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Hot Pursuit at GamesCom

Posted by TurtleGirl On August - 20 - 2010

Chase me…

The Need for Speed franchise has left the track and returned to its roots, after the original need for speed being released for 3DO some time back in 1997. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit offers the extreme thrills of street racing to the masses. But this time we are not just talking about hurtling around the city streets along with a bunch of likely boy racers and fluffy dice hanging from the mirrors. Oh no, Hot Pursuit, as the name suggests, is all about the thrill of the chase.


For the discerning racer there is a huge selection of beautiful high performance vehicles to use from Lamborghini Reventon to supercars such as the Pagani Zonda Cinque. This is not your average televised pursuit we are talking about. These vehicles raise the stakes and ensure that, no matter what the outcome, the player is going to look damn fine whilst weaving through traffic and causing chaos.

Don’t think that those players who prefer to stay on the side of the law are going to look out of place whilst doing the pursuing. Seacrest County, the glorious, sun-drenched setting for Hot Pursuit, is all about equal opportunities, offering their police force some of the most impressive pursuit vehicles available. The map within the game is easily set out highlighting cop events in blue and race events in yellow, you have the opportunity to chop and change between the two and both have quite  different experiences. Need for speed always keeps players up to date with the latest news about races and times and fully injects that into the game when you need it most.


Matt Webster (Executive Producer) gave us the insight behind the new Autolog system in which it teaches us how it keeps track of the players friends and what they are up to. Should they run a course and beat the players time, the player will be told the next time that they log in and given the chance to improve upon that time, creating a competitive experience in which everyone of the players friends are a potential rival. Criterion Games imagined their game for a connected generation which means not only can players share snapshots of exotic cars and epic drives, but players are always connected and they really wanted to lever that connection with a sweet technology called Autolog.

Need For Speed has constant live data coming out of the network and, looking at the feed, its important for people to understand that it’s a shared wall concept. Friends can connect and share messages with one another, take a look at dream shots and compare race times. The game gives you feed back on how well your friends are doing within the game in comparison to you and your other friends. What’s great about this is game is that you can press R2 and go play the event in question  straightaway.


Need for Speed has a social communication system and a deep connection to the video game. Criterion games are very excited about the way people play the game. With the network constantly listening out on how well players perform, what Autolog recommends is that it takes everything that your friends have done inside your friend’s network and then loads it through a series of comparisons and with that information generates personalized messaging for players compelling them to go and beat their friends. The network informs you if your friends have beaten your time on races, almost goading you to hit that button and compete against them once again. Criterion Games recognises that players are pushed for time and it’s simply too difficult to get friends together to play a game at a certain time. With need for speed you can literally pick up and play and logon onto the Autolog recommend section and just easily pick up gameplay that your friends have recommended. The game entices players to compete against each other by giving you feedback on how long a friend’s race has taken.

In Hot pursuit the cars go from hot to hotter, which allows players to drive some of the most desirable high performance cars at exciting and thrilling speeds. Matt Webster tells us the size of the games play area is four times bigger than that of Burnout Paradise, and it’s been constructed for cars that can do up to 265mph. The tracks consist of around a 100 miles of actual tarmac road. Around 30 to 40 % of the road space has been made more for off road and short cut areas. Criterion Games have also open up a lot of the space for events that involve race and chase because it is an open world and you’re playing against human cops, it’s not quite as easy as ducking into a bush to evade detection as you would with an AI. There are a variety of weapons that can be used to enhance the pursuit as your heat level increases, whether you choose to play as a cop and take down a suspect, or become a racer on the run. Multiplayer racing allows up to eight people to join. Criterion Games have kept it to small numbers because they feel any more than that and it just gets too chaotic and complicated. Each of the cars look extremely nicely constructed and well designed,  and with the added reflection of the sky and sun beaming down on these exotic cars, it certainly paints a picture of perfection…


I had a chance to get some hands on time with this highly intense and adrenaline filled game and it certainly delivers some heart racing action and that was before I even started on the Red Bull. Admittedly it took me a little while to get used to the handling and I was all over the place to start off with, but once I had bypassed those early teething stages of practising, I slammed on that accelerator so hard nothing was going to stop me. The game absorbs you into its polished and atmospheric environment giving you the sense of feeling of excitement and anticipation. The games deliver some incredible stunning visuals that you wouldn’t even think were possible. It’s very intense and you have an incredible sense of speed as you fly around the sharp corners and believe me when I tell you they were sharp and yes I did come off them a few times. It wasn’t so much the speed that I was flying around, but more the fact it was so damn exciting, and at one point I completely forgot the brake. This resulted in me completely totalling the car. But that’s wasn’t going to stop me and I was going to make damn sure the next time round I was going do it better. A few more practises down the line and I was gaining a little more confidence and doing my best to deliver some awesome racing.

My overall impressions of this game is that no matter how good or bad you are at racing, it gives you the ultimate experience and  one that has similarities to the burnout games. The cars are truly amazing and well designed, looking sleek and polished. At the start you think you can outsmart the cops, but in reality you’re on borrowed time and it’s not long before they come hunting you down. Its persistence keeps you on the edge of your seat all the times. With California coastlines, deserts, forests and mountain regions, you’re really spoilt for choice for scenery as you race as hard and fast as you can in one of the most intense experiences ever. The game is a challenging one, but at the same time offers a socially competitive experience allowing  players the ultimate race of their life.


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