Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010) was one of the last great entries in EA’s main racing series. The franchise has seen a dramatic fall from grace in recent years. In fact, most serious racers have moved on entirely to other games, leaving Need for Speed behind. Having tried many different approaches to get back to the good old days, it’s now time for a remaster. It’s almost as if the company has given up trying to make a new release that works.
However, fans can be thankful that the publisher has at least chosen a decent enough title to remaster. After all, Hot Pursuit had some nice ideas when it launched 10 years ago. The real question, though, is whether these hold up more than a decade later.
Unlike many other of EA’s Need for Speed games, Hot Pursuit doesn’t have a proper story. Rather than include a narrative, the game simply has a career mode where players can choose between two sides. It’s possible to play as a police officer or a racer, with the missions changing according to the role. When taking control of the racer, the goal is simply to finish as quickly as possible. But as a police officer, the aim is to take out all the illegal racers.
That’s about as far as the plot goes, with the action revolving around completing the missions. There are no cutscenes or dialogue to provide any context. However, the lack of story is not a great concern. While it might put some players off who like plot to accompany the action, the gameplay is enough on its own. Hot Pursuit just does not need a full narrative.
As mentioned above, the action in Hot Pursuit revolves around standard races and police chases. What makes the gameplay so fun is the contrasting requirements of being a racer or police officer. One involves drifting around corners and being irresponsible on the road to power up the nitrous boost. On the other hand, as the police you must drive cleanly but quickly. Officers also have an array of weaponry at their disposal, including EMPs, roadblocks, and spike strips. Those being pursued have some similar tools to get out of trouble. This creates an interesting dynamic, adding an extra dimension to the traditional racing formula.
There are many different modes where you can put those tools to good use. Completing different events unlocks extra cars that have a performance boost. However, the vast majority of the cars handle pretty much the same way. Fortunately, driving is pretty fun and drifting is particularly joyful. There’s also a strong array of multiplayer options, letting you experience both sides of the law. Players should be able to find something to enjoy, with game types like Interceptor and Most Wanted showing off the game’s best aspects.
When it comes to the presentation, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is something of a mixed bag. Some parts of the remaster look great and you can really see the improved textures. But others don’t shine quite as bright and feel like a letdown. The menus are one prime example where the developer has seemingly not put the effort in. The user interface and menu screens all look very similar to what players got back in 2010. In fact, some users might be left wondering if these elements have received any updates at all. The cutscenes are just another example of where the visuals look very dated. This is exacerbated by the fact that so many other parts of the game look so good.
Without a doubt, the best part of the upgraded graphics is the cars themselves. They don’t match up with the likes of the Forza or Dirt series in terms of quality. Yet, they still look good and are a notable improvement over what players got in the original game. Players shouldn’t expect a groundbreaking visual enhancement in this particular remaster though. That’s especially true when it comes to the wider environment, with Seacrest County not exactly rendered with lots of quality. The textures all look rather basic when you look further than the vehicles themselves.
It isn’t all doom and gloom when it comes to the presentation. There are relatively few technical issues and the frame rate doesn’t seem to dip much. However, that might be something to do with the fact that it is locked at just 30 FPS. Meanwhile, the sounds seem to have been remixed, with the cars sounding more realistic than ever before. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered also includes a number of songs from the original. This includes the opening song “Edge of the Earth,” which instantly takes you back to the classic game.
Those who have fond memories of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit will definitely want to try the remaster. It captures everything that was great in the original and updates it for modern hardware. While the visuals have not been overhauled quite as much as you might like, they still look decent.
Yet, those who missed the first game might find it more difficult to get into the remastered version now. It can feel a little outdated at times and the lack of a proper story might put some people off. But the gameplay is still fun and worth at least checking out.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.