Review: Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (31.38 GB)
Release Date: November 6, 2020
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Criterion Software
Original MSRP: $39.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: E10+
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered is a remaster of the 2010 cops and racers game. For fans of the Need for Speed series, Hot Pursuit will stand out as a more pure, distilled racing game. Races and events are selected from a map; there’s no driving to the start of each event.

There is progression for the racer and the cop, but really all the player is doing is unlocking faster cars and new events. There is no FMV, or a story trying too hard to be edgy. Each car is limited to a handful of color options. There are no options to add strips or decals, and no swapping out one brand of muffler or brakes for another manufacturer’s.

Right away, the game throws the player in a race. The game never covers the basic controls, but that is easy enough to find the menu. What the game never covered, and still was my weakest point over forty events later, was curves. I was still guessing if I need to tap the brakes, let go of the gas, or use a hand brake for each curve during my first time through an area.

In the first race, I crashed once or twice and had some sloppy curves. Towards the end, I was in the middle of the pack. I handled the last few curves better, used my full tank of nitrous, and finished in first place. There could have been an accident I didn’t see, but it certainly felt like rubber-banding.

A few races later, the cops are introduced. I am on a straight section and use my nitrous to boost over 140 MPH. I blow past a parked cop car. Over the hill and around the corner and I see the cop in my rear view mirror, right on my tail. A few seconds later he blows past me, while I am still near top speed. The game explains that cop cars are all about acceleration and high top speeds but that doesn’t explain what was happening. The cops were constantly speeding past me and then falling way behind and then speeding past me again.

I could generally finish a race in the top three on my first attempt. I only completed a time trial with a bronze time or higher a few times on my first attempt. It usually took me a half dozen attempts, and even then I only got a bronze by the skin of my teeth.

Despite revisiting the areas for multiple events, I never felt bored by a course and surrounding landscape. There was a mixture of day and night races, as well as sunny and rainy. Despite the look of water on the road and puddles, I don’t believe the water had any impact on the physics of the cars. I never came around a curve and completely hydroplaned off the road. This leads me to believe any issues with big turns during rain was the result of driver error.

Most events are racing other cars, sometimes with cops chasing you, or racing against the clock. Racing as a cop was a mixed bag for me. I eventually started to avoid Rapid Response events. It’s one thing to race against the clock, it’s another when you are penalized two seconds for bumping into or hitting guardrails, and three seconds for another car. It makes sense that as a cop you can’t drive around smashing into everything and everyone, but it’s still annoying. Many of these events were on a busy crowded highway, and despite my siren and flashing lights, no one moved over and slowed down.

On the other hand, I love Intercepts. Smashing into racers and using EMPs and roadblocks to take them down is a nice palate cleanser from racing. While the AI felt off on the races, it seemed dialed in here. As soon as the Intercepts started to feel too easy, the AI threw in a big curveball. Instead of simply racing from point A to B, I was catching up with a racer about to boost and ram from behind when it hit the brakes and raced past me going the wrong way down the highway. The AI racers started using the side paths and dirt races instead of always sticking the main road. Though it was frustrating at times, it was so rewarding when I took them down.

Despite the palate cleansing, it was quickly more of the same. Faster cars, more weapons, but still, more of the same.

Visuals:
The cars look perfectly fine but certainly not the car porn that would be expected with a new car game. The special sauce is missing. The cars don’t have the shiny sheen and little extra bits of details.

The environments received much less attention. I am sure some work was put in, but if you told me the environments were completely untouched from the PS3 version, I would believe you. The trees and landscape mostly look ok when going over 120 MPH. The problem is when the game slows down a little or during a slow overview cutscene of a new route, everything looks like a low polygon model. The individual leaves stand out as misshapen, with jagged edges.

Audio:
The Hot Pursuit soundtrack is a mixture of licensed rock and electronic music, with a little bit of rap added in for good measure. The opening music is the instrumental beginning of 30 Seconds to Mars’s “Edge of the Earth”. It caught me a little off guard, and quickly reminded me that the game has aged.

I enjoyed the music, but I believe mostly for the nostalgia it brought. Overall, the high tempo music is a good accompaniment for the race. Often I was so focused on approaching a curve at top speed near the end of the race, the lyrics faded away, yet the rhythm of the music stayed with me.

Online/Multiplayer:
The multiple player events are the same as the single player. I tried half a dozen races and had no noticeable lag or connection issues. The only issue I came across was finding a full party when choosing a specific event. Most of my races only had four racers out of eight slots. Choosing “quick match” usually resulted in a full, or mostly full, party, but then I didn’t get to choose what type of event I wanted to do.

Conclusion:
I never played the original Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and don’t want to dismiss the hard work that was put into the remaster, but seems like a quick port with minimal resources allotted to the project. The landscapes and environments feel like they were passed over during the remaster process, and the cars, while touched up, can’t compete with the level of detail and polish from early PS4 racers. Again, no car porn here.

This is one of the most beloved games in the Need for Speed series and was released without any fanfare or marketing, which is probably one of the main reasons behind the small online player base. The game and its passionate fans certainly deserved a better remaster.

All of that being said, Hot Pursuit is a pure racing game that sidesteps unnecessary filler, and is a blast. It’s an easy recommendation to racing fans who go in with the right expectations.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

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