Games: Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2

As the latest in the line of Need For Speed games, Hot Pursuit 2 provides exciting arcade racing through 12 scenic locations using over 20 of the fastest cars the world has to offer.

Sweeping bends and wide roads ensure that the brake pedal need never be used, but the scenery may prove too much of a distraction on some tracks as you pass waterfalls, lush forests and even volcanoes, at breakneck speeds. The responsiveness and playability of the game is excellent.

When you first load up the game, you will find most of the better tracks and desirable cars are locked, with a certain point designation given to each. You can unlock them if you have an adequate number of points in your account, and they are easy to amass by winning races and eluding the boys in blue.

Playing modes include Hot Pursuit, Championship, Multiplayer, Quick Race and Single Challenge, the latter of which allows you either to seriously compete or just to go for a quiet drive in your HSV GTS Coupe and enjoy the views according to the settings you choose. Hot Pursuit and Championship modes are set up in a hierarchical branch structure and you are allowed to progress through to the next event only if you successfully complete the previous event.

There are a couple of sticking points. The lack of an in-car view is greatly felt and the inability to race at night or in altered weather conditions is disappointing.

Keep in mind that this game seems to be very taxing on computer hardware. I ran it with all settings maximised on a brand new Pentium 4 3.06GHz system with plenty of RAM and a GeForce4 Ti 4600 graphics card and still encountered slight — albeit non-gameplay inhibiting — stuttering. EA recommends a PC equipped with at least a Pentium III 450MHz CPU and a 16MB TNT2 graphics card.

Let’s face it, though: when a racing game that looks as good as Hot Pursuit 2 has to be played at lowered detail levels, it detracts greatly from the overall experience.

Publisher: EA Games Developer: EA Games
URL: www.ea.com

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