Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Review


Need for Speed has had a ton of games over the years. It’s took a while but I’ve gotten to play just about all of them now. Hot Pursuit is one of the more recent ones and it’s a really solid installment. It takes the series back to its roots with a lot of solid races and the fact that you can now play on the police side as well. This makes for a pretty long campaign all things considered and there is still the free roam as well. Throw in the top notch graphics EA is known for and you’ve definitely got a winner here.

There is no story mode this time though so that’s something to consider here. You’ll instead just jump right into the races. There are around 60 races as a classic rebel who is going through illegal races and trying to be the #1 underground racer. Then you have the police side which has around 50 races as you take these guys to justice. I did all of the police levels and around 10-20 of the racer ones. There are definitely a lot of races to be had here so you really need to like the gameplay. Of course, why would you get a racing game if you don’t like the genre right?

The gameplay is a bit different between the two sides. On the rebel side it’s fairly standard as you try to outspeed the other racers to the goal. You also have time attack races where you just gotta go really fast. On the police side it’s about busting opposing cars. Take them out via ramming or with your 4 special abilities. You can fire EMP bombs at them, call in helicopters, use barricades, or even drop spikes. The rebels have these abilities as well so this is a bit of a departure from the more street level titles of the past. The abilities are pretty fun though and help make the game fresh. That’s why I played less of the rebel levels this time because I just liked the new approach here.

The gameplay is as smooth as it’s ever been. You really feel like you’re in control as the car zooms forward. Turns are seamless and everything feels right while you’re drifting. That’s good because some of the levels really call for a ton of precision so you need this level of control or you could find yourself in a lot of dangerous situations. Then you’ve got the graphics which are top notch as I mentioned. The game just looks really good. The cars are as realistic as they can be and that makes driving them even more fun. The rain is on point and the game looks PS4 level easy. It’s about as ahead of its time as you can get.

The soundtracks for this franchise can be very hit or miss but this one’s a hit without question. The main theme of the game is fantastic so whenever the game loads up you know you’re in for a treat. Not just any game can pull that off. It helps you tolerate the initial loading time a lot more than you would otherwise. The tunes in the actual game are a little less memorable but still work well enough. With a soundtrack of this size you’re not likely to enjoy them all but more work than the ones that do not.

With 100+ levels in here the game should last you around 12 hours if you want to complete them all but if you only aim to complete one side then around 6 hours will do. Of course that leaves a lot of replay value regardless. Earning the Distinction or Gold Medal on each level will be really difficult. You can also earn levels ups as you go through the game which unlocks more abilities and better cars. With these cars you can then go back to the older levels and it’ll be a little easier to complete them. So this game does reward your continued play. You can also go for trophies but with the online not around anymore hopefully there are no online ones or the Platinum trophy will be impossible to get anyway so I’m not sure if you would really bother with it.

One thing I would say that is in this game’s favor is the more Arcade like approach. I’m cool with the game just giving you the cars and you choose which one to grab. While I can see the appeal in customizing your own car and heading to the lot to buy new ones every few levels, I prefer to sometimes just get in and race. Give everyone the same cars and just let it come down to skill. If you ask me that’s for the best. It’s not like a game will lose points for not doing this of course, but I just really like it going this way.

Overall, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is really a great game. There’s just a whole lot for you to enjoy. It’s a complete racing game with top notch gameplay and graphics. It certainly makes a case for being the strongest Need for Speed title. Really the only thing stopping it is the fact that there is 0 story. Even if the gameplay may be the best, it’s hard for me to put it above one of the titles that actually has a strong story. If you’re just in it for the gameplay though then I’d say that you really can’t go wrong here. There’s something to be said for going back to the core basics which this game executed really well.

