Admittedly, the Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered announcement took me by surprise. Mostly because it was not something I (or perhaps anyone) really asked for. Nonetheless, the remaster launched this week after almost a full decade since the original. We were able to get our hands on a copy, and now give our thoughts on this race of nostalgia heading into the next console generation.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered Gameplay

If you have played the original Hot Pursuit, then you know what to expect from the remaster.

In Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered, players return to Seacrest County. Like before, players will be testing their skill in high speed police chases. Since this is a remaster, there is not much in the way of innovation. However, the game plays rather well on the new engine, for the most part.

Like the original, the remastered edition focuses on head-to-head competitive pursuits. With abilities like helicopters and spike strips being implemented, most of the driving techniques have been simplified as well as the control scheme. This works well as drivers focus on strategically outmaneuvering the competition while maintaining high speeds. Any seasoned Need For Speed player should have an easy time managing themselves behind the wheel. Whether online or playing career, moment to moment action remains relatively the same.

If you’re completely new, the beginning of each career provides a quick and dirty tutorial on how to get the most out of your car. Most concepts are relatively simple. One thing I really like is the feel of the vehicles. Taking tight turns and maneuvering oncoming traffic feels increasingly gratifying as pursuits enter the final stretch. With the simplified control schemes, some police maneuvers can be performed at the push of a button. This effectively makes success all about time in the best ways possible. While it does include cross-platform multiplayer and all original DLC, ultimately, its feel does not exceed a simple competitive arcade-style Need for Speed.

Presentation

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered brings the original up to par with standard racing games. I do not believe the game was meant to blow anyone away with its visuals. If it was, it certainly does not. After testing on two different consoles across multiple modes, I did notice several audio issues with clips tearing or abruptly going in and out. Most of it happened with the menus. There was some occurrences of this during pursuits as well, but they were largely unnoticeable once the rubber starts burning.

In terms of user interface, the game is modern and smooth, other than the periodic audio issues.

Game Modes

Game modes make the bulk of this review as they do within the game itself. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered features one offline mode which is the career. Career lets players be either a racer or a police driver, and features a full career mode for both roles. Like the original, you’ll climb the ranks completing milestones and events that challenge different aspects of driving. This quickly became comparable to common NFS events like time trials with checkpoints or full on sprints from point A to B. Of course, there are the role specific events like a cop needing to bust a certain number of vehicles. Fans of the Burnout series will feel right at home with this one.

Outside of Career, players can engage in online pursuits via Public, Private, or Invite Only lobbies. No matter the lobby, players have a selection of the following:

  • Hot Pursuit – Racers will need to fight to finish the race. Cops will need to stop them.
  • Interceptor – A one on one, cop versus racer event.
  • Race – Race top of the line exotic vehicles.
  • Most Wanted – Cops work together to stop the player chosen as the ‘Most Wanted’; other racers will aid in stopping the cops.
  • Arms Race – A race featuring the world’s top supercars.

I tried several of these modes in online action. While the vibe can certain shift with a full lobby of drivers, those playing with one or so friends will find most of the modes play and feel relatively the same. Unfortunately, the ability to add NPC cops or drivers was not added. Players will be limited to playing the modes as specifically intended, with players going head to head with other players. Personally, I think the option to add NPCs to fill slots adds a solid layer of replayability allowing smaller lobbies to set games where perhaps all players are cops chasing down NPCs. Admittedly, that may go against the idea of the game itself but I doubt it would be a detractor.

EA did implement the ‘AutoLog’ system. This layer of interface tracks events between players and friends and provides recommendations and challenges. If you plan to play this hardcore with a set of dedicated friends, then this is a fantastic way to keep track of who is currently the top driver. It even allows players to start an event, recently completed by a friend, and try to beat their time or accolades. Beyond these few modes and events, there is not much else to see. You can free roam via career to see the sights of Seacrest County, but the game is nearly a pure remaster of the original. So, not much else is new.

The Verdict

As I mentioned in my opening, I do not believe anyone really asked for this remaster. Do not get me wrong, the game is certainly fun and does the original fair justice. That said, I do not see where this fits in the grand scheme of things especially with gaming communities looking to move to next-generation consoles and experience the new games coming with them.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered certainly provides entertainment. The game is well built, all things considered. Criterion and teams did an amazing job with this remaster. You will not go wrong with this bit of nostalgia, but do not expect anything other than a refined version of the original game. Those looking for the next Need For Speed fix will be better off continuing to play Heat.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered
  • 8/10
    Gameplay - 8/10
  • 4.5/10
    Game Modes - 4.5/10
  • 6.5/10
    Presentation - 6.5/10
  • 5.5/10
    Longevity - 5.5/10
Overall
6.13/10