We got a hands-on look at Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 on the show floor at E3. The game will be the sequel to EA's excellent 1998 racing game, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Hot Pursuit 2 will be a fast-paced racing game, which, just like the original, favors exciting, high-speed races and chases over exacting detail and extremely realistic physics. The sequel will let players get behind the wheel of one of 24 licensed cars, including the Need for Speed series' favorites, the Porsche and the Ferrari. Hot Pursuit 2 will have a total of 12 tracks, located in four different locales.
We took a test drive on a track in the tropics locale. The build of the game we saw was an early pre-alpha version, about 25 percent complete, so a few things seemed a bit rough around the edges. The cars themselves handled a bit loosely and also tended to drift a bit excessively on sharp turns, but for a game that's both an arcade racer and a pre-alpha build, that's to be expected. Hot Pursuit 2 didn't seem to have incredibly detailed environments, but then, the idea of the game is to focus on your own car and the cars in front of and behind you.
Hot Pursuit 2 will have three play modes: the original hot pursuit mode, a championship racing mode, and a top cop racing mode. Hot pursuit mode will be mission-based, just like the original, and you'll need to win races and accomplish other goals without getting caught by the cops, who, just like before, will pursue you and attempt to surround your car and hedge you in. In the demo, each time we were caught, the driver would hop out of his car, surrounded by policemen, and attempt to flee. The final version of the game will actually let players escape from the police on foot by running. Interestingly, there will be a tug-of-war represented by an onscreen meter: If the player's character is close to a police officer, the player will get weaker, but if the player manages to get a good lead on the cop, the cop will grow weaker. Championship mode will be a standard racing tournament, and top cop mode will actually let players play through missions as a cop trying to bust other joyriders.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 is scheduled for release this fall.