Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
Autolog recommends that you read my review of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit at thephoenix.com. If you follow me on Twitter (why don't you follow me on Twitter?), then you know that I love this game with a passion bordering on obsession. I found myself thinking about it as I went to sleep at night, and when I got up in the morning. When I load the title screen, my heart starts beating a little faster. This is shameful, but it's the truth.
In the limited space I have for reviews, I prefer to focus on one or two major points rather than trying to cover everything. In this case, it seemed most important to talk about how flippin' awesome the hot pursuits are, so that's the majority of the review. I didn't even mention the social features, despite how prominently they feature in the game's marketing, and even though I'm about to discuss them now, the bottom line is that the social features are a nice extra and not a game-changer.
For Autolog is, at heart, just a leaderboard. In that sense it's no different from the high score list on a Pac-Man machine 30 years ago. If no one else has played an event, you hop right to the top. If they have, your incentive is to beat them. Occasionally, you return to the game to find that you have been displaced. Your friends' scores update automatically, which, again, is not new or unique to Hot Pursuit.
Where the Autolog departs from tradition is in the ease of use. You might finish a race and return to the menu to be interrupted by a breaking news update that someone has just beaten your score. With one button press, you can immediately load that event and set to work getting your revenge. More than once, this feature resulted in an asynchronous multiplayer game between me and some of my friends who were online. We could have raced each other head to head; instead, we were trading lap times in what felt like a 21st-century update of playing chess by mail.
That's intended as a compliment.