Review by Dubble_G
"Pure Arcade Racing Action!"
Let's begin by saying here that Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 3 is for arcade race fans only. NFS does offer a simulation option, but if you wanted that you'd have bought Gran Turismo already. So with that in mind let's start the review!
An arcade race fan's dream! NFS features 10 power packed super cars to rip up 8 different tracks for your enjoyment. Each car handles moderately differently, the way they should so the game does not get stale. Handling the cars is pretty easy, but it's really fun and that's what counts. Use the directional pad to move, x to speed up, and circle is the handbrake which lets you perform drifts around corners. Cars turn harder going faster like in real life, and if you let of the gas they turn smoother. That's all there is to handling them. But that doesn't mean the game is easy! The A.I. on this game is great. On beginner mode you'll be blown in the dust for a while until you master the track or the car you're using. The cars react to your driving and will speed around you and even try to spin you out! Pretty advanced. Master mode is a bit harder yet, but not much. This adds the challenge we need in a racing game. After each race you can view a replay with 13 different camera views, and put it into 2x 1/4, and 1/2 speed if you want to view a cool crash or something. And if you finish with a great time you will be recorded into the track's top 10 times list. Try to get the best time for each track! The cars are all real, and feature some Ferari's, the lambos, and so on. There's also a showcase option that lets a narrator read of the cars specs and tell you some detailed info on each car. Pretty neat!
NFS has a lot of options to keep the rather small amount of cars and tracks bother you. For every race you can drive the track with rain on or off, which also effects your turning capabilities. You can drive on a mirrored track, where the curves change directions. You can drive on beginner mode, master mode, against no cars, against one car, against a friend, or against 7 other cars of your choice. You can drive at night which is pretty tough, even with high beam headlights on.
NFS has a quite a few game modes too. Practice, exactly what the name implies, offers you traction assistant, a best line, ghost car, and more to help you begin racing. Single race, a regular race with any of the options you want against the A.I. or a friend. Knockout mode, an 8 race tournament where the last place finisher is knocked out every time, like a last car standing sort of thing. Tournament, where you race cars to get points and unlock the locked tracks and cars. Last but not least Hot Pursuit. You can race on any track doing hot pursuit, but for some odd reason to cars can't race on this mode! This baffles me to as why. You pick the track and the cops difficulty level, and off you go. Try to survive and finish the set number of laps as the cops verbally assault you, try to spin you out, ram you, and drop spike trips over your bald tires! This mode is great fun, and is more fun with a friend. This mode adds the most replay value to the game, as each cop chase is different from the last. That's why it's in the game's title.
In the game graphics are generally good. Par with Test drive, and below Gran Turismo. At a distance everything looks spectacular. But when you closely look at everything a lot of textures are muddy and look like and oil pastel drawing. Some of them smear together, or look edgy, but this is only at close range viewing. Some of the textures shift around which is odd, but it's a technique used to provide the game's lighting. I guess EA thought nobody would look closely at their game! The tracks you'll be viewing are the staples in every racing game nowadays. A home track, a woods, a mountain place, a canyon...nothing new, but a lot of the tracks look great, from the reddish jagged walls in Red Rock Ridge, to the beautiful architecture in the city track Atlantica, which is drop dead gorgeous. The cars themselves look okay, but a bit jagged in spots. Nothing to gawk at but decent. The frame rate is also worth mention. On a single player race it runs maybe 25fps, and sometimes it drops suddenly around a sharp curve sending the game into slow motion, but hardly ever. On two players with the cops going it drops to in the range of 18fps, which is noticeably lower, but it's not enough to hinder the race.
Hits dead on in some places, and misses the targets elsewhere. The menu had got a nice catchy beat, and each track offers either a rock or a techno soundtrack to it. None of them are that great, but none are too bad. Depends if you like either genre.
Regular sound effects are awesome too. Cars hitting the walls sound perfect, as do screeching tires. If you drive slow enough you can even here cows mooing on the first track. Well done! The sound that could've used the most work strangely enough is the engine noises! They're not the best, and sound overly high pitched, and not quite right. Nothing annoying, but you think they would've got them accurate.
While the number of cars and tracks is low, the options and modes leave endless amounts of races, plus there's two players. The high difficulty increases the game's lifespan, and the value.
In the end NFS does what it wanted to do; create a fun arcade racing game that is challenging and offers plenty of modes to race. If you are a fan in arcade racing at all, you'll love the game!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/30/07
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