I don't understand - everywhere this game is getting good reviews, everywhere reviewers professional and alike are wittering on about the 'bone crunching' crashing. But its not, clearly - play Burnout Paradise which is what, 2 years old now, and see what crashing should really be like and then compare it to this dismal effort. Even odder is the fact that this version of NFS is from Criterion, the very people who 2 years ago brought you the spectacularly good Burnout Paradise.
So why is the crashing so poor in Hot Pursuit? And it really is, its entirely inconsistent for a start - sometimes head on collisions result in your smashing the other car out of the way, other times you'll find yourself grinding to a halt. Cars don't deform particularly - certainly the odd bumper hangs off and they scratch up but if I hit a truck head on and roll down the road then I want the entire car to fold up - it did in Burnout, why not here? Even the takedowns from Burnout make it across in some fashion here, but they're also nowhere near as good as those seen in Burnout.
Poor crashing conspires to suck any sense of consequence from the racing, its like bumping toy cars into each other. Pile into oncoming traffic at speed and for the most part you'll just scrape to halt in a shower of sparks and dust. And the racing itself really isn't that compelling - certainly it looks phenomenally good and the wide array of supercars cars are all present and correct, but they all feel heavy and surprisingly sluggish, which combined with the moronic and personality-less AI racers leads to some realy quite dull point to point racing, even with the supposed 'spice' of civilian cars in the mix. Civilian traffic is nowhere near dense enough, so hardly any white knuckle edge of the seat weaving in and out of traffic here, just long straights trying to fill your boost bar followed by some drifting, repeat ad infinitum. A fair few events are basically just time trials too, and often ones that make no sense either. If you're going to have a narrative to drive things forward, at least try and make it coherent - so here I am, notorious speeder, scourge of Seacrest County, famed for 'totalling' (as much as thats possible herer anyway) not only my own car but whatever gets in my way - why here come Pagani, they'd like me to road test their new Zonda in a time trial scenario. Sensible and of course entirely logical and not at all a stupid way to give me another car.
Its all mildly entertaining, but ultimately it all feels to shallow, too quasi arcade, to average to really get the blood pumping with tracks hemmed in by rickety wire fences but that let you bump off the sides, crashing that feels utterly lightweight, handling that leans towards big stupid drifts even though many of these cars are tight, chuckable racing cars
One day someone will make a decent successor to the 1996 original and then I'll be happy. Until then, this isn't it. Play Burnout Paradise, in every way its a better game.