The Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 Page.

Genre: Racing.

Let me see, I have The Need For Speed on my Saturn, Need For Speed 2: Special Edition, Need For Speed 3: Hot Pursuit, Need For Speed High Stakes & Need For Speed Porsche 2000 on PC and now Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 on the XBOX. I would have probably looked into NFS: Motor City On Line, but it was never released in Australia, as far as I’m aware.
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 has it’s good points and bad. Graphically it looks pretty good, with detailed landscapes and realistic looking cars. There’s some nice realistic reflections on the vehicles, and some stunning course effects also. Despite this, the game feels like it’s just been ripped off the PS 2, and shoved on the XBOX. Then when you find out that Electronic Arts wimped out and commissioned some other company to bung a copy on to the XBOX, it comes as no surprise. Here we find the old lack of texture variety, something which the XBOX should never have to suffer. Basically, if a game’s been on the GameCube or even the PS2 & Dreamcast also, chances are you’re going to end up with the graphic quality that those consoles are limited to, and your XBOX will be sitting there twiddling its thumbs. You didn’t pay all that money for that now did you? Sadly too, a lot of the more important stuff has been left out all together. No cool “cinematic” replay angles, no records, no in-car view, no option to save replays, and no option to have a 2 player game with cops vs sports cars.
Other bad points include some shocking drops in frame rate in a 2 player mode, some sluggish selection screens, BUG RIDDEN replays that die some way through (which also affected the PC demo I have) and tracks that look all too similar to others - considering tracks share each others bits.
I don’t mind jerkiness in PC games, due to the fact that they’re upgradeable, but I find it hard to tolerate in console games. Many may not agree with me, but the frame rate should never be sacrificed for the overall look of the game. Still, this is the XBOX, with more than enough power to spare…
Another major over looked area of the game, which apparently doesn’t apply to the PC version, is the control pad configuration. There are only 3 variations available, and none of them really suit my needs. What ever happened to choosing what button you wanted to do what?
Overall, the car handling is good, but some of the physics leaves a bit to be desired. Drive into the middle point of a dividing roadway, and it seems like you’re randomly pushed off in either direction, rather than smashing the car up. Sure it keeps the speed of the game going, but it’s a bit strange. Sometimes when your car glances off a wall, you end up going backwards, as if the front of the car had suddenly been superglued to the barrier. At times you can’t help but feel that this is a rushed job, that’s been glazed over with eye candy to knock up the appeal level to the average Joe.
Despite all the negative points, there are the massive Championship & Hot Pursuit modes, which although won’t take you forever to finish are quite good. The game also has a great car line up, including the Dodge Viper once again, which hasn’t been seen since the original. Plus beasts like the McLaren F1 LM, the droolific Ferrari F50, and the Mercedes Benz CLK GTR. Plus there’s the inclusion of a new slow-mo, in race jump & 360° alternate camera, which you have the option of turning on & off, if you prefer. This comes into action when you come flying over a jump; suddenly everything goes into slow-mo, and you get a side on view of the car hurtling through the air, and as soon as it lands, you’re slipped right back into the action. It can be quite nasty to see your car hurtling off into a tree, and into a pile of other cars, but it does look cool. Racing with the cops and traffic on or off, is your option in single and 2 player races, plus you can notch up the difficulty, and choose whether to race the same class cars as you or a particular model.
All in all, it’s a fun racing game and it always delivers when you need a virtual speed rush. Sadly it doesn’t live up to other racing games, and after a year or so, it will probably start gathering dust on your shelf.

Graphics: Pretty sweet stuff, and the kind of thing the XBOX has no trouble doing. The cars look amazing with detail galore. The reflections on the cars look pretty real, and are very spiffy to check out, and there’s some very nifty caronas on the sun and bright sky effects. Also of note is the “reflective” water on the roads. Some of the textures are a bit iffy here and there, and look like they could have been pulled out of a Saturn game. Some of the tracks seem to look as if they need more texture variety, which is something the XBOX is more than capable of doing. But all in all though, it’s pretty yummy. 95%
Animation: As far as frame rate goes, I’m rather dissapointed. Some areas, especially when you have lots of cars on screen, and even other areas with no cars in sight, it can jerk right up, and at times even chunks a bit. The 2 player mode is even worse in some areas. Nice driver animation with gear change movements and steering. Leaves falling in the background, water & lava flowing and the like are all nice touches. 68%
Great car sounds, with beefy engine whines & noises, good horn toots and some good ambient course effects also. Some of the music is great, but you might want to consider using your own stuff for this. More custom play list options would’ve been nice to choose tracks from between CDs that you’ve recorded. Plus the option to actually play some of the tracks in the options, to see what you like and what you don’t. 85%
Easy to get into, and despite some jerk-o-vision here and there, it’s still comes out well. Thankfully it still plays pretty much like all the other NFS games, with good car handling and none of that fully realistic malarkey. 71%
In amongst playing the Championship Mode all the time, I haven’t been turned off by any of it. Sadly it doesn’t hold up when you’ve completed that & the Hot Pursuit Modes, as much as I’d’ve liked. 70%
Graphically, it looks amazing, but I still feel it could’ve benefited from more variety in the looks of the tracks and texturing. The cars handle pretty well, and there’s lots to do in the Hot Pursuit & Chamionship Modes. Still, as far as I’m concerned this is quite a let down when compared to the likes of Need For Speed High Stakes, which had 19 tracks, with no where near as much similarity and a whole host more options & what not. With the systems it was designed for, EA could easily have put more on the disc.
To’ve made this the ultimate NFS game, we should’ve seen real car performance videos like the 1st 2 games, a heaps better showcase than the lame excuse in this version, 2 player Cop vs Sportscar races, savable replays, instant replays (such as in TNFS 1), a records section, many, many more tracks, a better damage system with the cool little displays, an in-car view and different camera angles for the replays. As a sequel to NFS 3, of sorts, the car handling is certainly improved, but this fails as a good sequel. Okay, so I’ve nit-picked this game to death, but what can I say, if you love The Need For Speed stuff, you’ve probably already made up your mind. 50%