Off to dunkin' Donuts in a hurry
A long time ago, before the Need For Speed series became all about customising cars, ultraviolet lights and how big your bass speaker was, the franchise came up with Hot Pursuit. It was an instant success and no game has really managed to replicate the fun of chasing down fast cars in a cop vehicle since.
Now the series that made it so successful comes full circle and tries to bring back the fun of the chase to the iPhone. Right from the video intro you get the feeling that this game is going to be fast and fun. There are no tweeks or paint jobs to mess around with, you just get a map with a series of different races and tasks that need to be performed to unlock yet more events.
The 4 events on offer range from taking out a single car (Interceptor) to cop races (Power Struggle) and multiple car busts (Tough Justice) and finally timed races (Rapid Response). Each race has a 3 point score system that increases your Bounty, the currency in the game, and therefore your chances to get a new car from the 15 different high performance vehicles.
To aid you there are ‘weapons’ at your disposal; Road Blocks, Spikes and an EMP Jammer which slows the other car down. The racers have jammers too though and will use them to stop you being able to call in any of your items. These add some strategy to the game, not least because when they’re used they need to be recharged by drifting, boosting (with a charging nitro boost) or driving at high speeds near to other vehicles. Spikes, especially, need to be placed carefully so that your enemy can’t easily navigate around them.
The tracks vary from desert to road and take place during both night and day, giving some good variations between races. They remind me a lot of the first few Playstation Need For Speed games in terms of layout and scenery, though improve on them graphically. While it’s not the best looking racer on iOS, Hot Pursuit does a good job at representing speed and is certainly up there with the better driving games for trackside graphics.
Being EA, there are also tons of licensed music tracks , including some newish songs to play while you race. If you’re not a fan of these then there’s also the option of playing your own music, but I personally found most tracks worked well with the feel of the game. The sound effects worked well to produce the right sort of atmosphere, making the player feel part of a team of cops and getting constant updates on the situation. Choppers noisily fly overhead and crashes are met with just the right bone-crunching metal sound.
Some may bemoan the lack of customisation found in other games but I just don’t think it fits here. This is a straight up cop chase game, as much a modern version of the classic Chase HQ as anything else. It isn’t the sort of game where you’ll be pimping your ride.
All this would be great, of course, if you could also play the game online. To a certain extent you can, but only locally. For some reason EA haven’t included an online multiplayer mode and it feels like a missed opportunity. The local multiplayer works well though, with one player playing as the racer and the other as the cop.
With a fair few races that get progressively harder and a good scoring system, Need For Speed Hot Pursuit is a great return to the good old days of the franchise and highly recommended for fans of arcade racing.
- Sound: 9
- Graphics: 8
- Gameplay: 8
- Longevity: 8
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