Overall 8/10

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 5h 41m
Total Game Complete 30%
Distance Driven 527.4 Miles

Time Played As Cop 4h 19m
Cop Distinctions 23/48
Cop Cars Driven 18/49
Cop Milestones Complete 15/20

Time Played As Racer 1h 21m
Racer Golds 6/60
Racer Cars Driven 9/51
Racer Milestones Complete 3/20

Total Driving Milestones Complete 17/40
Distance Driven 2/4
Distance In Oncoming 1/4
Distance In Drift 1/4
Distance On Shortcuts 2/4
Time In Slipstream 1/4
Time At Top Speed 1/4
Time Using Nitrous 1/4
Nitrous Bars Filled 3/4
Near Misses 2/4
Total Crashes 3/4

Need For Speed: The Run Review


It’s time to look at the next Need for Speed game in the series. The Run definitely makes things pretty intense here with how high intensity the story is. Unfortunately the story is extremely short though. I was surprised when I initially found out just how short the title was. It just strikes me as odd that you wouldn’t have made the game a few hours longer at least. When you went to all the trouble of setting up the gameplay and locations it just makes sense to put more content in right? Ah well, I applaud the series for trying to do something different here. It may not have ended up being quite the biggest payoff but it was a worthy attempt.

So the main character is in some trouble with the law. A lady shows up and offers to clear his record if he enters an illegal cross country race on her behalf. He’ll earn lotsa of money so it’s a pretty solid deal. The lead agrees to do this and little does he know that this journey is about to get pretty interesting. It’s a long trip across the country all the way to New York after all and some people want to shoot him down. He’ll have to rely on his slick car skills to get through this one and it definitely won’t be a walk in the park.

This Need for Speed game has a lot less variety on the kinds of races you do. Gone are the drifting events and things of that nature. There are now only two real events, racing against people and checkpoints. You also have boss races but they play the game as the normal races. Just make sure you pass the opponent and stay ahead in order to win. Instead of laps the game goes by miles which makes sense since you’re effectively in a nonstop race which doesn’t end until you hit New York. It’s a pretty interesting concept and one I can get behind. The levels are also pretty short as a result so you should really be blasting through most of them with ease.

Honestly the game’s not very hard at all. I was having some pretty bad controller issues and I still beat most of the levels without a hitch. There are checkpoints in each of the levels and you have 6 lives that you can use to clear the game. With all of this at your disposal you can see why winning the races won’t be all that hard. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s no walk in the park. You still need to run a clean race and not bump into anything. The final boss in particular can be tricky as it’s a 10 mile race and you even have to dodge incoming trains at times. That was pretty cool, I definitely don’t think I’ve had to do that in any of the other games.

Then this one also throws in some quick time events as the character runs from the cops. It’s been a while since I played a proper quick time event match so that was pretty neat. It definitely adds to the theatrical feel of the story. When the main character starts jumping across buildings you may find that a bit suspect but it just goes to show how athletic he is. There are even some human fights here and there which was intense. The main character isn’t particularly heroic though so you may have a hard time rooting for him at all. That’s a pretty common theme for the Need for Speed games though.

As for the length, the game is only a little over 2 hours long. Even for games which are short this one really stands out. That’s just not a lot of time at all. Now, there is some bonus content here like challenge mode and replaying the story but that’s about it. I suppose there is going for the PS3 trophies but with the servers down that means a Platinum is completely out of reach if you are gunning for one of those. If that is the case then it lowers the replay value down even further. Make no mistake, this game is all about your initial playthrough and then I believe you’ll probably be putting it down. Still, the gameplay is really solid and at the end of the day that’s probably why you’re getting these games right? In that case you have nothing to fear. It’s just a very solid experience from start to finish.

The graphics are definitely top notch. EA always tends to go ham on the graphics which makes sense since their sport games tend to sell a lot and they reuse so many assets that the profit margins should be pretty crazy. It should come as no surprise that they’re able to execute at a high level. The stages also look really sharp along with the cars and effects. There’s definitely no issue here. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which has quite a lot of tunes in it from various singers. It is impressive how EA licenses so many songs for the games. The quality will vary quite a bit so hopefully you like the tunes. They are all pretty fast paced to match the game’s atmosphere.

Overall, The Run is certainly a Need for Speed title that makes pretty big changes compared to most of the usual titles. This one isn’t afraid to go for a rather different feel the whole time which I can appreciate. The quick time events are fun and the story is pretty solid. It’s definitely a serious story with a real plot. Some times the story can go a little while without much of a real cutscene though. I’d say something big would usually happen every 3 levels and with only 10 in the game that does mean there is a lot of dead time as well. If you can find this game for a good price then I recommend checking it out. It may be short but the game is still very high quality when it comes to things like gameplay and graphics which you definitely don’t want to overlook. I’m now one step closer to being caught up with the Need for Speed series.

