One of the most beloved entries in the Need for Speed franchise returns for another high octane run around the block. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered is out now for PCs and console, including a version for the Nintendo Switch. We took a look at the game on a PlayStation 4 Pro.
Although Hot Pursuit was originally the third entry in the series back in 1998, this particular remaster goes back to the 2010 reboot of that formula, developed by Criterion right after their massive success with the Burnout series. As a result, it was no surprise that Most Wanted went the arcade route, reintroducing the police chase mechanic that’s been a bit of a staple in the series.
It somehow seems fitting that this is a remaster of a reboot, right at the end of this console lifecycle. It’s been a generation that has shown us that a lot of these older games have aged quite well, and Hot Pursuit is no exception. The handling model is a lot of fun to play with once you get used to the somewhat heavy use of the drifting mechanic (which of course feels great during chases), and the sense of speed is of course still there, especially when the game powers on at 60 frames per second.
The Autolog feature that was introduced back then even feels like it was ahead of its time in 2010, with its use of online leaderboards and updates about who’s beaten your best times and the ability to jump right back into another attempt when that happens. The 2020 updates integrates crossplay functionality with this as well, so hopefully that will keep the competition alive for a while. You can also do some “regular” head to head racing as well of course, and that’s cross-platform as well.
If you follow the campaign, you’ll be switching between underground racers and the cops trying to put an end to their exploits. There’s a nice sense of progression where you unlock different and sometimes better cars as well, and on the police side of things you also gain access to a few cool abilities that include spike strips and barricades that you can put up on the road. There’s even more to play with because all of the post-release DLC has been included as well, and the way that progression works also makes sure you’re not overwhelmed with a multitude of controls all at once – you’re gradually eased into new abilities.
There’s an open world map to explore, but it’s somewhat devoid of life and activities when you don’t engage with them, so it’s not nearly as exciting as the in-event gameplay of the various modes is. Most are plays on the same formula and thus things can get repetitive after a while, but when this core of the game is as solid as it is, it’s hard to not come back for more.
Looking at the more technical aspects of this remaster, and beyond cross-platform play, we noticed that there are two settings on the PS4 Pro – performance and resolution. Performance works absolutely great and maintains a 60 frames per second framerate (it’s half that on a regular PS4), with slightly enhanced visuals. Cars feature more detail, as do the backdrops. You still get the sense that you’re playing a great looking PS3 game though, rather than something that looks more current gen like the more recent Heat or Payback entries. The resolution mode fixes this to a degree, with 4K visuals that give the graphics a noticeable bump. It comes at the expense of the frame rate though, which at times struggles to maintain 30 frames per second. I’d imagine that, without a patch that improves this, most players will stick with the game’s performance mode.
It doesn’t give Dirt 5 a run for its money, but this remaster of Hot Pursuit is a great alternative for those who enjoy a more traditional on-road arcade racing experience – it’s held up very well and I can’t wait to see what’s next for the franchise.