Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Multiplayer Hands-On

We dodge roadblocks and spike-dropping helicopters in our fast-paced look at multiplayer in the upcoming Need for Speed racer.

Cops and racers are the gaming world's cats and dogs--they're violently antagonistic towards each other, and it's never good to have them both in the same room. This long-held animosity will be the focus of UK studio Criterion's first stab at the Need for Speed franchise--Hot Pursuit--and follows up from its much-lauded work on Burnout Paradise two years ago. Criterion and publisher EA recently showed off the main competitive multiplayer mode for Hot Pursuit at a pre-TGS 2010 event, and we managed to get behind the wheel as both a speedy racer and a dogged cop to play out this classic struggle yet again on the open roads.

The game's titular Hot Pursuit mode sees you either as a racer or a cop. Your goal as a racer is to make it to the end point first by taking whatever roads (or shortcuts) are quickest, while cops need to hunt down and destroy all racer vehicles. Eight players will be able to compete online, with both types of drivers having access to a suite of four power-ups that will assist in your quest to escape or to detain.

We chose the law for the first few runs of our demo session, with our team of four cop cars having to run down a similarly sized squad of racers. Bringing down racers requires you to damage their vehicles enough to the point of breakdown, which you can either do by ramming into them, by forcing them into barricades, or by making them crash into other cars. Assisting you in this task are four power-ups--an EMP blast, road spikes, support helicopter, or road blocks. Calling in a road block will see a group of police vehicles and barricades set up in front of a racer, with only a minor gap in the wall to drive through. Spikes will similarly give racers plenty of steering hassles, as deploying them will see spikes stretch out across most of the width of a road, with only the edges free from the tire-damaging power-ups. Helicopters act like spikes on steroids--calling in one of these supports will see a chopper hover ahead of a racer, dropping road spikes for a set amount of time. The EMP will scramble a targeted racer's driving controls and is the only power-up that will require you to be in sight of your quarry to use. When you first deploy an EMP, a target reticle will appear onscreen, and you'll need to keep your chosen racer in your sights for a few seconds before the EMP hits. Choosing one of these power-ups to deploy is as simple as pressing a direction on the D pad, but some powers can't be stacked (such as the helicopter)--that is, two or more police choppers can't be in the air at once, which means you'll need to liaise with your fellow police officers to make sure you're using that chopper at the best time.

We found being a cop to be quite fun, although within the noisy confines of the demo room EA and Criterion had set up for Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, it was tough to coordinate strategy with our fellow lawmakers, so a couple of felons managed to finish the course and get away. Playing as a racer requires much less in the way of coordination, but requires plenty of quick reflexes and on-the-fly decision making. As a racer, your four power-ups are road spikes, a radar jammer, EMPs, or a turbo boost. EMPs here work similarly to the cop version, while road spikes for racers drop behind (as opposed to in front) in order to stop close-range pursuers. The radio jammer is a multifunction tool that can be used to either lose a cop's EMP lock or (better still) shrink the width of upcoming road spikes in order to make them much easier to avoid. The turbo acts like a souped-up nitro--triggering it will see the whole world seemingly go in slow motion, before your car surges ahead at huge speeds, leaving anything chasing you way back in your rear-view mirror.

As well as cops vs. racer action, Criterion revealed more details about autolog, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit's persistent online system that aims to build player rivalries without having to consistently engage in live head-to-head racing. The autolog system will automatically track all of your friends' activity in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and will recommend challenges and tasks for you to undertake based on your friends' performances. All of these challenges will be time-based and will appear in your single-player game ready for you to undertake at any time. As well as challenges, Autolog will include a Facebook-like wall for you and your friends to post messages, pictures taken within the game, and any notable achievements you'd like to show off.

Hot Pursuit mode looks like a welcome return to the high-adrenaline chase feel of Need for Speed games of old, and we're keen on having more hands-on time with this fast-paced title. What's clear right now is that the game looks great, with Hot Pursuit having that same awesome sense of speed and controlled chaos that fans of Burnout Paradise will be used to. Look out for more information on Hot Pursuit as it gets closer to the game's release date in November 2010.

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RandolphRam

Randolph Ramsay

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

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107 comments
vahnn0
vahnn0

I can't believe no mention of NFS: Shift! If you automatically just shifted to the 3rd person view, then yeah, it was probably rather unremarkable. But I swear that game was built from the ground up around their superior 1st person cockpit view! Never before have I seen a view like this in a racing game! Each car's interior was detailed accurately (my buddy's STI looks exactly the same, same with my other friend's old 240sx), complete with functional gauges (you no longer need a bulky and uninspired tach and speedometer on your hud), with a set of arms modeled to hold the wheel and steer along with you, feet on the pedals, and even reaching over to shift! Using the right stick panned the camera around the car to look out the windows, and using the side mirrors and rearview mirror, all modeled as parts of the car. At high speeds, the car and driver's view would shake, and a nice blur effect is applied to really get your adrenaline pumping. Please include this, and I'll love you and make everyone I know buy it!

Hoodyyy
Hoodyyy

@plm3d_basic: Yess there are weather and time cycles.....what criterion games has put together is just AMAZING!!!!... I like the highly detailed graphix and all.... even the gameplay too.... with EA meaning they would take NFS 'back to it's roots' they really ment it..... there r no freakin customizations or anythin. for people who wanted free roam... I heard there is going to be a mode which enable you to go roaming around the city....just like in NFS U2 where in quick race there is 'free run'.... but dnt think there is free roam in career mode.

eliebaz
eliebaz

Im more of a realistic gamer person

kel634
kel634

F.U. EA. Gogo Criterion!

moe3000
moe3000

misleading title says wii hands on but the guy is using ps3 controller WTF?