Overall 7/10

Need For Speed Undercover Review


Looks like the Need for Speed marathon is finally at an end. I’ll play through the next one at some point but at least for right now this will be it. Undercover is definitely a very solid installment in the series though. Not only does it have a lot of content to go through but it also takes us back to the more plot driven direction of the earlier games. It could stand to have more of a focused story but even just having boss battles is a big improvement over the last few. It’s just hard to top that and I wonder what they’ll do for an encore.

The game starts with the main character being tasked with the assignment of going undercover in order to take down a bunch of renegade racers. Gangs are popping up everywhere and you have to stay undercover until you find the big boss. The tricky thing is that you start to sympathize with some of these racers who are just trying their best to live and survive in what is considered a pretty frightening world. Is there any way that the hero can let them off easy? He’ll have to also avoid attracting too much attention since some characters already think that he’s probably compromised. It sure is difficult to keep getting these guys arrested while the lead is somehow safe.

I feel like the villains should have known something was up the instant we busted an entire gang, leaving the main character as the only guy left. At this point we joined another gang and did the same thing but really? That’s super suspicious. The main character doesn’t get to appear all that much and even gets censored during the quick cutscenes with the cops so we don’t see him all that clearly. I suppose he seems like a nice enough guy but also a very gullible one who is easy to manipulate. His driving skills are second to none though and the villains learn that the hard way. The ending has a lot of things happening so you’ll need to pay attention to that.

Unfortunately the sound mixing wasn’t very good. The gameplay and music while in the race are much louder than the actual cutscenes. What this means is that you’ll be playing normally when suddenly a cutscene occurs and you need to raise the volume. If you don’t then what ends up happening is you won’t be able to hear what’s going on quite as well. I don’t really get how something like this would make it past the play testing since it seems like a quick fix. Beyond that, it has the usual EA soundtrack. There are a lot of songs here and they’re all pretty fast paced so I’d say that you’re bound to find at least a few that you’ll like. I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The ending song is definitely a pretty intense one and ends as if this was a theatrical movie. Pretty epic if you ask me.

Then you’ve got the graphics which are solid as always. EA has never disappointed in this area and I wouldn’t expect them to start now. The cars look excellent and so driving through the city is a lot of fun. It’s all or mostly all in the daytime though so surprisingly we’re still not getting a lot of night levels. I know those can be risky since it can be hard to get the night look while not getting too dark but I think they can pull it off. Regardless, the hub world is quite huge and the fact that you can drive around the whole thing and pick up missions is a blast if you ask me. The cutscenes also look really good like the big boss battle at the end where the car jumps off the road. It helps really get you into the swing of things.

The gameplay is easy enough to describe. It’s the same 3D racing that you’re used to and is as fun as always. Using your nitro to get away is nice or quickly spinning a 180 and zooming away as the other racers get confused is just as satisfying. You really can’t go wrong with the gameplay here. There are no bonus competitions like drifting or any of that this time. It’s all about racing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This makes the most sense in context after all. You will get new cars as you go through the game and can upgrade them but the process has been very simplified compared to how it was in other titles. I think this game has pretty much nailed down the formula so they should really stick to this going forward. You still need to take a look at your car every now and again but not constantly. Aside from free roam you can also use the GPS to jump straight into a race. You can tell which events are story ones because the icon will be wrapped in a circle which looks very fancy.

If you complete a level very quickly you will have “dominated” it which allows you to permanently increase a stat. You don’t get to choose which one but they certainly add up. I recommend going for the dominate as much as possible because the stats and discounts add up very quickly. Without them I imagine that this would be considerably more difficult. The main game’s campaign took me a little over 10 hours so when you add up all the extra events that should probably take you to around 14-15 hours. Pretty good deal for the game if you ask me. You certainly won’t be wanting for content by the time you’re done with all of this. Undercover is really the complete package for a Need for Speed title.

Overall, I’ll definitely miss Undercover. It’s definitely the most complete game in the series I’ve played since Underground. If you like racing around the city and enjoy Free Roam then this is definitely the game for you. It’ll remind you of Driver with the added danger of having to run from the cops. The cop chases here can definitely be very intense. There’s not a whole lot you can do about the hellicopters and their vans really smash your car out of the way. The game runs well and the graphics are sharp. I only encountered one glitch where I seemingly won a level too quickly which was odd so it didn’t count. It seems like that’s not something you would typically need to worry about though so I wouldn’t sweat it. Could be a while, but we’ll see where the series goes from here.

