Review by Fatness20

Reviewed: 03/18/04

Fast, Faster, and Fastest

Let me start by saying that racing games normally aren't my thing. But I saw the reviews and such for NFS:HP2, and I'd figured I'd give a shot. All I can say is ''Whoa''. Fast and intense action, frustrating AI (sometimes), and those cops can really get on your nerves.

Gameplay: I don't know where to start. Well, there are two different, main ways to play. To have cops, or not to have cops, that is the question. Seriously. Once you choose that, you can choose to attempt the event tree, which contains 30 challenges per tree (with a few extra missions), and this is the main way to unlocking your fast cars and tracks. You can do a challenge, which is kinda like the exhibition mode. You choose things like difficulty, type of race (free run, single race, race knockout, and lap knockout), traffic, damage, etc. You can just start a quick race. Or, if you choose, you can be the cop. Once you start racing, you will notice that you will eventually get ''NFS Points'', which are used to unlock special NFS versions of cars, which really isn't much but a slightly faster vehicle. This is mainly received by getting a good finishing position, running roadblocks (easy enough to do; as long as you don't stop and get busted), and getting air. Shortcuts are all over the place to help you win, although some of them will actually hurt your time, as they are actually longer than the normal path. The AI is very intelligent, and the opposing vehicles will attempt to run you off the road, or into a car so that the cops can catch up to you. The cops will attempt to, at first, just sideswipe you off the road. Then they'll call for backup, and attempt road blocks. Then they bring out the spike strips, and...a helicopter. The copter is as fast as you are, and uses three things to stop you. It's most common attack is dropping explosive barrels, which, if you hit, may send you in the air (although it's pretty funny watching other police officers and civilians hit them). The second attack is firing a guided missile that is extremely hard to dodge. The third attack, and the one that I really hate, is that is hovers immediately ahead of you, and drops a spike strip in your direct path. That really isn't cool. Luckily, when you are the cop, you can summon three roadblocks and three copters. Unfortunately, when you arrest one driver, if there was a roadblock unused, it disappears, so that the other drivers keep driving unfazed. But if cops aren't your thing, you can just race without them. Although I don't think that's as fun... As for the difficulty, it's like a moderate difficulty. When you do a single race, you can either choose to race the same vehicle as you are driving or against vehicles that have about the same speed as you. So they keep it challenging, so that you can't pick a McLaren F1 against an Opel Speedster. That wouldn't be fair, now, would it?
Gameplay Rating: 10

Control: The control is not flawless. The handbrake, if you are going at extreme speeds, or course will just have you completing 360s, although often I use it against the guardrails to complete a sharp turn. I rarely ever take my thumb off of the gas, and never touch the normal brake (hey, the game is called Need for Speed, who needs brakes?) The brakes also really don't help much, as by the time you figure out that there is a spike strip 50 feet ahead of you, by the time you hit the brakes, your tires are nothing but shreds. Another control problem is the manual transmission. Not in itself, but when using the two special views, you have the press triangle, which actually toggles the view of the car, and either L2 or R2 at the same time. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen much. Honestly, I've only used manual transmission a few times, as I am really horrible driving with manual, so I wimp out with auto, but the times I've used manual, I'd get frustrated with the views. Those are the only control problems I can think of; otherwise, it's great.
Control Rating: 8

Graphics: Awesome environments to drive around in. Trees sway in the wind, you can knock around objects that you hit, such as boxes near the airport hangar in the desert, you can shatter windows on your car by hitting things, trees drop leaves when you hit them, dirt goes flying when you drive around recklessly in it, the sun makes you go blind and you can't figure out if the turn coming up is a right turn or left turn, the list goes on. Of course, there are racing games with better graphics, such as Gran Turismo 3, but this game comes pretty close. You won't be disappointed.
Graphics Rating: 10

Sound: The sounds are all you would expect from a racing game. Engines purring/roaring, screeching breaks, cops shouting funny comments (Officer: ''I hit the ditch!'' Dispatcher: ''Wrecker unavailable at this time. Will inform when ready.'' and ''Go give him the smackdown!''), etc. And what a soundtrack! It has a nice variety, from rap, rock, and even a little techno! The cool thing is that you can choose when you want to hear the tracks, and of course you can turn them on or off. Overall, awesome sound for a awesome game.
Sound Rating: 10

Replayabilty: This game can be played as many times as you want. So many scenarios, so little time. 'Nuff said.
Replayability Rating: 9

Buy/Rent: Buy. Definitely buy. Unless you are not a big racing fan at all, rent it, but I'm sure that you'll like it. It's a unique arcade racer.

This is a must have game for any racing fan, or for anybody who really likes something different. It's unique way of having cops chasing you and even you playing as the cop makes this game one of the best racing games you will ever play.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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