Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit in Review – The High End Performance of Law Enforcement

I enjoy a good arcade style racing game. Daytona U.S.A., the Burnout series, Split/Second and NFS: Most Wanted to name just a few. So when EA announced Need for Speed Hot Pursuit I got excited. Then the trailers arrived to show off the game in action and I became ecstatic. And now that Hot Pursuit is released, is it going to join the ranks of some of my favorite arcade racers? Only one way to be sure, read on to find out.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit comes with three modes of gameplay. Jump into a Quick Race, play Local Multiplayer over Wifi or dive right into the heart of the game with Career Mode. Your career is made up of 24 events that will put you in the shoes of a law enforcement professional climbing their way through the NFS ranks in the pursuit of becoming Top Cop. Sadly, you’re unable to play through as the criminal, a feature that is part of the console version.

Along the way you will compete in four different racing events, earning Bounty to unlock 15 different cars with increasingly better acceleration, handling and speed. The event types vary. Tough Justice will have you taking down an increasing number of criminals under a set time in order to earn Bounty. There are three levels per event and each level grants you more Bounty. In Interceptor, you face off against a single criminal with a set time limit – the faster you take them down, the bigger the Bounty earned. Power Struggle has you competing with fellow officers to reach the finish line first, and finally, Rapid Response has you racing alone against the clock and speeding through checkpoints until you reach your final destination before time runs out.

Through most of the events your vehicle will come equipped with different abilities, helping you accomplish your goals. Most of the items you’re given aren’t very powerful on their own, but they work together over time to help get the job done. Some of these abilities include setting up Road Blocks, where fellow officers attempt to block the criminal’s path; emitting EMP blasts within a certain distance that slow down the opponent; and laying down Spike Strips, an effective way of damaging their cars (besides slamming into to them). The opposing speedsters are not defenceless either. Often they will come equipped with oil slicks and jammers that block your ability to use anything against them while they hit the NOS and speed away.

The controls in Hot Pursuit are built around the accelerometer and they work well once you’ve overcome the initial learning curve. That said, you may still find yourself taking some turns a little wide even after getting accustomed to the controls. Your vehicle’s acceleration is set to automatic by default, allowing you to concentrate more on your driving, along with the occasional braking or NOS boost. You do have the option of turning off automatic acceleration, which will give you more control over your vehicle, though either way works fine. There is also a 180 degree turn built into the controls but you will likely find very little use for it in the game.

Thanks to the Retina Display built into the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch 4G, the game looks amazing on these devices. The car models are very well done and they appear to be a step up from those you might find in a PS2 racing game. The locations you race in also have some pretty good visuals, though after you’ve spent some time with the game, you will begin to notice the same backdrops over and over again. A little more variety would certainly have been much appreciated. And like many of the previous Need for Speed titles, Hot Pursuit does a great job of giving you a sense of speed as you’re flying down the freeway.

One other item worth mentioning is the option EA built into the title screen called, “Get Bounty”. The game’s launch price is $4.99 and offers roughly 4-5 hours of career play from start to finish. You will have to replay previous races to ensure you’ve gotten all of the available Bounty in order to reach the six million mark required to unlock all 15 vehicles. Get Bounty, on the other hand allows you to forgo the entire career and purchase bounty in $1, $2 and $3 increments. Buying all $6 worth via in-app purchases will max out your bounty and all vehicles will be made available to you from the very start. If you want to compete with friends over local wifi using every car in the game, this may be an option you would like to consider. Otherwise, it feels a little “dirty” and goes a long way to decreasing the value of the games played in Career Mode. It also breaks the first half of the game as you can then blow through to the top bounty ranks with ease.

Overall NFS: Hot Pursuit is a very solid racing experience on the iDevice. Thanks to the game’s tight controls, lengthy Career mode and awesome visuals, EA’s latest installment in the Need For Speed franchise makes for one highly enjoyable and action packed racer. If you’re a fan of the NFS series (and racers in general), you’ll find Hot Pursuit a worthy addition to your app collection.

App Summary
Title: Need for Speedâ„¢ Hot Pursuit Developer: Electronic Arts
Reviewed Ver: 1.0.1 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $4.99 App Size: 380MB
  • Lengthy single player career mode
  • Continually better vehicle unlocks
  • Impressive visuals
  • Vehicle Abilities should be stronger
  • Inability to play as criminal in career


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