Overall 7/10

Need For Speed Undercover Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 10h 1m
Total Drive Distance 658.4 Miles
Total Cash Earned 912,690
Longest Pursuit 5m 20s
Career Complete 100%
Game Complete 63%
Wheelman Level 15
Total Cost to State 928,886
Total Zone Points 575,910
Events Dominated 69/157
Events Won 119/187

Need For Speed Nitro Review


I’ve really been making great headway on these Need for Speed titles haven’t I? Nitro is the only Need for Speed game that I have on the Wii and it makes for a very different experience. All of the other Need for Speed titles that I’ve played have felt a lot more on the realistic side compared to this one. Maybe at most you could say that Hot Pursuit II was closer to Arcade style but even that one wasn’t to the same extent. This one’s definitely going for that retro feel and it works out quite nicely. While I would have to say that it’s probably the weakest Need for Speed game by default, it does understand the series a lot more than Drift.

You start the game by being introduced to the main campaign. There are 3 cups, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Effectively they are all the same game but just with different difficulty levels. You have to do them in order though. When you enter the Bronze cup you are given around 5-6 cities. Your goal is to earn 100 stars which will let you enter the Grand Prix. Once you win that, you will unlock the Silver Cup so rinse and repeat until you’ve won them all. Not a bad deal right? The star system is very similar to Drift. It means that you don’t necessarily have to win every race but it does help. There is less margin for error here compared to Drift as you do need the majority of the stars in order to qualify. I believe there are 128 stars in each world so you can only miss 28. I recommend not losing.

On a more serious note, this game does introduce a certain amount of RNG within the game that means you can’t always guarantee yourself a victory. Sometimes things will happen that you just can’t control. For example, a new mechanic to this game is the Shield weapon that you can use. What this does is it summons the cops to attack a player of your choice. It’s a pretty powerful attack because there’s not much you can do. They run you off the road or if you’re really unlucky they’ll keep spinning you in a circle so that you can’t reset. It’s a fun way to include the cop presence here since there’s no free roam available. Drift probably should have done something similar although I’d say in just one kind of mode. For the most part I still like my normal racing.

This is the kind of thing that’s good as a side gimmick because of how it’s a change of pace. I don’t know if it would work quite as well if this was happening constantly. As the title suggests, this game also focuses a whole lot on the Nitro mechanic. So you’ve really got to make sure and boost a lot. It’s also crucial for a lot of the bonus stars which are score related. When you do a super boost it really has a noticeable impact on your points. I dare say that getting some of these bonus stars would not be possible otherwise. Boosting is fun though so I recommend it either way. It really gives you a jump on the competition.

The game can be a little tricky at times but really just because of the controls. I played this one through the Wii U so I wasn’t able to use the adapter to play it. As a result, I had to use the ole Wii remote. Surprisingly they don’t let you hold the remote sideways, you have to use it pointing at the screen and tilting which is an odd way to approach this. I suppose I’ll give the game some credit for going in a different way but I dare say that it was the wrong way. In particular this gets tough for the drifting levels where you have to try not to hit too many objects as you get to the goal. Not to be confused with the Drift levels where you max out your score. I believe the former is officially called Time Attack here.

I do like the graphic style though. It’s definitely going for a bit more of a cartoony hand drawn style. You have little cutscenes before every world which I appreciated. It at least makes the game appear to have more of a story. It may not be much but it’s a start I suppose. The game isn’t particularly long if you stop after 1 cup but playing all 3 should stretch the time out to around 7 hours which is pretty solid. Once again, the cars you buy are important here. There’s no upgrading so just focus on buying. I say try to survive on your present car for as long as possible and then upgrade. It can be a difficult thing to do of course, but it really pays off in the end.

Overall, Need For Speed Intro is definitely very original and in this case it worked out in a good way. Perhaps total free roam would have been a little too much for a quick Wii game so going full on arcade racer was the next best thing. With non motion controls this game would be even better. I like how fast you can drive around and the level designs were on point. I feel like this game had a good amount of energy behind it which really makes a difference here. It didn’t feel phoned in or anything like that. If you’re looking for a more upbeat kind of Need for Speed title then this is the one for you. It’s very easy to just plug and play which is probably the idea.

