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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Review - PS3

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 

When I first started playing Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit I was intrigued by the way it connects with your friends list. I found the graphics to be just okay, I would consider them pretty average, they were not terrible to the point the I was playing an older system but they definitely did not blow me away and make me feel like I was really in the game. The game play was about what I expected honestly and the reason I haven't picked up a Need For Speed title in years. After you have raced the few variations of races they all just seem to blend together. Sure you can unlock new cars which almost seems too easy as there is really not much challenge in complete in first place or the equivalent to. But most of the cars drive about the same with the exception of the the 4WD's and every race seems to be the same race over again. For me the only reason to keep racing the same race multiple times is to crush my friends records. Which it actually turns out is pretty important because if you were to complete every challenge perfect the first time you would not be able to unlock the other races as they are awarded on a points system that appears to be unattainable with all first try victories.

I think the biggest let down of NFS: Hot Pursuit was the unlock system. When I used to play racing games everyday years ago I thought the best part was unlocking new mods or upgrades for you car and building it up to an absolute beast on the street. If you are like me sorry for ya that doesn't exist. You unlock titles, cars, racing classes (sport, performance, super, etc) and "weapon system" upgrades and that is it. While I will say the spike strip upgrades to make a huge difference the other upgrades are pretty lame.

I did like the drift system, it may have been implemented in other titles but I remember it working so well years ago. I remember when you hit the hand brake and either the game said good job perfect drift around the corner or you had to hold it through the turn and then let go and that was the extent of controlling your drift. In Hot Pursuit I was pleasantly surprised well not at first when I spun out but after I realized there was more to it then just button mashing. Chances are the instructions might explain the basics of drift control but I just never bothered to open them so I learned the hard way I guess. Regardless, your drifting is controlled by how long you hold the hand brake for me just a tap works best and then you are able to steer your drift with the thumb stick. Just as a tip on drifting if the corner has white hash marks on the outside you will complete the turn the easiest and fastest by drifting directly on them.

The cars in the game seem pretty much the same through out the given class not to say that a McLaren drives like a Charger but with in the same class most cars drive unfortunately similar. The only big exception is 4WD vs rear wheel drive. If you find it hard to control the Charger, you are over/under steering, hop in the WRX and you will be blown away. The Lancer and the WRX are pretty similar in the game but I used the WRX for the most part so far. For both racer and police it seems to be the best all around to me, especially if collisions with the other side are involved. It also seems to be a lot better at avoiding traffic and staying in control and S-turns at full speed. The other cars can do it but it takes more precise steering and accelerator technique.

Speaking of technique, free ride is a good place to practice perfecting your drifts and getting an all around feel for your car. It can also be a good way to perfect your driving of a given track with out running the race 10 or more times but that's about where it ends. My son like to drive the cars I unlock and at 4 I'm not quite ready to release him on my profile and let him race for me. With free ride though I can unleash him on the unsuspecting computer motorists. This unfortunately where it ends destruction derby, track familiarizing and practicing technique. It would have been nice to be able to run from the police or chase racers in free ride just to break up some of the monotony or repetitive driving especially if you could turn it on and off like you used to be able to do with traffic in other games. But it seems in today's gaming if they add one new great thing then they have to take away two great things. So for the most part, I feel like the free ride is a pretty weak aspect of the game not completely worthless but at the rate they are going give it two years and it will be.

I'm not completely in love with the weapon systems in the game either but they do add a bit of entertainment and a huge WTF factor.
I do like the EMP, it like all the other weapons are extremely under powered in my opinion but I do like how it locks on and hits them like a guided missile. Ironically, it does not shut the car down or even slow the car down for that matter but it does take about 20% of the cars health (yes I measured it with my imagination) but since you have a very limited number of them and a recharge factor to consider they are not as effective as I would have thought.
Spike strips fall into about the same category when you start out with level I strips they are puny and easily avoided but level II doubles in size and starts to be pretty useful. The same lack of destructiveness goes for spike strips though, now maybe you don't want to make the car inoperable after one spike strip hit to extend game play but come on, if a car runs this over it should do some massive damage but it doesn't.
The third most frustrating weapon on the police side is the road block, I have watched racers hit them flip land upside down go to pin them and not only are they not totaled but they teleport down the track so they can't be pinned. The same goes in they are pinned by the road block, you go back to pin them yourself and "bust" them and like magic poof they are gone.
Last and least useful of all is the god damn helicopter, the times I have used it only worked 1 of 3 times. The other times it is either lost and can't find the car, the car went in a tunnel and the stupid pilot doesn't know how to fly 300 ft to the other side, it sits there doing nothing over the road or it drops spikes right in the center of the road with a lane of clearance on either side and the car just casually drives around it.

So in closing the weapons are overall disappointing, free ride is terribly boring, no vehicle mods but the game does have a few pluses. The drift system is a vast improvement from years ago, you can play your own music in the game which I haven't had in a game I've owned since GTA and the biggest of all social competitiveness.
As far as competitive racing you can not only see and break your friends records but then rub it in there faces. You have a wall similar to a basic Facebook account with postings of records you've broken and should one of your friends break your record it will show up on your wall so you can go back and crush their record again. This game at least for career mode would be completely a waste of money and I had a 50% code when I got this game. However, to me the small addition of the wall prays on the competitive gamer which I think is most of us and says are you going to tell them beat you? In doing so if has hooked me in for the time being and I can say it was worth $30 so far, I think I would have been upset paying $60 as it is in stores but for $30 I think it has been okay. If you are still interested in it you can find Hot Pursuit for $36 on Amazon right now the PC download is cheaper..

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