Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 Preview
Electronic Arts' Need For Speed series is much older than most people would believe. The series launched on the Panasonic 3DO and the game initially featured 4 cars and 3 tracks (if memory serves). Eventually the game would get ported over to the PC and PSX. I've been a huge NFS fan since day one. I remember the day when I first purchased Need For Speed: Special Edition for my PC. I remember, after I installed the game, I was in a state of awe. The 3D graphics were astonishing and blew pretty much every other racer out of the water. Not too long after I finally purchased myself a Playstation, there in the store I see a copy of Need For Speed 2 for the PSX. Purchasing that -along with Crash Bandicoot- I booted up the CD and was instantly thrown into euphoria. The exotic vehicles, the codes for the traffic cars, the sense of speed and the gameplay altogether made NFS2 one of the most enjoyable racing experiences I can think of. While the linear segment tracks and the police had been removed, NFS2 was still a top-notch racer.
Succeeding NFS2 was Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit, this game is hands-down the best NFS title, in addition to one of the most kick ass racers on both the PSX and the PC platforms. The cops were a large focus in the game, as the Hot Pursuit mode drew a lot of attention from the fans and press alike. The vehicular line up was very well done, with cars such a Lamborghini Countash, Lamborghini Diablo, Ferrari 355, Ferrari 550 Maranello and Mercedes Benz CLK-GTR included in the roster. The year after Need For Speed: High Stakes came around, it was a great title as well, but it was missing a certain touch that had always made the series so exhilarating. I felt that some of the stages were missing a level of inspiration, and that the car roster could've been slightly better, not to mention the inconsistent frame rate. Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed was when I felt that EA dropped the ball. The Playstation version was severely attacked by some crappy pop-up issues, but the vehicular detail was superb. