Review by theloveofmoney

Reviewed: 01/21/03 | Updated: 11/30/07

The best Need For Speed yet!

The Need For Speed series has earned remarkable notice in the racing genre for its long history of racing games with its high sense of speed and inclusion of luxury, high speed, licensed vehicles.

The last NFS, Need For Speed: High Stakes took the original Hot Pursuit further by incorporating better car physics, graphics, and a roster of new licensed vehicles.

Hot Pursuit 2 continues where the last sequel left off, giving you almost the exact gameplay but now with 49 cars and around 15 different lengthy tracks of different environments.

Graphics - 9 out of 10
The graphics in this game is very rich in detail and realism, and this is a surprise since this is EA's very first take on a Need For Speed game on the Playstation 2. The landmarks in particularly looks absolutely stunning, with exceptional lighting and shadows that are casted appropriately on the environment and in certain situations. All cars in the game are licensed cars and are very well modeled based off the originals. What's notably great about the car's graphics are the changes in texture and shape as your car picks up more damage, adding a nice sense of realism to the roughness and high speed racing element of the game. The only real (and minor) issue with HP2 is the framerate of the game. While racing with little to no traffic and with no cops or opponents on your tail, the game sustains a smooth and fast framerate; on the other hand, if there are a lot of traffic or too many things going on in your screen the framerate beings to noticeably suffer.

Sound - 9 out of 10
HP2 incorporates signature aspects of the previous NFS games, such as the scanner radio which is equipped on every car in HP2. Similarly to High Stakes, the scanner radio allows you pick in on what the cops are saying and trying to communicate as you are trying to rush your way out of their pursuit full of tricks and traps. Although this isn't particularly realistic, it greatly benefits gameplay and hinders frustration, as you'll know just what the cops have up their sleeve and will be prepared to avoid the upcoming disaster. The voice over works for the cops are very well done, and they feel just like authentic cops. There's no announcer voice of any sort, but thankfully the game doesn't and wouldn't need one.

The ambience sound in this game is great and moodfully fits the track you're playing on. Birds chirping, for example, can be heard in the distance randomly while you're driving.

If there's one downfall in the sound department of the game, it would be in the musical scores that are included which ranges from forgettable tracks to downright annoying technoish tunes.

Gameplay - 9 out of 10
Whether you're looking for a simple and quick race, a long and stretched out race, or an insanely crazy cop chase, it's all included in HP2. The game features 2 main playing modes: World Racing and Ultimate Racer. World Racing is a tournament based gameplay mode where you race around the world, attempting to achieve the highest rank possible. Ultimate Racer more interestingly, pits you and your driving skills to over 31 selectable events located on different locations and tracks of the game, with each event consisting of various tasks you must accomplish. Most of the tasks you'll be doing in these events are mainly avoiding cop pursuits or finishing 1st place on a given track, but there are other unique tasks such as hunting speeders down or driving to achieve a certain time mark. Beating various events in Ultimate Racer allows you to unlock new events, and beating events unlocks new vehicles and tracks for the game.

Controls - 9 out of 10
The controls are aligned and constructed from earlier NFS releases and pretty much handles the same way as High Stakes did. The good thing however is that you can easily adjust all the controls to your personal preference in the options menu of the game.

Replayability - 9 out of 10
The majority of the game's cars and tracks are locked from the initial, so it will consume a lot of time for the player to unlock all the game's extras. This isn't a problem as playing Ultimate Racer is extremely fun and incredibly challenging. The 2 player aspect of the game makes it even better, as several modes (including Hot Pursuit which allows another player to be the cop) can be played with a friend.

OVERALL - 9 out of 10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 (US, 10/02/02)

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