The wheel deal
It may be the biggest-selling racing game of all time, but the Need For Speed series has become increasingly predictable of late; always delivering intense racing thrills and a monster selection of rides, but lacking that magical spark that makes it truly indispensable. But with Hot Pursuit the familiar franchise has been revamped, supercharged and given a new burst of energy, and now leaves the bewildered competition spluttering on the starting line.
With developers Criterion at the wheel the speed freaks who unleashed the outrageous Burnout series the action is more thrilling than ever, with cars smashing through roadblocks, skidding around impossible bends, and using speed-boosts so terrifyingly fast it feels as if your car is about to travel through time. New energy also comes in the long arm of the law, with gamers able to play as law-flaunting petrol-heads trying to escape the fuzz, or cops using every dirty trick in the book to bring them grinding to a halt. But best of all, as the cars in your sprawling digital garage are amongst the fastest, sleekest and sexiest in the world both for the cops and lawbreakers Hot Pursuit is high velocity heaven and delicious escapism for anyone tired of realistic racers.
Uniquely, Hot Pursuit also works hard to refine the multiplayer experience, its Autolog feature keeping track of your performance in the single-player game and recording your stats online, in turn alerting your friends to your records and challenging them to do better; allowing you to thrash your mates even when youre not around for a live session. And when you finally get a group of players together for a proper race, the intuitive way you can drop road spikes and other traps adds an extra layer of strategy to the breakneck experience, making Hot Pursuit the most thrilling racer of 2010.