You may disagree with the need for Speed Die Hard, but Criterion’s Hot Pursuit was the winning arcade racer in 2010. With sophisticated handling models and vehicle choices, police have followed miles of winding roads, and autologging has brought addictive asynchronous multiplayer to the forefront. Ten years later, the game returned to Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remaster, and in most cases it is very well matured.
The heart of what has led the game to such success remains in this incarnation. In the first place, the handling model is intentional, nice and drifting. The car is heavy and requires a lot of determination to operate, but the handling when it clicks is great. Coupled with the vast and vast roads, the breakneck feeling of speed gives it the joy of playing, and it makes no difference in this remaster.
Autolog, on the other hand, is as good as it was ten years ago. Basically, you are constantly competing with your friends list. Every event has its own mini leaderboard just for you and your peers. Like social networks, the game warns you when someone beats your time and streamlines the process of getting your revenge with intuitive menus and prompts. This version of the game also includes cross-play, so you can compete with your friends regardless of platform. We have an “appropriate” online multiplayer mode and we’re happy that this aspect is fully functional.
When both sides vie for supremacy in Seacrest County, you exchange between cops and racers. Driving on both sides of the law, you are either escaping the police or stopping an illegal race. The game always rewards the player’s progress. You will level up as both a cop and a racer, and new cars will be added to your garage as you do. New car classes featuring faster rides, and equipment such as spike strips, EMP blasts, and police barricades keep things going at a fair pace. Especially early on, it feels like I’m unlocking something after almost every event and continuing to play to test new ones. With all the DLC vehicles and events in the mix, there’s a lot to do.
There are many types of events, but after hours of familiar roads, they start to recur. You can play in free roaming mode, but if your goal is zero, it doesn’t make sense unless you’re looking for a peaceful drive. That said, it’s hard to have a bad time when it’s very fun to handle, along with the strategic use of free equipment and weapons.
So the game is still a noisy and fun time — what about the remaster itself? Well, visually the game doesn’t look much better than the PS3, but it’s hard to judge without a direct comparison. The vehicle looks great and adds detail to the roads and landscapes. The biggest jump is PS4 Pro, which can play at 60 frames per second in performance mode, which is twice the frame rate of PS3 and standard PS4.
Other enhancements include the ability to choose from a much wider range of paint colors per vehicle, as well as basic photo modes. It’s a small addition, but I’m still grateful. Overall, the remastering work is good, but like Burnout Paradise Remastering, it’s a fairly tame effort compared to other examples. Still, the important thing is that one of PS3’s best arcade racers, Hot Pursuit, can play on PS4, which is the victory of our book.
The Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered has revived a great arcade racing game and is still a great pleasure 10 years later. Autolog feels like you’re at home in 2020, and the over-the-top cop vs racer gameplay is explosive. The remaster itself is a bit overwhelming and some of the issues with the original title remain, but it’s still a great game for petrol heads and adrenaline addicts everywhere.