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the world through the eyes of sweet melancholy. about the arts, science, and personal affairs.
8106 › Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2010
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I don’t like sports video games, and i barely tolerate racing games. Maybe this is why i should not write a blog entry about Need for Speed, but i’ll do it anyway. Oh and, if you never played any game of that series – stop reading right now ; )

i remember that NFS 2 was one of my first video games i played, back when it first came out. And since then i keep an eye open for that whole series, because it is still one of the best racing game series out there. The third game, Hot Pursuit, was by far the best. i really loved it and played it like a bitch. Back then, when i was 13 or so, this was a big deal. But afterward… well, the series started it’s big letdown. Don’t get me wrong, the following titles were still pretty good and i played nearly all of them. But each title was slightly less good than its predecessor. And this trend was so straight forward that it kept on until i finally can say: this series is bad. Really bad.
I am currently playing the semi-reboot of the series, with the new title „Hot Pursuit“. It IS a step back to the series’ roots and it kinda plays like it, but wow did they fuck up. I never got so angry about something not even TRYING to appeal anymore. Did Electronic Arts simply gave up on making decent racing games? Did the routine just got its grip on the company so bad, that the producers just don’t give a shit anymore? Hard to tell. But the outcome is simply put… boring.

Yeah, boring.
What is funny, because i prefer arcade racing games to simulation, because sims always bore the hell out of me. Real life sucks, that is why i play games in the first place. Sport simulations are the worst of all games, because at the point a game is realistic, i’d rather play it in REAL LIFE. And with racing games the added (un-)feature is that the gameplay itself is pure boredom in pixel form. Just – driving – straight. Head front. Drive. Fast. Don’t blink or you’ll loose. Drive. *YAWN*
so, arcade games may be totally unrealistic, but that is kinda the point. It’s not just driving, it is action and strategy and stuff. You need more than just to stay awake until the game ends. When the NFS series tended to be realistic (with Shift and so) i was very disappointed, because the series always was THE arcade racing game for me, and even though it still was kinda good – it was boring. And that destroyed the fun for me. (btw, it’s the same with me and strategy games.)

when i first heard about the new NFS being a back-to-the-roots kinda title, i kept the hopes high and i was excited. So that my (small) hype destroyed my sense of objective observation. I KNEW the series was running downhill with its ‘evolution’, so i should not have been too disappointed about what i was about to play. But i was. And that is were i am now: angry at the game i once loved, ranting about minor things. Because this is what makes the game so bad: overall it is pretty good, but it is so full packed with minor mistakes, that the sheer quantity of those makes my fun vanish into an old, dry raisin.
So, that was a long introduction into my rant about Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2010! and now to the review.

graphics.
You may be familiar with the common Need for Speed graphics bug. It is pretty well known for being present in most of the NFS games. This bug occurs with MOST of the PCs graphic cards and causes the game to kinda ‘lag’ in a metronomic manner, stuttering every second for a brief moment of a fraction of a second, making the gameplay VERY annoying. It’s not a low frame rate, but the game kinda stops very shortly but (high) frequently. The new game does NOT have this bug, BUT: the game has a random frame rate. Sort of. Well, hard to explain… let me tell you what i experienced: i putted the game graphics on highest setting, because my hardware is pretty good and should be able to easily manage NFS graphics. But the frame rate was sometimes very low, but sometimes also high. It felt strange, because it shifted between 10 and 60fps, and i could not find out under which conditions. It was NOT about how much was happening or how fast i was driving, it just fucked around like it felt like. I set the graphics lower and lower, until i had it on lowest settings, BUT THE FPS RATE DID NOT CHANGE. No matter how the graphics looked, the frame rate would still randomly shift between around 10 and 60fps. Sometimes this is unplayable and leading me to loose a race. How did they fuck this up so badly? I guess they were trying to get rid of the NFS bug, but it was so tightly in the code that this was their only way to work around it. And i guess it is SLIGHTLY better as a solution, but still… meh

enthusiasm.
Next thing i noticed is that the game does not give me any REASON to play. Well, you might think, it is a racing game. You race, you win. That’s the point. But still, the game should give me at least a goal of some kind so i know what i am winning for. Hot Pursuit 2010 does not do that, at all. What precisely IS my goal? Ought i win a specific race? Or should i reach a certain level? Win every gold cup? Earn an undisclosed amount of bounty? Must i achieve to own all the cars? What is it i am racing for, damnit?! To get rid of a story mode is a good decision, because that always was kinda annoying in a racing game, and with the former titles the game worked out pretty well without one, but the previous games had the courtesy to give me reason to play, like earning money to be able to pay for a specific car i need for winning a specific race i need to win to complete the game. THAT is a goal. And not just playing a racing game for the sake of playing a racing game.

