Developer: Electronic Arts
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Need for Speed™ Hot Pursuit for iPhone and iPod touch is an arcade thrill ride that places the player into some of the latest supercars to take down illegal racers. The game includes many different models that are kitted out in police livery, such as the Ford GT, Bugatti Veyron, Porsche Cayman S, Dodge Viper SRT10 and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. To unlock these cars players will have to start from the bottom and work up to the top.
By participating in four different types of events, cash (otherwise known as bounty) is earned. Bounty acts as a global progress indicator, so whilst it cannot be used for purchasing cars or other accessories it gives the player a good idea of progress. Each time one earns bounty from an event it is added to their existing total, which indicates how much more bounty is needed to reach the next level. Then, once a new level is reached, a new car is unlocked which is available to use straightaway, and then the cycle starts all over again. As well as earning bounty for finishing first in a race or taking out a driver with a decent amount of time to spare, it can be earned for actions that you perform mid-race: using nitro for a speed boost, ramming another car, drifting or even driving safely all earn extra cash. For those who are impatient and want to drive the fastest cars as soon as possible, bounty is available via in-app purchase.
The four types of events are as follows: Rapid Response is basically a time trial, earning extra bounty for clearing the finishing line with seconds to spare, Power Struggle involves racing against other cops to get to the finishing line first, Tough Justice is all about wrecking as many illegal racers as possible, and Interceptor is like Tough Justice but with just one enemy racer. This mode is slightly trickier because your opponent has power ups, too, such as disabling weapons briefly or spilling oil onto the road.
[caption id="attachment_57026" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Use it now? Why wouldn’t I?"] [/caption]So it's good to know that you have your own arsenal, including spike strips, EMP weapons and the ability to deploy strategic road blocks. But the best (and most fun) way to take down opponents is by skidding into them at high speed, usually into a wall or another passing vehicle. Once the vehicle is taken out the game cuts to a view of it being wrecked, often launched into the air while the cop car neatly zips past. One of the game’s strengths is that it has a very cinematic feel to it and will often offer a huge rush when playing; the flawless accelerometer based control scheme helps enrich that rush.
[/caption]So it's good to know that you have your own arsenal, including spike strips, EMP weapons and the ability to deploy strategic road blocks. But the best (and most fun) way to take down opponents is by skidding into them at high speed, usually into a wall or another passing vehicle. Once the vehicle is taken out the game cuts to a view of it being wrecked, often launched into the air while the cop car neatly zips past. One of the game’s strengths is that it has a very cinematic feel to it and will often offer a huge rush when playing; the flawless accelerometer based control scheme helps enrich that rush.
The availability of easy bounty through in-app purchase becomes quite a draw nearing the end of the game; I don’t recommend that you take this route because it shortens the game’s lifespan, but it seems quite deliberate that it was added as an artificial way to boost revenue. Even playing through the game, completing all of the missions and earning all three stars on every mission won’t earn you enough bounty to unlock the last car, and I found myself replaying some stages again to make up the million that I still needed to go. Missions that are replayed won’t earn as much bounty as they did the first time, but playing them again could unlock a new achievement that yields yet more cash.
There are some drawbacks to Hot Pursuit; players cannot play as a racer trying to outwit the cops (unless in the local multiplayer option via Bluetooth or WiFi—there’s no career mode for this), and chases are extremely restrictive and linear. Invisible walls are everywhere, and whilst there may be forks in the road, they always merge again. So it’s impossible for a chase to deviate from the road onto a hill, for example. Plus, players may find themselves frustrated, especially in the ending stages, with the sparse traffic that always seems to crop up when least expected—it almost always blocks the route ahead and at high speed it is a pain to dodge, especially as the alternative is running into an invisible wall. And although the graphics are very good the sound effects can let it down; the Interceptor missions being a prime example of why the same sound bites should not be repeated ad nauseum.
But Hot Pursuit makes up for it with gameplay that feels extremely fast and truly exciting. With four different mission types it feels very varied and only in the late stages of the game does it start to grate; happily it is engaging right until the end. Recommended.