Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered Xbox One Review

January 5, 2021 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher: EA  Developer: Stellar Entertainment/Criterion Games  Genre: Racing

Players: 1  Age Rating: 12+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4

It’s scary to learn that Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit was released ten years ago. The time has seemingly passed by as quickly as some of the powerful supercars that are featured in the game. As it’s often considered to be one of the best games in EA’s long running racing series, a remaster certainly made a lot of sense.  

Originally developed by Burnout developer Criterion Games, the Need for Speed series had received a rather mixed reception during that time after a string of releases which included the likes of Need for Speed Carbon, Need for Speed: ProStreet and Need for Speed: Undercover. It was certainly great to see a reliable developer in charge in Criterion for Hot Pursuit then, and they ending up releasing a truly classic arcade racer, which also took the series back to its humble roots somewhat. 

Ten years later, and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is still one of the finest arcade racers, offering the kind of finesse and fun which just isn’t always present in what is definitely an inconsistent series in terms of quality. Taking control of both an illegal street racer as well as the police in the fictional Seacrest County, there’s much to love in Criterion’s take on the series. 

The game includes all the DLC of the original release.

Hot Pursuit allows free drive across Seacrest County, which is comprised of over 100 miles of varied roads, and whether you are speeding through the desert, along dense forest trails, or snaking around pretty coastal routes or through snowy mountain passes, it feels like a real place. All the roads are interconnected and there’s sneaky shortcuts to be found as well, although this is no open-world racer by any stretch of the imagination. The ordinary way to play the game has you racing from point A to point B or taking control of the police and attempting to shutdown races before any of the law breakers cross the finishing line, with each of these events being completely separate from one another and accessible to you on a map of Seacrest County as opposed to actually driving to them during the game’s pleasingly lengthy career mode. 

There’s variation in the way that you get normal racing without the interference of police, but then the Hot Pursuit events mixes things up with either you playing as a racer attempting to cross the finishing line while being hounded by the pursuing police or as a member of the police force yourself. Other events include point to point time trials, gauntlets which pit you, and you alone, against the police as you attempt to cross the finishing line in good time, and there’s also Interceptor events which have you playing as the police and going after a single racer. You also have one-on-one racing duels, and finally Rapid Response events have you playing as the police and getting to the finish line as quickly as possible, although collisions with trackside objects as well as other traffic results in time penalties, which means that careful driving is a must. 

Hot Pursuit also has weapons, which differ depending on if you are playing as a racer or a police officer. Both racers and police do have access to spike strips as well as EMP, although the rest of the equipment is completely unique. Police have access to helicopters which fly ahead and drop spike strips in the path of racers, they can also set up roadblocks to slow down and damage the vehicles of them dangerous nutcases. Racers, on the other hand, have access to turbos, which speeds your vehicle up a lot more than the nitrous (shared by racers and police), while Jammers allow you to put a stop to the police using their own equipment as well as cancelling out some of their already deployed equipment.  

Variation comes in the form of the number of weapons that are at your disposal during events, as well as which ones. With that said, if you begin an event with a small number of weapons, it’s up to you to decide when the best time to use them is. Equipment is also upgraded over the course of the game’s career mode. 

Vehicle handling is arcade-style, although it does take a bit of time to learn how to get the vehicles to drift around the corners. It’s all very user-friendly though and there’s plenty of joy to be had with how these machines handle as well as the kind of speeds that they can get up to. There’s definitely more finesse to the handling than, say, Criterion’s very own Burnout series. 

Whether you are playing as the police or a racer, the game has plenty of cars, which come in the form of regular unlocks.

As a remaster, the game now presents you with two visual options, performance or quality. The performance mode was my own choice, pushing the frame-rate up to 60fps at the cost of the resolution being lowered to 1080p. Quality mode, on the other hand, has the resolution of the game being bumped up to 4k. With the additions, the game still looks nice enough today and runs like a dream as well. 

When it comes to the online options, the original 2010 Hot Pursuit was of course the Need for Speed game that introduced the innovative Autolog feature, and it’s back in its full glory in this remaster, and even better due to the addition of cross-play support. With Autolog, a lot of things that you do in the game are recorded to a leaderboard that is comprised of others on your friends list, and whenever a friend beats your score, the game will let you know and, if you so wish, you can quickly dive in to attempt to beat said friend. Besides the Autolog feature, the game also features traditional head-to-head multiplayer, and the action is as fun and chaotic as you’d imagine it to be. 

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered is a very safe remaster, but it’s also a very welcome one. Even all of these years later it’s still one of the most fun and exhilarating Need for Speed games, and one of the finest racing games of its generation, and this is easiest the definitive way to play it. Now, how about a remaster of Need for Speed: Rivals?