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Need For Speed is one of the world’s favourite games franchises, but even bearing that in mind, a special buzz surrounds this year’s iteration, Hot Pursuit. That’s because it’s being lovingly crafted, for the first time, by legendary developer Criterion, best known for the mighty Burnout games. Put Need For Speed and Criterion together, and hugeness is bound to ensue.
From what we’ve seen of Hot Pursuit, to say that you won’t be disappointed is something of an understatement. The first thing Criterion decided to do was to take the game back to its roots, so it’s all about cops versus racers. Except this time around, both sides are equipped with the finest motors known to mankind – even machines like the Bugatti Veyron and Lamborghini Reventon will appear with flashing lights and black-and-white police car livery. And you’ll get to experience both sides of the coin in the single-player campaign, playing as both pursued and pursuer.
So far the only one of the many single-player modes to be unveiled is Interceptor, in which a cop tries to catch a racer, while the racer tries to escape. The action takes place in front of a lush mountain backdrop and, as one expects from Criterion, is extremely cinematic, with zoom-ins and slow-motion sequences at key points, all aided by power-ups that cops can launch, such as tyre-shredding spikes, roadblocks, immobilising EMP blasts and even a tracking helicopter. An Experience Point system called Bounty rewards you for driving into oncoming traffic, hitting top speed and so on, refilling your boost in the process.
Online, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is poised to take driving games into new territory, thanks to a hugely innovative system called Autolog. Autolog is best described as an in-game social network, and it constantly monitors what your friends are doing in the game. It has a Wall where you can chat and message your friends, and you can post your performances from within the game. Autolog will generate challenges based on what your friends have been up to, so you can effectively take them on even when they aren’t online, and it matters not a jot whether they are playing on the same type of console as you.
If ultra-high-octane, open-world racing with standard-setting graphics, rich and deep single and multiplayer campaigns and the finest machinery known to mankind sounds appealing, then make sure you keep your eyes open for Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit – it’s due to arrive with a screech of tyres on 19 November. Which is when you’ll be able