Mar 022011
Authors: Ian Hopkins

When I lived at home, my parents had a BMW Z3 that I took for a very high-speed drive down a curvy country road. Adrenaline just surged through my veins; it was amazing.

 “Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit” is the cheap –– and safe –– way to drive performance cars with the reckless abandon I had years ago. However, the thrill of driving video game cars isn’t close to the real thing, but it is still addicting. Being an adrenaline junkie, I hope one day a game can come close to the real thing.

For now, “Need for Speed” is an adequate substitute. 

The most important thing in recreating the mystique of dangerous driving is how real the game looks. “Need for Speed” is a success in this department. I don’t know how it was done, but Electronic Arts created a very realistic looking racing game that blurs the line between game and reality.

 Aside from the overly blurred landscape when you are driving over 250 miles per hour, the environments were superbly rendered.

 The next step to recreating an accurate rendition of speeding down highways is the sounds of the powerful cars. I don’t know much about how different car engines sound, but the roar of all the different cars I raced were very powerful sounding and what I imagine to be the real deal.

 The music of the game ranges from speed-inducing rap beats to mellow rock and alternative rock tracks. All of the songs in the game are songs I would expect to be playing from my car stereo while I was flying down country roads –– “Need for Speed” packs them all into one game. 

Unfortunately, a video game controller doesn’t accurately recreate sitting behind a real steering wheel. Electronic Arts took the standard racing game controls and worked magic to give “Need for Speed” responsive, arcade racing controls. Don’t mistake this game for a “Forza” or “Grand Turismo” styled racing simulator, “Need for Speed” is all power and racing fantasy. 

All of these great qualities in “Need for Speed” create a fluid, addicting video game to play. Speeding through a multitude of race courses in these fancy Corvettes and Zondas is even more fun when the cops start chasing you down in their lightning-quick Bugatti Veyrons, helicopters, and numerous other wily police tricks.

 The police aren’t the only problem though; winning races against opponents while flying through traffic is intense and cops will crash races and try to bust you. 

The one problem I have with this game is this: if you don’t buy the game new you don’t get a free access code to play online. I already pay $75 a year for Xbox Live; I don’t need to pay another $10 to play online too.

 If you play offline, you’ll enjoy the game; but, otherwise, be wary because playing this game to its full potential is priced like the Ferrari of video games.

Video game reviewer Ian Hopkins can be reached at

 Posted by at 4:47 pm

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