Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2
Game Info
Xbox, GC, PS2
Electronic Arts
EA Seattle
Official Website
ESRB Rating
The Good

• Lots of courses and challenges to perform
• Police chase and traffic add to challenge

The Bad

• Blurry textures
• No reward for getting away from the police
• Control is loose


Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 is not Electronic Arts' answer to Gran Turismo. It is, though, a solid arcade racer with loose cornering, lots of high-powered cars and a variety of races to perform in. But, instead of just taking the normal arcade racer route, they've managed to throw in a twist. Along with racing in a number of brand name cars (including Lotus, Lamborghini, BMW and Ferrari to name a few), the player has to deal with being pursued by the police, adding a "Fast and Furious" illegal racing aspect to the game.

Along with Quick Race mode, players have the option to play in a variety of modes - Hot Pursuit Mode is a series of missions in which the player must escape from the police while trying to finish the race with a decent enough place. Completing one challenge will unlock others and you'll find a variety of mission parameters to keep it from feeling like the same thing over and over. Championship Mode is a pure racing form of Hot Pursuit, where the player must win races without the hassle (or aid) of the police to unlock more competitions. And, if neither of those are of interest, you can choose to go on the Single Challenge Mode, where you can race a single race, create your own tournament or even play as the cop and try to capture racers.

During races, you'll earn points which can be used to unlock tracks and vehicles in the Single Challenge Mode. To earn points, you'll need to successfully perform goals or even make spectacular jumps. During the race, you'll often need to avoid the police or even non-racer traffic while trying to gain ground on the competition. The police chase aspect of the game adds a degree of challenge to the races, and will even force players to employ strategy to escape the police or even trick them to go after your competition.

Visually, the game looks really nice. The cars are well detailed and are fairly accurate to the brand names they sport. The courses have a good variety of design and you won't be want for course length. There are a lot of environmental details that accent the courses as you drive through. While the overall look of the courses are well done and they sport nice lighting and visual effects, they are held back by some blurry textures, especially along the grassy embankments. With some crisper textures and better reflective lighting off the pavement, the courses would be hard to beat, graphics-wise. Also, the non-racer vehicles seem to be lower in detail in comparison to the racers and police cars.

The audio portion of the game is well done. Each of the cars are accented with realistic engine roaring and the squeal of tires on pavement is spot-on. The varied music includes the likes of Course of Nature, Uncle Kraker, Matt Ragan, Bush and Rush. And, if you don't like the music, you can switch over to your own custom soundtrack on the Xbox harddrive. The strongest part of the audio portion of the game is the transmissions from the police, which both emphasize the chase aspect of the game and even gives the player useful information as to their situation.

One of my major complaints about the game is that you get no reward, other than bragging rights, for getting away from the police. While there seems to be a reward system in the PS2 version, the Xbox version doesn't have anything of the sort, which basically makes the added challenge almost not worth the trouble. Also, while this is an arcade racer, the controls feel a little too loose and seem to have a minor lag in response.

As an arcade racer, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 is a fine offering. There seems to be some minor unresolved issues, apparently because the team that did the PS2 version did not work on this one, that don't make the game bad in any way, but could have made the game a lot better. With a lot of races, a good number of modes and lots to unlock, you'll be playing this one for some time.

- - Vane

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