Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2

-EA Games (2002)

-Also on: Xbox, Gamecube.

 

Summary

Speed through roadblocks, out-maneuver The Law, and discover that Lamborghinis are missile-proof.

My Thoughts

Ok, stay with me here. The third Need for Speed game was Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit. The fourth was Need for Speed: High Stakes. I was always under the impression that High Stakes was the sequel to Hot Pursuit. The game let you outrun the cops like III did. I guess since the number four never actually appeared in the title, EA can just forgo the official numbering scheme for each successive NFS (five was NFS: Porsche Unleashed I think) and call this one Hot Pursuit II. So in the Hot Pursuit series, the first is Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit and the sequel is Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit II. Hmm, that doesn't really make sense. Although, wouldnít the real title be Need for Speed VI: Hot Pursuit II? Ha, that would make even less sense.    

Anyway, Hot Pursuit 2 is by far the best Need for Speed game, and one of the best racing games out there. Itís not a real driving simulator like Gran Turismo; itís an arcade-style racer that pits you against the other racers, and everyone against The Law. 

The sense of speed as you race on these twisty tracks is excellent. The tracks themselves have some great designs too, with some terrific jumps (nothing beats jumping over a roadblock) and many shortcuts for you to exploit. Be careful though. Some of those shortcuts can be a big hindrance if you don't know exactly what's coming. The tracks are long, too.  Some laps can last for over three minutes. 

The realistic graphics look good and the cars actually show damage this time. Woot! Your performance isnít greatly affected if your car is all beat to hell, but having damage on licensed cars like these is great. Your car will get beat to hell too, especially when the cops try to stop you. Theyíll ram you, use roadblocks, spike strips, and eventually a helicopter will drop flash bomb barrels and launch missiles at you, and if you manage to outrun the cops long enough theyíll give up. Man, I donít think real-life cops would just give up, but then again you probably couldnít drive your car after if it was hit with a missile.   

If thereís one thing about the game that doesnít live up to the rest itís the licensed soundtrack. The songs themselves are fine. You have a song by Bush, Rush, and some other decent groups. Itís just that there arenít a lot of songs on the play-list, so you end up hearing the same one over and over. Just turn the music off and listen to your own, or better yet, enjoy the beautifully powerful roar of your high horse-powered super-charged engine and the chatter of the cops as they try to slow your speedy-ass down. 

Winning in the surprisingly long and involved Ultimate Racer and Tournament modes lets you unlock new sweet rides. You get to be the cop in some races which grants you the suped-up cop cars. You will also unlock NFS editions of some of the cars, which just feature a snazzy new paint job. 

This game is a must for all racing fans. Just about everything is perfect: the cars, gameplay, tracks, sounds (minus the music), and most importantly, the speed. Buy the PS2 version though; I hear the Gamecube and Xbox versions sense of speed is much less than spectacular.       

Score: 9.5       

-Shawn