Review by monkey144

"EA builds an almost perfect racer..."

I first played a Need for Speed game as Hot Pursuit 1 for the PC. I have to say that although it was a good game, it lacked visually as well as in other areas. When I heard that EA was coming out with a sequel, I couldn't help but be excited. EA has totally redone the entire game for the PS2. Great sounds, beautiful cars, and... well, speed.

Graphics: 9/10 I must say that the cars are absolutely beautiful, gorgeous, stunning. Personally, damage is always off. I can't stand seeing the cars wrecked. The tracks are well designed for a mix of speed and control. The racers can select tracks, for example, with windy dirt roads or a six-lane highway. They are set in recognizable yet generic places, with covered bridges, tunnels, and overpasses galore. Interaction is possible with smaller objects (road signs, small plants, etc.) but things like trees will not move for you.

Audio: 8/10 The sound in the game is also very good. EA has put various bands on the soundtrack, with the option to hear only the songs you want. The selection is limited to mostly rock, though. Engine and tire sounds are also great. Try driving with everything but engine and tire on mute and you know what I mean. Plus, you can hear the police talking about you! “There’s a roadblock ahead on the left.” “The helicopter is in the air.”

Gameplay: 9/10 The first thing you will want to do when you get this game is run from the cops. This is the absolute best feature for this racer. Blinding speeds through small roads with your friend is even more fun with three police cars closing in behind. The beginning selection of cars is very good for getting started. There is a balance of speed and handling in all of them. I suggest running a few free-run laps in Hot Pursuit before jumping into competitions, just to get a feel for the controls. The handling in most of the lower end cars is good, but as the cars get faster, the excessive skidding may become a factor you must account for. Different cars perform differently. Slightly frustrating when, on your last lap in a true supercar, a cop in a Crown Vic touches you and the cars are thrown into a spin and straight at a wall, mere feet from the finish line. The buttons are laid out as you would expect and yes, there is an E-brake and two steering modes for you drifters out there. To get more of the beauties to run from the cops with, you must play Challenge mode in either Hot Pursuit or World Racer. The first races are relatively easy and the rewards will begin to pour in. As the bracket progresses, the races become harder and longer, but with greater rewards. There’s no real story, but it’s a racer, who cares?

Multiplayer: 6/10 This game lacks in its multiplayer. This is fine if you play alone, but with a friend, it doesn’t satisfy. There are three possible multiplayer games: hot pursuit - challenge, you’re the cop, and ultimate racer – challenge. I felt that these games get old fast. You’re the cop sounds fun, right? Wrong! To switch the player who is the cop, you must switch controllers. That’s right, only player one can be the cop. The other games are fine for a while, but it’s rather redundant. Try knockouts for good, long-lasting games and lap knockouts for shorter ones.

This game is a great buy, very worthy of Playstation 2’s Greatest Hits. If you must rent it first, Blockbuster will be angry when you refuse to return it after it’s due. Very addictive, it will keep you driving for hours to get new cars. A must have for anyone who even remotely likes racers.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/27/03, Updated 02/27/03

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