Cars.
Well, i may not be a nerd about cars, and you probably HAVE to be in order to UNDERSTAND the game. Meaning, the game simply overthrows you with a shitload of cars you don’t care about. Not the least. Especially due to the following dumb decision: basically after every race you win a new car. And you drive that once, and you win a new one that replaces the prior car. And this repeats. Which leads me to the question: why should i even CARE about ANY of those cars, if it is nearly immediately replaced after the next race? I don’t care. Then after every race i have to watch this dicking video of how awesome the car is i just won, and you can’t skip that video and i am like „stop… please… i don’t care… i wanna play. I want to race with the others cars. Stop showing me that car, i don’t have any interest in it. …“

skipping.
Talking about skipping, that is something really strange: before each race the game introduces the race by a small cinematography (which is at it’s own already very POINTLESS). I don’t know why i should watch that, but the game gives me the option to skip the sequence. So i do. the „Press (3) to skip“ text changes to „Skipping…“ and… well, the sequence keeps on for longer. Not until the end, but most of the time for several more seconds. And you have to watch what you wanted to skip. So tell me, why would the game offer me to skip the scene, when i won’t LET me?? the loading screen was already over at that point, so i don’t think the game still loads in the background. Please, have the courtesy not to give me the option to skip, if it is not legit! It’s annoying.

AI.
you know this behavior a lot of racing game bots have? Like they adapt their driving to your driving. When you are the first place and way ahead, they will suddenly drive very fast to keep up, even though it is beyond the cars capability of driving, and when you are in the last place all the other drivers tend to suddenly and without any reason drive very slow, so you can keep up. I HATE THAT. You know why? It makes most of the race completely pointless! I know it is meant to keep the race interesting and action loaded, but it is cheap and lazy. I makes fun of the player’s abilities, because it simply does not matter how good you can drive. Only the last kilometer matters at all. The rest is pointless. In Hot Pursuit 2010 this is very present.

Roadblock.
Or wait. No. That’s the finish line. Wait, what??
Yeah, for some reason the makers decided to make the finish line in races out of some cars blocking the whole road and making the end of you race illogical unrealistic. But worst of all, the finishing line is practically indistinguishable from roadblocks! Roadblocks are a blockade of police cars you have to drive around or pass without taking too much damage. And it looks as the finish does, kinda. Well, if you drive at 250km per hour this is a thing you can only differ through keeping an eye on the top right corner of the screen that tells you how far the goal is away from your location and combining this information with what SHOULD be a blockade or the goal. But sometimes… and i already was a few times in this situation… there is a roadblock right a hundred meters before the goal. So you look at the remaining meters, you see some sort of group of cars in front of you, you combine that this is the goal – and you speed up! Using the rest of your nitro. And then you crash into the bunch of police cars, the other drivers pass by and you finish fourth. Great…

customization.
Is not present. Mh, what a shame. But certainly not a loss. I am no freak for cars, so working on its looks was never really important to me. Hot Pursuit 2010 does not offer that, and i am okay with that. BUT it still gives you the option to change the car’s color before each race. But my obvious question is: why? What is this for?? i don’t care why i should even bother to do that every fucking time. Especially since the game does not save your decision and resets the color to its standard every time. And as i already said, you play another car in each race anyway. Plus the color has no effect on the game. It’s pointless. And before each race this is an extra click, wasted. Even worse: the police cars don’t have an option to choose the color, but you still have that extra menu that beside letting you choose the color is nothing more than stupid ADVERTISMENT for the cars. And… why does this game do that? This ad seriously tries to sell me the car, telling me why each car is the single most awesome car in the world and how much it costs. The female voice telling me this tries to seduce me. That is annoying, i don’t care for that information. Leave me alone.

