Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Neil Flynn 22.02.2021

Review for Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered on Nintendo Switch

The last time Nintendo console had a Need for Speed title it was with 2013's Need for Speed: Most Wanted on the Wii U. Ironically, it was the superior version at the time with improved textures, new features and modes baked into the more powerful Wii U hardware. Both EA and Criterion Games took ample care with Most Wanted on Wii U in order to appeal to Nintendo owners. However, with the flop that the Wii U turned out to be, sales most likely didn't hit EA's expectations. Fast forward to the next generation and Nintendo has a smash-hit console on their hands and now a new Need for Speed game. Read on to find out how it fares.

Miffed by that intro? Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered is, as the title correctly illustrates, a remaster of the hotly acclaimed 2010 arcade style racing game. However, Nintendo Wii owners got something vastly different compared to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 counterparts, as many Wii games often saw demakes or completely different games altogether despite sharing a title with the rival console versions. Therefore, those reminiscing on the glory days of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit for the Nintendo Wii might be left disappointed. Never fear, though; this alternative Switch version is much better.

Technicalities aside, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered is a simple point-to-point racer with a rudimentary career mode, especially for the likes of the modern era. It is easy to see that career mode is the meat and bones of the offline modes for Hot Pursuit Remastered, putting an emphasis on raising the Bounty profile of the player and unlocking new cars along the way. The career mode takes place in the fictional area of Seacrest County where the terrain can vary from snowy mountains to city landscapes and rural roads. Add in weather effects and there is a good variety to be had in the races.

Hot Pursuit doesn't just focus on the point-to-point racing but includes a mechanic seen in previous Need for Speed titles, such as 1998's Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit and 2002's Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2. In these titles, there were police chases throughout certain races, and this mechanic has been used in other games in the Need for Speed franchise. Titles boasting this feature include 2005's Need for Speed: Most Wanted, which is different from the remake of Need for Speed: Most Wanted in 2012. Incredibly confusing and annoying naming conventions aside, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered puts an emphasis on living life on the edge by rewarding dangerous driving, unlocking shortcuts and taking the lead with Bounty points. These Bounty points are added towards the player's Wanted Level which unlocks cars, races and more intense police chases.

Screenshot for Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Seldom does a race go by without unlocking a new car, which is great considering there is a large range of licensed cars to choose from, including the Aston Martin V12 Vantage to a McLaren MP4-12C. There are over 70 licensed cars to unlock and use, both in career mode and online. What is great about this is that the police force also uses these cars to combat the racers throughout the career mode, meaning that the Seacrest County Police Department has an exorbitant budget to crack down on these street racing thugs with their very own Lamborghinis and Maseratis. Incredibly expensive sports cars aren't the only thing in the SCPD's arsenal: they are also equipped with rear-ended spike strips, targeted lock on EMPs and a few other obstacles such as road-blocks and attack helicopters. Players are also armed with a few of these weapons to keep the police - and other racers - off their tail and are actively encouraged to attack the police vehicles to gain Bounty points. There is a number of different styled missions to complete throughout the Career mode but ultimately distinguishing the difference between them is hard when the main objective is always to finish in first place or beat a track in a certain time.


 
Speaking of beating certain times, Autolog mode is an online leaderboard consisting of the fastest times set on each course from any friends that are also playing Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered. This feature feels somewhat basic by today's standards. Even in 2010 it wasn't anything particularly revolutionary but admittedly it does serve a purpose by competitively motivating players to beat the best times set by a friend. EA was also so confident in Autolog that the developer even used it in their marketing campaign for the launch of this remaster, including a great advert called "5:10", which illustrates the torment of being beaten by friends. Strangely, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered lacks a local multiplayer function, which is quite a shame given the two different mechanics of the police interceptors vs street racers. Nonetheless there is a rather bustling online mode of races, including cross-play, where up to 8 racers can duke it out to take the top spot. However, given that there is no real levelled matchmaking or restrictions on cars that can be picked it is highly advised to unlock some of the faster vehicles before participating in online matches.

Screenshot for Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit was graphically stunning in 2010 and the Nintendo Switch version doesn't look like it has improved too much from the PS3 and Xbox 360 models. The graphics still look sufficient enough to at least pass today's standards but they aren't as impressive as they once were. Given that the Nintendo Switch is short of competent arcade racers full of licensed cars there shouldn't be too many complaints, especially since this has come to the Switch at the same time as the Xbox and PlayStation remasters too. Importantly, the gameplay does indeed hold up and with it being an arcade racer it is very accessible to players of all abilities. There is a slight annoyance in that collisions can feel a little strange as oncoming traffic can seemingly clip the side of vehicles when passing them, when in other racing games there would be a little bit more of a give. Luckily, fans of the Burnout franchise will be excited to hear that Criterion Games developed Hot Pursuit Remastered and will appreciate what they have done with the crash animations and the sense of speed that can be felt from race to race, as well as the various car noises and great licensed soundtrack.

Screenshot for Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered on Nintendo Switch

In comparison, Seacrest County is beginning to show its age, While the career mode has missions that can be selected from the map screen, there is an open world to actually drive around in. The main problem with this is that it feels largely barren. Compared to Burnout Paradise: Remastered, there is a lack of life to the world with few cars and little to do. Even during races it feels like some roads lack the realities of traffic. Comparatively, Burnout Paradise: Remastered has an open sandbox with a sense of discovery whereas Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered can feel somewhat stilted in this regard, especially as its confusingly named predecessor, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 had this. Also, given that earlier Need for Speed titles included a number of kit car customisation tools such as those found in Need for Speed: Underground 2 or story modes, Hot Pursuit Remastered can feel a little light on content.

Screenshot for Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered is a mixed bag. On one hand, its simplicity in its pick up and play race-to-race gameplay style can suit those who enjoy "back to basics" game modes. Anyone seeking an experience that can be fun to play with limited options will find Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered a joy to play, especially given its relatively budget price. Petrol heads and those looking for a bit of nostalgia will be satisfied with the car selection and arcade gameplay. However, Hot Pursuit Remastered's game modes both inside and outside of career mode are fairly scant, and fall short of standards set by other racing games in the modern landscape - even those upheld historically within the Need for Speed franchise itself.

Developer

Criterion

Publisher

EA

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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