Last week, Console Monster was invited to come down to the Criterion Games Studios and check out the latest Need for Speed game, Hot Pursuit. Now, the name might sound familiar and that’s because back in 1998 the third game in the long running series was also given the same title. This previous title is where Criterion Games got their inspiration from.
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit takes place across the 100 miles of track in the fictional setting of Seacrest County where the battle between the racers and cops is fierce, and with the racers trying to take care of the cops using their underground weapons it’s time for the cops to fight back. In NFS Hot Pursuit not only can you play in the super exotic cars belonging to the racers that you will be familiar with from past games, you are now able to take the role of the cops in their equally stylish cars such as the Lamborghini Reventón. Of course, their cars are splashed with police decals so you know who you are targeting in the game!
The first thing Criterion wanted to brag about was the cars and to be fair they are worth bragging about. They stated that the cars you see on the front of the box would be available after a very short time of playing the game unlike other games where it seems you have taken a lifetime to finally unlock the car that perhaps enticed you to purchase the game in the first place. Other than the previously mentioned Lamborghini, some of the other cars you can look forward to are the Koenigsegg CCX, the McLaren MP4-12C and the Ford Shelby GT500. At the preview session we had the chance to play with all these cars and a lot more but when the game releases Criterion stated there will be roughly 65 different cars available. Cars are unlocked by collecting Bounty which is rewarded by doing certain things in game such as finding new shortcuts in tracks, reaching the max speed in a race and using your abilities.
Each side has their own set of abilities to use against their opponent and can be easily executed using the d-pad. The racers have a super-fast turbo that allows you to reach insane speeds that no cop will ever be able to keep up with, a jammer to stop incoming attacks from the cops, some spike strips that can be placed behind to take out tyres and an EMP pulse to disable opponents cars. The cops on the other hand also have an EMP pulse and spike strips but can also call in road blocks which make it difficult for racers to get past and a helicopter that tries to take out some distant racers. Although these abilities are crucial to winning you are not able to use them freely as they all have cooldown periods and some are also shared with your teammates, such as calling a helicopter.
In the single player game there are over 100 events to take part and these are done in over three main modes that also cross over to the multiplayer. The first mode is racing up to a maximum of 7 opponents, Interceptor mode where one cop is chasing one racer and the racer must try to gain enough distance to keep out of the cop’s radius on the mini map for 25 seconds to win. Lastly the final mode is Hot Pursuit where up to 8 players can choose whatever side they wish and the cops must try to take out the racers before they get to the end of track. When making a group with friends you can even have 1 cop versus 7 racers or vice versa.
Apart from the obvious reasons you would want to play Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, the sexy super-fast cars, beautiful tracks and awesome abilities, Criterion Games have designed a system that they believe will keep you playing the game long after you have completed the single player events. The Autolog system keeps a record of everything you and your friends do and allows you to upload screenshots to a wall similar to what you see on social networking sites. You can also write on the wall and have your lap times broadcast so that friends can compete even if you aren’t playing at the same time. Criterion wanted the player to have that sense of competition whenever you were playing so when racing on a track you will always be reminded of who has the next best lap time to you or has completed an objective quicker.
Thankfully we were able to have an in-depth look at Need for Speed Hot Pursuit which is due out November 16th all because we were playing a version which Criterion Games stated had only a few minor bugs that need to be ironed out before it is completely finished. Criterion really knows how to end the year on a high and I personally cannot wait for to start taking care of the riff raff in Seacrest County!