Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Updated Hands-On

We went hands-on with a multiplayer build of Criterion’s cops-and-robbers racing game.

Constant one-upmanship is the basis of Criterion’s first stab at the Need for Speed licence. Its Autolog feature tracks your friends’ progress, showing you their high scores and in which events they’re beating you, allowing you to challenge them in a constant battle for superiority. In a system similar to the news stream of Facebook, you can see what your friends are up to, pictures of cars they’ve uploaded, and videos of their best racing moments. The system even intelligently recommends which races to play based on this activity, creating a custom career experience for each player.

Though the social gameplay integration is intriguing, what matters most is how the cars handle on the track. We went hands-on with a multiplayer race against five opponents, without any police interference. To begin, we picked a car, going for a rather splendid bright-yellow Porsche Boxster. The race kicked off with the cars already at speed, with our opponents scrapping for first place. The car handling was arcade-style, with an extremely satisfying drift mechanic that made it easy to slide around corners. Our car was equipped with a boost, which was charged by driving dangerously. By swerving around cars, drifting, and ramming our opponents, the boost charged quickly, allowing us to make our way up to second place. Using the boost resulted in requisite motion blur, which gave us a great feeling of speed as we sped along the track.

Though there were no cops around to hamper our racing efforts, we still had to deal with our rivals constantly ramming our car and attempting to wreck it. We noticed bits of our car fly off when we were hit, with panels and paint work becoming more damaged. Fans of the Burnout series will recognise the “wrecked” animation, which shows your crash in horrifying detail in slow motion. While we weren’t able to race against cops, we were shown a demo that featured many an epic chase along a highway. This showed off more Criterion-style touches, in particular the slow motion and camera zooms which highlighted when the cops set up road blocks or dropped stingers across the road. Other police tools we saw included helicopter units and the police interceptor, which was a supercar decked out in cop colours.

Sleek, powerful, and not at all showy.

The final race Criterion showed us highlighted many of the graphical effects in the game. It started off on a rainy track, with realistic-looking spray flying from the back of the tyres. This soon gave way to sunshine, and we could see reflections along the bodywork of the car. The race then transitioned to nighttime, with street lamps and moonlight creating a neon glow across the road. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is due for release on November 16 in North America and November 19 in Europe. Head over to gamescom.gamespot.com for more of our coverage from Cologne.

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Discussion

73 comments
spcmercer
spcmercer

I know that I may be the only person wondering this with the craze of online multiplayer but has the split screen been completely obliviated from all racing games or is it just me. I mean its nice having a few drinks with friends and playing NFS or any other racer without having 15 miles between you.

bisonfan2010
bisonfan2010

I still play NFS Hot Pursuit 2 sometimes on my PS2...other than gran turismo that was my second favorite racing game! Wow two great racing games going to be released within a year that is incredible...especially since (not forza but I had a ps3) with only mediocre racing games being released

Master_gamer438
Master_gamer438

Shud be intresting Criterion made the burnout series

hpflix2
hpflix2

The Need For Speed Underground series was my favorite I hope they make another one of those in the future =)

Oldyoat554
Oldyoat554

I like criterion, and knowing them, they will want to bring back what made HP fun, the great cop chases, and there was even damage in High Stakes. I even liked not having free roam because of the crappy looking cities in the new ones. I could be wrong though. Carbon, and Undercover with the glitchy cop chases and the mediocre graphics have tarnished the Need for Speed name, but if they made new ones then people are obviously buying them. I just hope criterion isn't forced into making another one of those games. Viva la 90's-early 2k NFS! Oh yeah and about NFS:Shift....IF YOU WANT A DRIVING SIM GET GT5 AND IF YOU DONT HAVE A PS3 GET FORZA OR PGR! :)

sportwarrior
sportwarrior

Very interested in this one. Love Criterion's work and love classic Need for Speed. This could be awesome.

xbox360555
xbox360555

lets hope Criterion can bring back the fun of being chased by the cops (not like the glitchy undercover )

jakndaxter7223
jakndaxter7223

its either this or Motorstorm 3 i cant decide!!!

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

What i would like to see is more than one cop car chasing me in the single player experience and unscripted events with the AI.

leysaley
leysaley

I am very happy with the developers Criterion coz..now i really want to see cars getting all blown up and getting damaged..m ain't a fan of playing god mode..I want some real physics and sh*t like that..:-)

BladeTrinity114
BladeTrinity114

Definitely going to look into this game. Can't wait to get my hands on it :D

mikedelta-09
mikedelta-09

Ah yes, they're bringing back an all-time fav for me. Only in Hot Pursuit can you barrel down the road in an F-50 at 180mph with a half dozen Murcielago police interceptors tailing you without regard to oncoming traffic :). Along with the typical "replay" option, I'd love for the game to have a movie editor mode where we can modify cam angles, field-of-view, handycam-shake, etc to record some sick cop chases or memorable multiplayer action. At the very least they should have a cinematic view for added replay value.

