Monday, April 18, 2011

Need For Speed Hot Pursuit Has An Edge As A Racer

Hot PursuitLast November, when Electronic Arts (EA) came out with its Need For Speed Hot Pursuit (Hot Pursuit), it added a dimension to racer games that is hard to beat. Hot Pursuit did exactly what it promised to do. It redefined open road racing with its stunning graphics and a variety of choices for game play.

The ability to play as a racer or play as the police creates an added challenge that many racers don't have — someone is out to not only beat you, but someone is out to wreck you in a game that falls somewhere between Mad Max (minus the post-apocalyptic world) and the underworld subculture of street racers from the Fast and The Furious.

Real car modeling and dynamic landscapes bring it all together.

The beauty of the game relies in part on the immersive landscape and real car modeling. EA Games gives a nod to Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bugatti, Koeningsegg, and McLaren to name a few. Many of them are featured as racers and cops, with the fictitious Seacrest County PD having only a few less options.

Seacrest County is loosely based on Southern California's diverse landscape, with deserts, coastal roads, forests, and mountains. Each of the landscapes creates some rich environments with trafficked roads for high-speed chases during the day, dusk, or night, no matter what console, computer, tablet, or phone you play the game on.

Depending on whether you play as a racer or an officer, you will have a variety of objectives. Officers are primarily charged with shutting down racers using whatever means necessary, including ElectroMagnetic Pulse, road blocks, and (my favorite) spikes. However, there are other challenges, including timed response times and competition with other police.

Racers play the opposite objective. They either play to win, play to avoid police, or break as many speed laws as possible. Unlike playing the police (who primarily keep their eyes in front of them unless playing live opponents), racers have the dual challenge of avoiding traffic and natural obstacles while police cars follow tightly behind and attempt to run you off the road.

Game play adds portability to the experience with the iPhone and iPad.

I was originally introduce to the game because EA Games recently added Need For Speed Hot Pursuit LITE for the iPad in April. It's also available for the iPhone.

The free download gives you an opportunity to play one round as a racer and one round as an officer. One round is about all it takes to addict anyone who enjoys high speed gaming to purchase the full higher priced games ($4.99 for the iPhone; $9.99 for iPad). However, before you do make the purchase, you need to know that neither are full versions of the game.

While the landscape conversions are impressive, the vehicles do sacrifice considerable graphic quality (making it feel like a Wii adaption, although still slightly better). The game play is also stripped down, with a little less happening on the highway. This is somewhat disappointing given Firemint's Real Racing 2 HD proves you don't have to drop graphic quality. In fact, Firemint was the first to demonstrate the game play power of the iPad 2. It ports video at 1080p, making the tablet feel like a console game. (It also plays on the iPad and iPhone too.)

Even if there are more dynamics to Hot Pursuit, Real Racing 2 proves it is a plausible possibility. Still, while Real Racing 2 has the graphic edge and one of the most fluid racing experiences ever, there is something more of an adrenaline rush of a high speed pursuit that gives the EA game an edge even on the iPad.

Need For Speed Hot Pursuit Roars To An 8.9 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

For the iPhone or iPad, Need For Speed Hot Pursuit might drop to 4.2, which is still solid on the scale. However, even with some of the sacrifices that EA Games made to make the game portable, it still provides all of the excitement you'll find on a console or PC.

The Need For Speed Hot Pursuit (Xbox 360) is available from EA Games. You can also find it for the PC, Wii, and Playstation 3. For Apple fans like me, head over to iTunes for The Need For Speed Hot Pursuit for iPad or The Need For Speed Hot Pursuit for iPhone. You can also pick up Real Racing 2 while you are there. Or, if you're still hesitant about the price of either game, try Uber Racer 3D Sandstorm for 99 cents.
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