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Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Preview

Duke_Ferris By:
GENRE Racing 
DEVELOPER Criterion 
E10+ Contains Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Police with unlimited budgets.

Let's not mince words here. The Need for Speed franchise started breaking down like an aging jalopy right after Most Wanted. And while NFS Shift was a better game, it was in an entirely different gear with its sim-ish closed track racing. Frankly, it didn't feel like part of the series at all.

click to enlargeWell, Criterion Studios and EA plan to fix that with a reboot of one of their best titles, NFS: Hot Pursuit. Gone is the pretense of anything realistic, in favor of that old gameplay classic: fun. Why is a Pagini Zonda cop car chasing a Lamborghini at 200 mph? Who the hell cares? Because that is jetpack-on-a-dinosaur awesome.

Forget your dented Toyota and the old staple of the force, the Crown Vic; these are all cars you wish you had, but will probably never get to drive. The full list isn't out, but alongside some Italian favorites, expect the best and the fastest from Porche, Dodge, Audi, Crevrolet, and yes, Bugatti.

It's all part of the automotive magic in Seacrest County, where you can pursue your dream career as a patrolman or a street racer. I'm not sure how one would make a living as an illegal racer, regularly wrecking million dollar supercars, because this is Chewbacca, and it just doesn't make any sense.

click to enlargeHowever, the game doesn't stop at the Seacrest County limits, because it's all about the multiplayer. Choose your side of the law and choose a car, and from there on out, it's high-speed cat and mouse. The racer tries to lose the cop, and the cop tries to ram the racer into oblivion.

To add a little strategy to the mix, each side gets a variety of powers that are charged up by drifting and doing killer stunts. Then, for example, the racer can jam the cop's radar or magically summon a decoy car. Cops can retaliate with roadblocks or even by flying in a chopper to drop spike strips ahead of the racer.

You can also add EA's new Autolog to the mix. Part social app, part taunting, it gives all the stats and leaderboards you would expect, but also shows you what your friends are up to and whether they have broken any of your records. Damn you, The Stig!

Look for the improbably fun Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit to come screaming up in your rear-view mirror November 16th.

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