DFen
DFen

well, definitely not missing much since its a remake, I'll just wait for gt5 instead :)

majikninja69
majikninja69

back to the old school, its about time this hapnds away with the modding, if you guys realy want a game with that in it, thers plenty of other games to play, my fav quote ive read is " when did we trade a shiny island for an entire galaxy"

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

bored_gamer
bored_gamer

Need For Speed has gone downhill after Carbon was released in 2006. SHIFT is actually pretty good despite that it's a racing sim. the last good Need For Speed games in my opinion were Underground and Most Wanted. Hot Pursuit actually shows promise. plus it was developed by Criterion Games; also known for the Burnout games which were great racing games. Hot Pursuit definitely looks like it's gonna save the Need For Speed games and if this game is successful, Criterion Games should continue the series

HT89488
HT89488

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

HT89488
HT89488

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

TristanH12
TristanH12

Wow day night transitions, rain, this game is the epitome of awesome!

gameboy900
gameboy900

This game going to be wack they ain't no customization options in it. I don't like it untill we can customize the cars. I'm not getting it.

stan105
stan105

It's looking good so far.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

I am in for this, personally i think it looks and sounds like fun so far and do not think this will be like burnout, I think it would be cool if this has some good replay options to use such as using a free view camera to any angle and slow mo..

advanracer
advanracer

NO TSHANks... Plain Cops and Robbers...with no Mods on the Rides...seems like we went back to the Stone Age of Games...with just pretty graphics.

mrbrainheart
mrbrainheart

I'm not sure if I will like the smashing you're opponent till he's wrecked approach (perhaps its just to much burnout style for me), but the rest of it seems to look very need for speed. I will just wait and see

gq_cjc
gq_cjc

Pass. No customization options for the cars at all. And from what I've seen the selection of cars have been slimmed down. The approach was great, but they stumbled a bit on the landing.

Wam11
Wam11

this game is gonna be sweet. back to the pc roots baby

oregon_duck
oregon_duck

I think its pretty stupid that there still making regular xbox 360 games when kinect is coming out soon.

sensei_hEnRY
sensei_hEnRY

hmm, i hope Criterion won't make it too much like Burnout

big_mr_a
big_mr_a

i hope they made this like most wanted

FstrthnU
FstrthnU

Cops and Robbers in Burnout Paradise was fun, if a little too uncustomizable and chaotic. I can't wait to try out this Hot Pursuit. Glad to see they are returning to their roots with fast exotics (besides the regular sports cars) and great police chases

dean0null
dean0null

I get thumbs down for saying that they haven't announced split-screen support. I mean come on, it's only been stated that there is 4 player support in a Game Informer and that's only where they listed it on the side (4 player). That's hardly anything to go on. Plus, who wouldn't want split screen support?

zeckle_1
zeckle_1

YES YES YES YES!!! Finally they're going back to the good old roots! I'm picking this one up for sure!

Fusco1980
Fusco1980

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

hillboy619
hillboy619

Man my fav racing game as a kid coming bak even better ahhhhh yaaa

Coolyfett
Coolyfett

This games seems pretty cool. Coolyfett may have to pick this up, this game seems a little like James Bond Blood Stone game. Coolyfett likes what they are doing for this game.

XanderKage
XanderKage

Criterion? Finally a NFS game developed by someone who knows who to make racing games. Should be awesome.

Ryozo
Ryozo

Everything shown so far looks good; I enjoyed running enforcement detail back in HP2 and look forward to seeing for myself how it works this time around. Still wonder if you can have a setup where X number of players are running a race, and you have 2-4 (depending on the number of racers) other players running the Five-O...

HT89488
HT89488

I just hope the cop cars are not tanks like in the older NFS:HP, I think it was Hot Pursuit 2? It sucked and make me take the game back after only about 5 hours of gameplay.

dean0null
dean0null

They still haven't addressed whether or not there will be split-screen support.

badboyx5
badboyx5

Now that we got a Hot Pursuit...Lets get a Need for Speed Highstakes!!...my all time favorite Ps1 racer!!.....come on guys you can make one...Imagine racing for pinks on your Ferrari!...lol...that would be insane

eric4kelsey
eric4kelsey

I still think the first NFS Hot pursuit was the best ever sure the graphics were not that great but felt better and smoother then number 2, lets hope this one has that feel of the first one, the newest NFS have all fallen short and bored me

ammargamespot
ammargamespot

Can anyone please tell me Y does Need For Speed look different at Gamescom and looked different at E3???? Please answer its bothering me loads.. Different in sense of lighting, the weight of cars, more realistic?? Lets c who gives a logical explaination..

DCSchark
DCSchark

Reminds me of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 for the PlayStation 2. That was a great and entertaining game. Hope this will be better. :)

skillz191
skillz191

OMG there are new cars...finally, i cant tell you the last time I saw a stream of new cars in a nfs game. Im a big fan of Criterion's games so i know this'll be lots of fun