This one with Criterion Games in play, will be a must buy to me.

Forum Posts: 321
Comment #12 by KiddingPigeon
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 03:55:36 AM
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1st day purchase! :D because it looks ace, and without first day purchase chances of a 1000 is near impossible as I have learnt from other NFS games :p

Forum Posts: 545
Comment #13 by lizard9979
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 12:41:14 PM
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Greatest driving game I have ever owned was Burnout Paradise. I am excited about Criterion making another racer. I will own this game soon after day 1.

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #14 by AwsmGuitar
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 03:01:18 PM
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Looks good but hasnt convinced me yet. paradise was awesome, lets see how this turns out

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #15 by JayFai
Wednesday, September 29, 2010 @ 04:33:57 PM
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this is a must-buy! :) awesome, cannot wait any longer xD

Forum Posts: 291
Comment #16 by ViNyLek
Wednesday, September 29, 2010 @ 05:06:20 PM
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Looking awesome. Will definiteyl get this some time in 2011 when the price drops and I am done playing all other amazing games lol

Forum Posts: 197
Comment #17 by 2Bad2Fast
Thursday, September 30, 2010 @ 04:42:44 AM
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my problem is ther is no * in car view* and with out it , its just going to be an other most wanted or undercover.

thy need to bring back nfs underground.

but they wont bring it back , i wont juge this game tomuch but form what i seen its like nfs undercover.

beside undergorund made the nfs what it is to day.

( idc what you hatters say undergound 1 and 2 out sold any other nfs game)

dont get me rong i have all nfs game's and shift was very good but ther going back to this dum chasing type of game.

Forum Posts: 508
Comment #18 by mitchcraft1980
Thursday, September 30, 2010 @ 10:02:26 AM
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I honestly think they should rename their games since NFS CARBON because since then every game they have brought out to me just is not NFS, NFS to me was being able to upgrade your car to have neon lights , coloured lights, wicked interior and a great choice of totaly different styles of racing to any other car racing games out there, UNDERGROUND 2 and CARBON was what NFS was all about then they went and changed it to a completely different style so why keep the name of a game which it is nothing alike any more ??? My friends and i always have wanted to see them bring out a game that had the great upgrades in UNDERGROUND 2 with the things i mentioned previously , the neons etc etc ... and then the races with CARBON .. NOW THAT WOULD BE NFS !!! Not the previous games they have brought out. I have not played this yet but i hope to god that its in teh style that NFS is known for and not just another typical racing game like any other

Forum Posts: 15
Comment #19 by CarbineFiVe0
Thursday, September 30, 2010 @ 10:12:15 AM
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Don't compare this to any NFS game since Hot Pursuit 2 because there isn't the JDM kinda scene in this one, it's gone back to its roots.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #20 by animefrawg
Thursday, September 30, 2010 @ 01:55:04 PM
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I WANT THIS!!!!!!!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #21 by finalninja
Thursday, September 30, 2010 @ 05:15:31 PM
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game looks nice

Forum Posts: 14795
Comment #22 by Webb [STAFF]
Friday, October 01, 2010 @ 06:15:12 AM
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@#18 - Actually, before NFS went that way, it was about cop chases and this is going back to its roots. You know, when it was successful :P

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #23 by Skulls Kaiser
Saturday, October 02, 2010 @ 02:17:35 PM
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@#18 NFS was all about chasing and racing and NO neon lights. I bet that's where you started playing NFS games( Underground 2 and Carbon). I've been playing since NFS Hot Pursuit 2. I'm pretty sure people have played the original Hot Pursuit.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #24 by uhFraid
Saturday, October 02, 2010 @ 07:41:43 PM
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YAY, interesting settings.

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #25 by Feoxic
Sunday, October 03, 2010 @ 04:56:28 AM
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I cant w8 to get this game ! awesome crash models and speed feelin, this will be the best NFS game since NFS 1,2,3 and 4 :D cheers

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #26 by Mir19gea
Sunday, October 03, 2010 @ 01:29:40 PM
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Personally, I loved every N4S I played before except for Pro street and Shift.
I liked the fun of reaching the ultimate speed and evading police.
This release is going to be awesome ..

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #27 by TomIzawesomer
Tuesday, October 05, 2010 @ 10:14:13 AM
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This i cannot wait for, im gonna go pre-purchase today!

Forum Posts: 300
Comment #28 by Pakhair
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 12:24:31 PM
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It's gonna be awesome

Forum Posts: 508
Comment #29 by mitchcraft1980
Sunday, October 10, 2010 @ 10:14:33 AM
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so finally they have went back to what we all loved NFS for, maybe game creators do actually listen to their fans now and again :)

They have made me a happy man

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #30 by tkdmaster328
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 @ 07:54:37 PM
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@#17 Even if Underground shipped the most copies, Hot Pursuit 1 and 2 were both the best reviewed and the favorite of players.

As one of the few people who started playing way back when the first NFS game was released, I say anyone who thinks the old games suck has no idea what they're talking about. Those games, not Underground, made NFS what it is. The only reason so many people stuck with the franchise through the hit-and-miss string of recent titles is the reputation established by the early games.

Forum Posts: 10
Comment #31 by batteredbrick
Thursday, October 14, 2010 @ 02:35:29 AM
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The game look amazing after playing shift i might just have to buy this.

Forum Posts: 21
Comment #32 by gamesmaster360
Friday, October 15, 2010 @ 05:09:17 AM
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this looks class.have the achievements been printed yet.just hope there arent too many online.i thought shift was quite good

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #33 by finalninja
Saturday, October 16, 2010 @ 05:44:58 PM
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Game Info
Criterion Games
Electronic Arts


US November 16, 2010
Europe November 19, 2010

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