Need for Speed diehards might not agree, but Criterion's Hot Pursuit was a triumphant arcade racer back in 2010. A slick handling model and a choice selection of vehicles led to epic police chases through miles of winding roads, and the Autolog feature brought addictive asynchronous multiplayer to the forefront. A decade later, the game returns in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered, and for the most part, it's aged very well indeed.
The core of what made the game such a success is retained in this incarnation. To start with, the handling model is deliberate and wonderfully drifty. Cars have a weight to them, and you need to be pretty decisive about your manoeuvres, but when it clicks, the handling feels great. A breakneck sense of speed coupled with wide, sweeping roads make it a joy to play, and that's no different in this remaster.
Meanwhile, Autolog is just as neat a feature as it was 10 years ago. You're in constant competition with your friends list, basically; every event has its own mini leaderboard just for you and your buddies. Almost like a social network, the game alerts you when someone's beaten your time, and it streamlines the process of getting your revenge with intuitive menus and prompts. This version of the game includes crossplay, too, so you can compete with your friends regardless of platform. There are "proper" online multiplayer modes, and we're pleased to say this aspect works perfectly.
You swap between cops and racers as the two sides battle for supremacy in Seacrest County. Driving on both sides of the law, you're either escaping the police or stopping illegal races. The game constantly rewards player progression; you level up as both a cop and a racer, and as you do, new cars are added to your garage. New car classes featuring faster rides, and equipment like spike strips, EMP blasts, and police barricades keep things ticking at a fair pace. Especially early on, it feels like you unlock something after nearly every event, keeping you playing to test out any new stuff. With all the DLC vehicles and events thrown into the mix, there's lots to do.
There are a good amount of event types, but they do begin to get repetitive after spending hours and hours haring around familiar roads. You can even play in a free roam mode, but with zero objectives, it feels pointless — unless you're looking for a peaceful drive. That said, it's hard to have a bad time when the handling, along with strategic use of the equipment and weapons at your disposal, is so fun.
So, the game is still a raucous good time — what about the remaster itself? Well, visually the game doesn't look noticeably better than it did on PS3, but that's difficult to judge without direct comparisons. Vehicles look good, and some extra detail has been added to the roads and scenery. The biggest jump is on PS4 Pro, where a performance mode allows you to play at 60 frames per second, double the frame rate found on PS3 and standard PS4.
Other enhancements include the ability to select from a much wider range of paint colours for each vehicle, and a basic photo mode. Small additions, but appreciated nonetheless. Overall, the remaster work is good, but much like Burnout Paradise Remastered, it's a pretty tame effort compared to other examples. Still, the important thing is Hot Pursuit, one of PS3's best arcade racers, is playable on PS4, and that's a win in our book.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered brings back a fantastic arcade racing game, and is still brilliant fun 10 years down the line. Autolog feels right at home in 2020, and the over-the-top cops vs. racers gameplay is a blast. While the remaster itself is a little underwhelming, and some of the original title's issues remain, this is nonetheless a great game for petrol heads and adrenaline junkies everywhere.