Review by Enigma2K99
"Does it get any better?"
I can say with all honesty that I haven't been with the Need for Speed franchise since it's conception. I can, however, say that I was following it when it mattered... the release of Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit. In my opinion, the best Need for Speed game at the time. The follow ups, High Stakes, as well as Porsche Unleashed, weren't as highly praised (and rightfully so... compared to the original Hot Pursuit, those two sucked!). It was always my favorite of the entire series... I don't think I even wanna know about the rally games. But then again, I never really liked Rally games anyway, so there.
Intro Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, which technically should be called Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit 2, shouldn't it? Anyway, this one improves on the PSX versions, obviously, in so many ways, it's almost unbelievable. From the graphics, to the soundtrack, this one just oozes greatness...
Easily the best looking Need for Speed that I have ever played. It was a given, considering that it made the leap (finally) to stronger hardware. Draw in distance is great, no signs of popup, and the most important issue that plagued earlier games, framerate, is d@mn near rock solid! That alone sold me on the game, but then they had to go and sweeten the deal. Now you have extra features like a ''Zone Cam''... a 360 camera that hilights heavy impacts, or can be used manually to survey your car. But the best addition has to be what I like to call the ''Scout Cam'', which lets you pan ahead of your car a certain distance to watch out for roadblocks and determine the best course of action to take to avoid them. Both are absent in 2 player mode, and guess which one is missed most...
From screeching tires, popped ones, engine noise, CB chatter, it's all good. And some hard rocking tracks keep your blood pumping all the way to the finish line. But what's up with there only being 4 techno tracks? A little more balance here would have been perfect. As it is, I'm not complaining.
In the previous games, this factor always took a hit thanks to the constantly dropping frame rate when the screen was cluttered with activity. Not so here. No matter what, you maintain control over your car, unless it just has sloppy handling (V12 Vanquish, BMW M5, Carrera GT, etc...) smart use of the brakes/handbrake/gas compensates for this. Again, thanks to the improved framerate, the controls are once again close to perfect.
Fun Factor: 9
This game is a blast, plain and simple... however, it ain't perfect. Moments of frustration can really cause you to crack a tooth from gritting them too hard. Especially in Hot Pursuit mode. There can be times when you feel that the police's sole mission in life is to stop YOU... ONLY YOU... nevermind the other cars in the race (who never seem to have to deal with that d@mn homing missile BS...), and ''Crazy Taxi'' style traffic that will definitely grate your nerves, especially when a race is nearing a heated conclusion. I'm pretty sure they intended this to be the case when they programmed it. It's a good thing we all love the game.. otherwise, we'd be really pissed off.
Buy this game if you're in need of a fast racer with TONS of replay value, options, or if you just KNEW which Need for Speed game was the best. Like ATV Offroad Fury, it's another frustrating game that you can't help but love. EA scores another hit.
''This is Unit ##... Just clocked a vehicle going by at a high rate of speed... didn't see what it was...''
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/09/02, Updated 10/09/02
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