Need for Speed is Go: We had a close look at Hot Pursuit and saw for ourselves, if the latest Criterion racing game is as beautiful as the developers promised it would be. Make up your own mind by clicking through our exclusive screenshots.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit - maximum settings (9) [Source: view picture gallery]
Criterion, the maker of Burnout: Paradise is done and ready: Need for Speed hit the shelves two days ago and we got one of the first copies. Of course, we didn't hesitate to install the racing game right away, since we were all excited about how the different lighting-algorithms, Criterion had spoken of, would look like. But very quickly did we realize that our expectations would hardly be met. Okay, the lighting is quite alright, especially when the vehicles pass through tunnels and the xenon headlights make the tube shine in blue. But the textures these lights hit are as 2004 as can be. The further we look beyond the road, the lower the image quality gets. It seems as if Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit has been highly optimized to meet an Xbox 360's specifications since post processing occurs only rarely when a cut scene is running. After those, admitted, nice looking sequences the graphics go back to rough edged.
We would have been all content, if Criterion would have managed to implement more graphic options into Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. The latter only include five points which are resolution, shadow quality, texture quality, motion blur and gamma. Switches like depth of field or anti aliasing or screen space ambient occlusion would have been a nice gift to PC gamers. Even driver-enforced anti aliasing on a Geforce GTX 460M took no effect on the sawtooth distortion.
The gaming experience as such is quite nice, indeed. If you lean back a little further, you might enjoy diverse scenery: Green forests, sunny beaches, rainy mountain roads. The cars, of which every single one is presented with a voiced introduction, each have their proper characteristics. Some are brilliant sliders, some accelerate insanely fast, and others are true battering rams of high top speed.
You like to see for yourself? Check out our image galery which is full of self-made, exclusive screenshots from Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Have fun!