Overall 7/10

Need for Speed Shift Review


It’s time to look at another Need for Speed title. This one takes the series in a much different direction compared to the rest of the titles in the series. For starters, there is no actual running from the cops in this title or anything like that. You’re actually racing on a pro track the whole time as you work to become the best. It’s interesting that the series would go in this direction but it doesn’t work particularly well. By doing this, the game becomes “Just another car game” which is not something that a franchise wants to be. It had such originality and creativity before this. Still, I can’t deny that the game has quite a lot of content at its disposal and the controls are good so it’s still solid.

The main campaign mode here consists of you jumping into a bunch of different races and doing your best to obtain stars. These stars are what allow you to unlock more races to get into. Once you have obtained enough stars then you unlock the championship where you can race to be the best. The star system means that you don’t necessarily have to complete every race in first. You can also skip some if you’re not confident. The important thing is getting as many stars as possible so that you qualify. An average race will usually have 5 stars, you get 3 for coming in first, 1 for breaking a lap record, and one for some kind of miscellaneous achievement. On average if you’re placing first in events then you don’t need to worry about the bonus stars but this way if you come in second or third a lot then you should be okay.

You will definitely still need to play a lot of races though. The game may give you extra stars to work with but it’s not like you can take that as an excuse to lose every race. You want to realistically still win quite a lot. The game can be difficult, but I wouldn’t call it crazy either. A lot of the races are very winnable since your car can keep up. I’d say it’s once you go around 2 tiers higher than where you start that the game really starts to jump the difficulty up pretty high. It gets hard to deal with and you have to upgrade your car quite a bit to stay ahead of the game. Money gets to be a concern because you run out of it very quickly. So you always have to balance out upgrading with buying a new car. It’s also best to stay with the older car as long as possible because that’ll allow for better cars to be on the market.

Personally I’ve always preferred just having 1 car so you don’t have to worry about all of that but I understand that this does make things more realistic. I suppose it increases the replay value as well as you have fun customizing the car to your liking. It’s definitely something that it vitally important to the career mode so keep that in mind. The game is fairly long and I imagine it’ll take over 10 hours to complete. That’s due in part to the difficulty but also because there are just a lot of races here. You’re not going to finish it too quickly to be sure and that’s a good thing. It’s always nice to have a lot to do in a game even before you consider the replay value. Need For Speed tends to always deliver on that front.

So there’s not much to say about the gameplay but it’s your standard 3D racing title. You speed through the streets in one of the cars you’ve chosen and try to stay in the lead. There are also other kind of events like drifting where you keep a turn for as long as possible and other such events. The Nitro is always a fun boost as well. I definitely have no problem with the controls. It’s all very smooth and on point. Meanwhile the graphics are also top notch. The backgrounds are rather limited so it’s not as impressive as some of the other installments but I think the studio still did a good job of keeping it as smooth as possible. Then of course you’ve got a pretty big soundtrack although not all of the songs will be great. I recommend keeping the music low so you can focus on the driving.

At its core my main problem is that this just doesn’t really feel like a Need For Speed game. There are no cop chases throughout the game nor are there any night levels with fun backgrounds. As a result you feel rather closed in the whole time. I also don’t like the new mechanic that causes you to lose a level if you go off the track too often. That limits your freedom even more and the game should let you explore. If I see a shortcut, why shouldn’t I take it? That’s always been the spirit of the series. While minor, I also didn’t appreciate the new realistic collision mechanic. Now when you bump into something the screen gets really dizzy as you recover from the concussion. It’s definitely realistic I guess but you can actually get pretty dizzy from that. I tend to crash a lot as well which doesn’t really help matters.

Overall, Need For Speed Shift is definitely a very different kind of game for the series. It was an experiment, but one that I don’t feel worked out very well. It just feels a little soulless and if you want such a game there are many others to choose from. You should always have a real story to back a title up even if it’s brief. If you really enjoy racing games then I suppose this is a good one to go for, but otherwise I would say to give it a pass and pick just about any other up. It’s true that this is a very solid game, but at the same time it doesn’t offer you anything that the others don’t even improve on. As a result there is little reason to go back to this one.

Overall 7/10