Also on: PC, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Stellar Entertainment
I have fond memories of playing Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit back when it first came out on the PS3 a decade ago. (Side note: I seriously can?t believe it?s been ten years since I first played this game.) I?d be hard-pressed to give you any specifics, but I definitely remember racing around the fictional Seacrest County, slamming cars off the road as both a street racer and a cop, and generally enjoying all the crazy vehicular carnage.
Now that I?ve returned to the game via Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered, however, I may need to revisit my opinion of it a little.
Don?t get me wrong, it?s still fun. Whether you?re a cop chasing down street racers, or a street racer shunting cop cars off the road, there?s something immensely satisfying about the way everything slows down, you feel the crunch of metal, and you watch as the victimized cars slowly flip through the air. Add in the EMPs and the blockades and whatnot that you get when you play as the police, and you have a recipe for a great vehicular combat game (albeit one that, given the political narrative around use of force and massive police budgets, seems like it?d be much more controversial if it first came out today).
What I?d forgotten, however, is just how much of NFS Hot Pursuit is spent not crashing cars. The game features way more levels that are either time trials or straight-up racers than I could?ve possibly imagined, and even if they?re entirely what you?d expect from a Need for Speed street racing level — which is to say, plenty of winding highways and gorgeous scenery — they don?t feel that different from most of the other games in the series in recent years. On top of that, even within the levels that are theoretically built around crashing your opponents, there?s much less of it than I remember. The roads are mostly pretty empty, the cars that aren?t meant to be crashed are surprisingly robust, and because you have so few opponents on the road, you?ve got to focus more on the quality of the few crashes you get, rather than the quantity. And even if the quality is great, the quantity is what makes them fun!
To be fair, of course, if you?re looking to Hot Pursuit Remastered as a racer, rather than a crash simulator, it?s probably significantly better. The game conveys the feeling of speed incredibly well, and regardless of whether you?re racing through the desert or along the coast, you can practically feel the wind in your hair.
But you can basically get the same thing from any number of Need for Speed games in recent years. As far as I?m concerned, what set Hot Pursuit apart was the combat — and honestly, if you?re after high speed racing, big crashes, and a remastered game from a decade ago, I don?t know why you wouldn?t just get Burnout Paradise Remastered instead, since that blended them a lot better. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered is still above-average as racers go, but if you?re like me, you?ll probably come away from it feeling like it?s not quite as great as you may remember.
Electronic Arts provided us with a Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered PS4 code for review purposes.