Caldrin
Caldrin

Well might be somthing different.. gonig back to the old style of gameplay :) Im glad this is EA and not a codemasters game hehe mi bored of the awefull DIRT 2 engine that codemasters use in all their games... At least this will be nice a fresh from EA :)

tokicsek
tokicsek

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

kaos823
kaos823

LOL the rearview image is awsome

plm3d_basic
plm3d_basic

Can someone confirm whether there's day/night cycles and full weather effects like snow, heavy rain, dust clouds, etc.

Prime99
Prime99

Wheres Underground 3? I like this too but still.... Im gonna pre-order

da_chub
da_chub

yea, this is what need for speed should have been for the last 10 years!!! im getting this over GT5(well, maybe...)

khalid4
khalid4

how can i get the beta in PS3 ??

athanatos5
athanatos5

all time classic this is it need for speed :)

dzezer
dzezer

NFS series is dead for a long long time... :( Porsche was the last one which is playable, after that it's only a Fast&Furious-like crappy arcade.

gopal07
gopal07

nfs is slowly losing its grip as the "best racing game" since ea publish a new edition of this game every year they are just simply getting out of ideas, there is technically nothing they can add to the game, i know all the racing game lovers gonna thumb me down, but honestly racing games are kinda dying against fps and mmorpg, hope ea brings something fresh and new this year otherwise its going to be another fail for ea and all the racing games.

green_dominator
green_dominator

So far it sounds great. if it has cockpit view I'm sold. I don't mind third person in racers to see what's around easier but I prefer to do my driving from inside the car.

Toyeboy
Toyeboy

this game looks great!!

dkjestrup
dkjestrup

@nickz_fpk The Underground games were rubbish. Hot Pursuit was basically the essence of NFS games, until they copied every other game and Fast and the Furious by going into the street racer scene. Seriously, NFS:HP2 on the PS2 was amazing.

Macktub1983
Macktub1983

I woud like to play one day,a NFS PORSCHE improved,with a lot and different cars to choose,career mode,realistic handling and damage.I remember that is the only game who i started and finished so many times.This game was the best from the series,in my opinion.Sorry for my english.

nickz_fpk
nickz_fpk

until they make a game similar to nfs undeground 2 nfs is dead to me

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

Well after the last 3 games this looks like a major improvement especially after undercover ( or what ever the one before shift was) that game sucked BIG time

lilflex1
lilflex1

its just an upgraded version of the ps2 version which was very addictive

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

On a personal note i feel like the crashes are slightly off and i mean there sure is a lot of crash debris flying through the air but the cars smash effects do not match the crash which ultimately throws it off little bit. It would be much better to have the cars look like Burnout Paradise crash effects in this game. I feel that it is a small rip off or half the effort of Burnout Paradise, I also feel that that Criterion want us to feel the intense impact of a crash in NFS HP but have not done the crash effects right to do justice. However i am not saying there bad at all..

kungfuj0
kungfuj0

Should be interesting. I'll check it out when it comes....

Madvo
Madvo

Need for speed is daddy everyone else in street racing vs cops are sons,

Franzkill
Franzkill

LOL people are complaining about this being too much like a Burnout game!? Is that neccesarily even a bad thing? This is Criterion we are talking about. Not like the Holocaust is happening again. Or would you all have prefered Pro Street 2? :)

termadoyle
termadoyle

actually looks good. Seeing most wanted was the best in the series. But I'd take a new burnout game over this any day.

pride93x
pride93x

Cool, but wheres Underground 3?

piyush18
piyush18

Make it like NFS most wanted.... probably the best game in the series...

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

what I want to know is if this is going to be like Burnout Paradise where it was all about online multiplayer with no single player career worth mentioning, or will it actually have something to interest those of us who don't care about multiplayer?

Gabe447
Gabe447

i'll hold my judgement till the review comes out.

NND1
NND1

This Game is Going to be BO$$

lch153
lch153

imo all the nfs games after carbon were terrible

anthonycg
anthonycg

@ metalkid9 Oh yeah, thats a of hate it or love it thing there. I don't know if devs are allowed to make street racing games anymore. And all the sim racing stuff could mean that there won't be a midnight club 5.

metalkid9
metalkid9

@FruitCakesRUS, @anthonycg, sorry I meant to say arcade racers. Racing sims are ok too but they bore me fast.

icebox98
icebox98

i love the hot pursuit series. unlike the other need for speed games it has some kinda realistic driving..........must have 4 me

Jimmygee123
Jimmygee123

They need to stop churning out this GTA turd and go back to the days of underground.

anthonycg
anthonycg

@ SIDEFX1 Where exactly does he infer that he tried them? Anyone that makes a blanket statement saying that a bunch of games are crap usually doesn't know what they're talking about.

stallowned
stallowned

that siren sound is really annoying.. you better pick the racers folks =P

wars45
wars45

hate need foe speeds but am a fan of critrion .so i think this will be a must have

iagbas
iagbas

I lost faith in "Need for Speed" title long time ago...

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

@FruitCakesRUS That is Metalkid9 perso feeling, He is not ignorant because he tried other racers and with the choices we all have he is only happy with criterion games. He tried them and did not like them. simple. It is part of the learning process for games and especially each to there own. give the kid a break.

FruitCakesRUS
FruitCakesRUS

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

amaan4ever
amaan4ever

@ jmarshha ur wrong actually undercover is most wanted 2 ea claimed it