9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Failing to live up to it's namesake,
This review is from: Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2 - PlayStation 2 (Video Game)
The original Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit has to rank up there with the best all time race games. It was so much fun because of features like damaged vehicles, realistic physics, notable variances and modeling in the licensed vehicles, great police and competitor AI, gorgeous scenery and effects. Now, after quite a wait, NFS: Hot Pursuit 2 is here. Unfortunately, it doesn't live up to it's predecessor and namesake. To be fair though, let me list the positive qualities that make this game a choice for some players.
Arcade feeling -- If you like the driving games that you normally have to dump $.50 in to play, this is probably a game for you. Graphically, the scenery and tracks are very pleasing to the eye, though not quite what one might expect with today's capabilities. Still, it's hard to argue that it doesn't look good, if nothing else.
On to the negatives.
Arcade feeling -- Yes, this is both a positive and negative mark for the game. The original NFS felt and played with a palpable sense of control. You wanted to drive as fast as possible but worked hard to keep your car intact and damage free. Not so with this game. You can crash and smash to your hearts delight. There is no damage modelling or concerns that your vehicle will perform any less than when you started. How well you drive doesn't really matter so long as you generally keep the car pointed down the track.
AI -- The police are every bit as fast as you are, regardless of the vehicle you choose to drive. They have little problem harassing you and no matter how effective of a driver you are, the only ways to loose them are to duck through a short-cut or manage to somehow wreck them. This is lazy game design. Furthermore, police have the habit of ignoring all other drivers. Though countless other speedsters dash by a waiting officer, the cop will only stop eating donuts when you pass by. And thanks to the poor physics and game play, the majority of the time you will have a cop riding your car doors like an ant on a cake crumb. Being speedy has little to do with this game and outrunning any pursuit is more or less impossible. Don't mistake it -- they designed it this way, and this aspect alone is a huge sore point with the game's core play style and AI.
Physics -- While this goes along with the arcade flavor of the game, for those who might prefer it, the physics are still horrible. Yes, even an arcade game. Flamboyant wrecks spin you awkwardly and utterly unbelievably, sometimes dozens and dozens (and dozens) of times. It'd be mockingly ridiculous if they actually meant it. But no, this is just more laziness showing through. It's sad to say, but I recall driving games on the Intellivision and Atari that had better physics modeling than this NFS.
Gameplay -- The cars all perform like each other. Regardless how effective your driving, you won't find any reward. In some ways, when you win, a nagging sense will linger because you'll know that you were lucky, rather than skillfully achieving your finish. Skill has nothing to do with it, in this game. And it just doesn't have the same fun factor one expects from an NFS game because of the high luck-factor play. What a crying shame too.
Graphics -- While the graphics are notably good in many respects, some of the things that made the previous NFS games that much more delightful are absent in this game. No gut-squashed bugs tapping onto the windshield, dust plumes obscuring the view, or the other environmental details that helped create the immersive feeling that earlier games in the series provided. Overall, the graphics are nice and neat. Too neat to feel satisfying.
Overall? If you like arcade racers, this is "OK" to spend your money on, despite the flawed game play. I would probably recommend saving your money or buying another game altogether, however, particularly if you are a fan of the previous "pre-porsche" NFS games. This one is lacking in all the qualities that made previous players love and enjoy the NFS series.