"Gears to full and mind to zero, it's NFS time!"

NFS started out on the PC many years ago, and this is it's first try on the next-gen consoles. So how does it compare too other killer racingclassics like Burnout and Gran Turismo?

Graphics

This varies with each level: some are absolute graphical masterpieces, while others leave much to be desired for, so this is kind of a mixed bag. There is hardly any pop-up, but a lot of the car edges are unsmooth. The smoke and dusteffects look great, but they can sometimes be a pain in the ass for blocking your view at the track ahead, and although many textures look fresh, some look horribly outdated.
This time, the cars have been fitted with damagemodels, but the damage has no effect on the car's steering, which is too bad, but hey!, it's not called an arcade racer for nothing right?
Another thing that need fixing is the film playing in the background in the main menu, where it is obvious the PS2 has trouble keeping up, and because of has some really bad slowdown and occasional glitching in the menu's

Graphics 7/10

Gameplay

This is what NFS games have always excelled at, and I'm glad to see this game is no exception to that, the feeling of speed, extreme speed.
The game features 2 main modes, Hot pursuit (series of races with cops after your blood) and World racing (same as Hot pursuit, only without cops)
Each mode has different sub-modes, of which the most important ones are 'challenge mode' (complete certain challenges to unlock cars and tracks), 'quick race' (no selecting anything, just GO with the car and track you are given) and 'you're the cop' (well, the name says it all, arrest as many speeders as possible before your time runs out)
The concept as well as the controls are unchanged: the controls are still perfect and the idea of 'push down the gas, set your mind to zero, and don't release the gasbutton until you've passed the checkered flag' still stands strong.
Screw tuning, screw braking, screw realism, this is arcade at it's best.
The one thing that made Hot Pursuit (a genre of itself within the NFS series) so great, was the huge amount of cops in each race, trying to keep you from victory. Luckily this time 'round, the cops chase your opponents just as much as you, while in HP1, they mostly chased you and not your foes which more likely caused frustration rather then fun.
Once you've been stopped and warned by the cops 3 times, you're out, and you'd better keep your eyes open, cause the cops AI is fierce! They put up roadblocks, throw teargas, deploy spikestrips, anything that is needed to stop you.
Last but not least, the feel for speed is unchanged also. The adrenaline rushes through your body as you dodge roadblocks, take dangerous shortcuts, and try to smash your opponents of the road.
To bad the game feels lacking in some way.......maybe the amount of cars (around 50 in total) seems a little shallow compared to the 200 cars GT has on offer, also most tracks are far to simple.

Gameplay 9/10

Sound

The soundtrack only adds to the sense of speed, and is always spot-on. The downside is that you either like the musicgenre or you don't, because this music sure isn't for everybody.
The amount of songs at hand is also a little shallow.

Sound: 7/10

Overall and rent or buy?

If you're a true racing maniac and don't mind throwing all realism overboard, you can buy this game without hesitating. If you are not, rent it first, this game is not everyone's bag.

Overall: 8/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/19/03, Updated 05/19/03


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