Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered (Switch) Review
There’s nothing quite like a great arcade racer. The thrill of drifting around a corner at top speed and then slamming on the boost as you careen on to the straight has always appealed to me more than precision racing sims. It’s little surprise then that Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit found a home in my Xbox 360 collection back in 2010, and that I was delighted to see it make a return ten years later. This remaster may be a relatively simplistic re-release, but that doesn’t diminish the excellent game under the hood.
As the name suggests, Hot Pursuit Remastered is all about the eternal duel between street racers and their law enforcement pursuers. The list of events spans a scenic American vista as you tear up the streets on both sides of the law. As a racer, you’ll compete in simple races, time trials and scenarios where you’ll need to outrun the cops on your way to the finish line. It’s just as much fun to flick on the sirens as the police as you try to take down a swarm of racers.
The bonus element adding some extra spice is the use of gadgets. Racers can utilise tricks some as road spikes to try to ditch their tale, whereas cops can deploy tools such as roadblocks and EMPs as their attempt to catch up to their target. It adds an extra wrinkle to proceedings to provide event variety and ramp up the tension during heated chases.
Regardless of the type of event you pick, you’ll have access to a wide range of cars that are all a dream to drive. With plenty of experience with the Burnout series under their belt, there’s just something about the way cars handle in a game by Criterion. Though the vehicles do undoubtedly feel a bit heavier than their Burnout counterparts, they grip the road around corners in an immensely satisfying fashion. This handling combines with Criterion’s signature sense of speed to make cars that are simply fun to drive.
It looks and runs nicely on the Switch too, hitting 1080p docked and 720p in handheld at a steady 30fps. The cars themselves look great, and the colourful environments look lovely as they zip by at insane speeds. I do however have some minor gripes. Text size is small on a TV but laughably tiny on the Switch’s screen. The console’s lack of analogue triggers does rob the game of some of the finesse of easing the pressure on the breaks and accelerator around corners, though there’s admittedly little that can be done about that.
A big advertising point when the game originally released a decade ago was Autolog, the game’s in-built social networking system that seamlessly allowed you to compare high scores and game progress with your friends. It also lets you jump immediately into a particular event that your friend may have just handed your behind to you on. It’s a feature that has been replicated by many racing games since, but it’s still a nice feature to have. The game’s online cross-play extends to both multiplayer racing and Autolog functionality, but my initial attempts to enable Autolog across platforms resulted in the game repeatedly crashing. I eventually gave up and just it off.
If you conquered the original back in the day, there’s nothing here you won’t have already seen. This is a no-frills remaster, with the only new additions coming via some additional cosmetic options. You can now paint your car practically any colour as opposed to just a handful of pre-set options that were available in the original. There’s also a new photo mode and a garage to view your shiny metallic friends, but there’s no other additional modes or cosmetic options to speak of. On the plus side, all of the additional cars originally available as DLC are included here but granted that’s ticking the bare minimum box for a remaster these days.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered remains a thrilling arcade racer even a decade on from its debut. The minute to minute excitement of playing cat and mouse with cops and racers is still an entertaining concept, and Criterion is the master of this type of white-knuckle racing. It is admittedly relatively basic as far as remasters are concerned, and there’s not that much here for those who have seen it all before, but those who have yet to drive these streets are in for a good time.
+ Arcade racing at its finest
+ Just as much fun as cops or racers
+ Looks and runs great
- Barebones remaster
- Cross-platform Autolog seems broken
- A few more customisation options would be nice