Review by Ferd_Da_Bird
"The racer of the year, or is it?"
I'm going to start off this review a little differently, rather than comparing this game to other titles, I'll take it for what it is. Here we go.
Sorry, but there is none as such, so I won't include it in my score. If it had a story, it most likely would've ruined the score anyway, as most racing stories are cobbled together with no real purpose in mind, and are usually hated.
Much of the music they picked from this game is, quite frankly, horrible. Very little of it is "street racing" rap, or anything to a style. When you race, there's usually one song you like and you hate the others. Luckily, the music in Hot Pursuits is all instrument music, which is much better. The ambient noise in this game is, as you'd expect, none, so you can enjoy a custom-made soundtrack made by you. The SFX noises are the best you can expect from any game, with tire screeches and engine vrooms realistic and all add to the racing experience. The crashes, which can come frequently, are probably a compilation of hammers hitting on metal and explosions, but wonderfully put together.
I've included both sections together because they are DEPENDENT on each other. Both got the same scores for much of the same reasons. The whole game is comprised of 5 different types of cars, ranging from sports cars to the fastest in the world. This is because of Autolog. This is the core of the multiplayer experience, giving recommendations for who to beat in timed races, to a message board, to ingame photos and even the multiplayer itself is managed by Autolog. Single player is great without Autolog, but adding on Autolog you get competition for the masses. The solo mode has 108 different missions, most racer missions, and around 60 cars for both cops and racers. The only real problem with single player is its AI. Even for an experienced player, they are hard to beat, and some time trial missions are downright devilish. The AI often resorts to the classic avenue of escape for arcade racer AI- Cheating. Sometimes you are in a nice 5-10 second lead over a cop or racer, and within that time limit they'll be breathing up your neck. Others, they'll seem to magically avoid your perfectly placed spike strip, one of the game's weapons. Whatever the case, the humans you'll play against don't cheat, and often will be left in your dust. On that note, lag is often a factor, so don't worry if a car is teleporting, they aren't cheating, as far as I know.
The graphics are good, but nothing special. There are no popups or white areas, but nothing spectacular. There is very little civilization in this world, and it is a beautiful one at that. Everything works, except for the camera, which thinks you're a mile above where you are every time you hit something. There are spectacular views, but plenty of boring ones to compliment them. These graphics are designed to be seen at speed, so they're harder to see at lower speeds, but there is nothing hugely wrong with them in any way, as you see everything you want to see- your opponents crashing!
The heart of the game is Autolog, but the gameplay is the brain. In order to be a great game, it needs to have good gameplay. The cars all handle well, some better than others, but none are unplayable in any way. All of the game modes work without fail, but some are prone to glitches more than others. The keys on the PS3 are on a good layout, and it uses every key the best it can. The gadgets are the only thing stopping this gameplay from being racing nirvana. They fail, glitch, and even in the case of racers, it seems like some are out of your control mostly if not completely. Half of the cop gadgets are automatically out of your hands, and most can backfire even when used correctly. However, they are critical to the gameplay and indeed playability. This isn't a game to be picked up and mastered though, as even experienced racers will get frustrated time after time, sometimes wondering if it was a good buy.
There are currently 5 (3 not counting the timesaver packs) DLCs out for NFSHP, with two more on the way. People might not like all this, as they are very costly, and much of the same. The new events are still hard if not harder, with most of the cars being outclassed by later ones. The real good part of the DLC horde is the latest one, which adds two new modes to multiplayer, adding much needed life to the community.
With Autolog, there is so much fun to be had, with streams of DLC. If Criterion releases content every other month, this can hold your interest for a long time, assuming you have enough money.
FINAL SCORE- 8.5
This game is a true gem in the racing world, and not to be overlooked, but with the impending release of Shift 2, if the community drains and you don't own this game, you might like to look elsewhere.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/23/11
Game Release: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (US, 11/16/10)
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