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Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered hands on: Reviving a remake

EA and Criterion are working together to bring one of 2010's most popular games to current-generation consoles and Nintendo Switch.

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It would seem that we live in the age of remasters and remakes. With games costing more to produce every passing year, some publishers prefer to bank on proven hits rather than assume the risk of launching new IP. With the art of video games being around for nearly fifty years, there does exist a wealth of older properties that can be refinished and refurbished for a whole new audience that wasn’t born or was too young to notice on the initial release. Such was the case back in 2010 when EA tapped Burnout veterans Criterion Games to remake the 1998 smash hit Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit. 

Dropping the 3 from the name, Criterion unleashed Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit onto Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. It retained the exotic cars and police chases from the original game while giving the car handling and driving experience much closer to Criterion’s Burnout series. It proved to be a hit with players and finished out 2010 as one of the most popular games of the year. Fast forward a decade and Hot Pursuit’s remake is getting the remaster treatment for current-gen consoles and Nintendo Switch.

Dragging 2010 into 2020

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered brings the original remake and all of its post-launch DLC content into one package. Car models get a bit of an upgrade, along with various graphical effects. The development team has also implemented an updated Photo Mode to allow players to capture that exact moment when they plow through a roadblock in their Mitsubishi with 3 police cruisers in tow.

The Autolog driver stats system from the original game gets a makeover for the remastered version, helping to facilitate asynchronous cross-platform time trials and leaderboards between friends on each version of the game. While the PC version of the original remake still has an active community, the leaderboards and times will be wiped clean for the remastered version of the game to even the playing field for newcomers. 

On the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch versions of the game, the action will be locked to a smooth 30fps to ensure consistent handling. The PC version will support up to 60fps, though higher framerates are not supported as the developers said that going higher caused all sorts of issues with the game. Those who have pre-ordered next-gen consoles will be happy to know that Hot Pursuit Remastered will work on the new machines in compatibility mode, ensuring performance in line with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X version of the game.

The Nintendo Switch version is sure to be a hit thanks to the added portability. Players will no longer need to be tethered to their living room TVs to enjoy a brisk police chase through the countryside in various exotic cars. Just like its console counterparts, the Switch version will make use of Autolog for asynchronous cross-platform competition. You’ll be able to set hot laps and event scores on the go while your couch-locked friends will get a chance to meet or beat the challenge.

I got the opportunity to roll out on the highway with the PC build of Hot Pursuit Remastered and it was easy to slide back into the action nearly ten years since I last played. Running at 4K resolution allowed the updated car models to shine and the framerate was super-solid. I am not sure if the original PC release will keep servers open or if players should expect to jump into the remastered version to keep chasing leaderboard spots.

Radar love

If you consider Hot Pursuit to be one of the all-time racing classics or you were too young to remember all the fanfare the first time around, this new remaster should hit the spot. It is scheduled to arrive on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on November 13, 2020. Thanksgiving break with a few Lamborghinis and McLarens should be a great way to avoid the inevitable political hot takes at the dinner table. 

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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