So now, this is part two of my Gamescom review, specifically Hot Pursuit. It has been quite awhile since I posted due to the embargo that we have to deal with as well as ensuring exactly what we have been allowed and not allowed to talk about. First off, I’ll let you know, there won’t be any detailed car list in this review. As much as I’d love to tell you about the stable of cars we have those cars are being saved for the Official Need for Speed sites’s car of the day release. I would like to describe everything I saw behind closed doors, however, some of it was still in such a development stage that it wasn’t a hard copy of what we’ll see.
Need For Speed: Autolog
From the videos you have seen and the details from other reviews, there isn’t much more to add about the Autolog. It’s essentially a social network inside Hot Pursuit to live track your statistics and share them with your friends, which creates challenges and rivalries between each other. If I had beaten your score by any time at all, you would have a message appear the next time you logged on to challenge the new time, and keep your rank on the overall “SpeedWall”, Autolog is also a great way to share photos and photo shoots which you have taken by yourself or with friends online, and the game will tag everyone who may be in the picture.
The graphics and environment which was seen on the PS3 demo we had previewed showed a lot of the detail in the world that the developers had meticulously created, not just in the cars, but the buildings, roads, even the birds flying overhead, or the plane which flew through a canyon beside you. The time shift available throughout the race and through the game itself is quite a nice touch as well, it is nice to finally have a full day night cycle again. The day and night brings back the essence of time which lacking in previous titles of the series. Not only that, but the night also brings the return of controllable headlights, which means you can turn them on and off anytime you want. Driving at night will actually help to boost your nitrous replenishment faster than if you were driving with them on. Even so, with the lights off you’re not really in complete darkness anyways, I found I’ll be using the lights off feature quite a bit throughout my careers.
The redesigned photomode
The new look to photo mode gave players more freedom to capture an image. Before you were always locked to a certain distance or angle available. The new photo mode actually gives you complete freedom of where to put your camera, rotate it 360 degrees in any direction, and zoom out of bounds, the only thing the camera couldn’t do which was tried was to clip the camera deep inside the cars. The game actually sensed what I was trying to do and wouldn’t allow me to pass through the car’s physical boundries. The most interesting part of the new photo mode is the live shots you can take by simply clicking the controllers button. What this allows is for instant photos taken without leaving your live race.
Where to start, I suppose I could begin with how the cars felt, each car I had an opportunity to drive felt a little different, in its overall handling and controls, depending on what limits you were trying to push. As a driver who likes to use the E-Brake more than the regular brakes in corners, I found some cars would drift better through the corners where others would spin out if you held the brakes on too long, another reasoning behind that was that it was geared mainly for evading police, pulling 180’s and heading in the opposite directions quickly. It reminded my of a more sophisticated version of the Undercover’s “Action button.” One of the community leaders asked whether or not there would be the selectable transmission for the cars. The answer was simply “No”. Most of these cars have automatic transmissions in the real world, so it was kept similar to those cars as close as possible. When evading police on these courses at high speeds, you’re not really wanting to worry about shifting gears all the time anyways. As a person who only drives a manual for work, losing this feature didn’t bother me as much as it did others in the room.
I’d like to tell you more about what I saw however, that will come in an amendment shortly in the future, which will have another few topics to discuss, mainly game modes, and other interesting little details which all makes Hot Pursuit worth picking up on November 16th when it is released in North America.
My overall summary of the game, It feels like a reboot of Hot Pursuit 2 with a good dose of Burnout and it’s series, blended well with the most current technology and graphics available, while still keeping the essence of the “driving exotic cars in exotic locations” alive.