Review by alxbly

"Don't rent this, buy it."

Firstly, this is a review of the PAL version of NFS HP2, not NTSC. I was unsure of whether to buy this game or not but you simply won't unlock everything by just renting it. The amount of cars and tracks to unlock should keep you coming back for a long time to come, certainly longer than Gamecube's only other decent car racer, Burnout.

The key to getting the most out of this game is not giving up on it straight away. First impressions are that the game is slow and the cars handle badly, but after the third or fourth race when you unlock new cars you'll notice a difference in speed and handling.

And the speed and handling that you want is what you'll get once you unlock the first Ferrari. You should be able to do this in about and hour and after that you won't look back. The race menu is split into championship, hot pusuit, single race and quick race.

Quick race decides the car, the course and whether you'll be fighting off cops or just the opposition. Hot pursuit sees you evading the police, sometimes with competition to beat as well. Championship is where you can race against the opposition for points, which you use to unlock cars and tracks.

The most annoying thing about this game is how good it could have been. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad game, in fact, it's actually a rather good game. But it could have been great. It's let down by one thing, and that's the fact that it's badly ported. The frame rate can slow down when there's a lot going on and this can cause the game to get quite jittery at times, but luckily this only happens rarely. You'll notice other glitches in the scenery too, but nothing that is unforgivable.

The levels are nicely set out, pleasing to the eye and hardly ever sparse. The cars are very detailed, and crush nicely after a bad smash. Music is listenable and goes well with the game, and although the rock music is forgettable, it's not too cheesy or annoying.

The gameplay is good once you get past the bog standard cars, and when you see what cars you are able to unlock you'll be happy to spend hours, and possibly days playing so you can open up one of your favorites. The wealth of options and different playing modes means the game is customisable to suit most tastes, just remeber to switch off the rear view camera to help with frame rates.

The multiplayer seems slow and is probably best avoided, but then you wouldn't want you mates crashing your new cars anyway, would you?

So, to sum up.

Graphics 8 out of 10.
Gameplay 8 out of 10.
Music 7 out of 10.
Replayability 9 out of 10.

Go out, buy this game, play it to death and try to forget how close to perfect it would have been with a few extra weeks development to port it to Gamecube properly.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 10/26/02, Updated 10/26/02

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