Helicopter.
I think they were supposed to be the best police weapon in the game, but those things are fucking useless. They just circle around in the sky, and from time to time they stop hovering above the road letting the criminal pass or throwing spike strips at me.
Seriously, most of those helicopters fly around for 2 minutes, and within that time limit they hover 5 times over the criminal, doing NOTHING. Throwing spike strips right in front of ME (are you fucking blind up there??). And then… „criminal has entered a tunnel.“ – what?? what tunnel? There is no tunnel!? Where are you flying to? Come here!!! ARGH

instant action.
Every time… SOMETHNG happens, the game goes into a brief cinematographic mode to show you what you have done, like when you crash, or you take down an enemy, or even when you pass by a parking police car. During that short period you are invulnerable. The camera focuses on the action and the rest of the game is in autopilot mode. Also, only ONE thing can happen. If you crash into a car this is the only thing that matters, even though something else occurred right after the crash. And this is fine for me. It gives you reason to drive irresponsibly dangerous, as long as you reach this mode. BUT it also takes away one or two precious seconds of your gameplay and throws you right back into the game immediately afterward. Why, what is the logical outcome of this? Very often you end up crashing into something right after this sequence ended, because you could not see what the race is about to look like afterward. Most of the time you get the control back RIGHT IN FRONT of a dangerously sharp turn, and it is already too late to enter it right and NOT manage to crash into the side of the road. Wow, how annoying this can be.

Boring.
One third of the game modes are fucking boring. Time trial an previews basically. Because those modes represent what i hate about sport SIMULATIONS. You just have to drive carefully and straight and fast. Fast Response mode for the police even does not allow you to cause damage without punishing you, so you really have to concentrate and drive especially careful. And yeah, i call bullshit on that. Because if i wanted to play this kind of game, i would right now be playing one of the other, non-arcade, simulation NFS titles. But well, i have to sit through it if i want to complete the game somewhen, so i have to bore me through those modes.

Alone.
One thing i find very confusing is that you, when you play pursuit as the police, you always are alone (if you don’t count the helis). The game usually starts with the cinematography showing you and a few other cops chasing cars, but as soon as the actual game starts, you are on your own. And yet again the question: why? Did the other cops simply give up or what? It’s strange, especially when you realize that for the first time. Back in the oldskool NFS times you were never alone, and at some point this was a nice addition to the gameplay, as you wanted to bust as many criminals as possible, so you had to be better than your bot colleagues, before they take away your busts. It made sense, was not annoying but challenging, and kinda more realistic (i guess).

Soundtrack.
And last, but not least, the music. What is up with it? Is fucking lame!
The NFS soundtracks were mainly very good ones, so good i loved to listen to most of them while i was NOT playing the actual game. The series started with a combination of awesome electro/techno and bit of rock music, later the rock music got more important, which was awesome. Way later they added hip-hop and rap and such, which still was okay for me, as you could turn that off easily. The new music fitted into the game, even though i dislike hip-hop (what am i saying?! I HATE that kind of music!). With the newer titles the music got more mainstream, which was logical, so they ended up featuring music from Nine Inch Nails and Prodigy and such, but it still was very good. But with the newest title the music simply is… wow, for pussies. Seriously. Pussy music. Lame and pop-like. It mainly features very lame-ass emo-pop-rock from bands like Weezer. There still is a small portion of acceptable electro and some hip-hop, but even they are pussy stuff in comparison to the prior NFS titles! Also, maybe it is just me, but the music is very high pitched. It does not effect me while playing because you barely notice its presents. It so lags of any content due to this high pitched pop rock. PLUS the score sometimes changes to an orchestral, movie-like soundtrack when certain things happen.
If you, for example, are racing and suddenly a cop spots you, a chase starts, but instead of doing nothing with the music or shifting to more action style music (this is were i want my harder rock music form previous titles back!), the game goes all cliché film-score-like on you. If you know me, you know that i am sort of an orchestral music fan myself. I listen to classic music, as well as to modern. But let me tell you, it does not fit into the game. I guess it is because it is only FAST, but not HARD on your ears. Kinda like the high pitched pop music does not effect your game, the orchestral stuff also does nothing, framing the whole soundtrack of the game completely pointless. You may wanna play on mute instead, makes no difference.

Sum-up.
And well, those are most of my complains. Believe me, there are a lot more, but i already spend way too much time and effort pointing this out.
If you have read so far, i seriously question your life style. Don’t you have anything better to do with your life than reading about some random game rant? Haha. Well, the codeword is „roadrage“. Only you know it. Tell me the codeword in any form you like and you get a price.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2010 is lame.


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last modified: 2010-Dec-17, 18:10:58
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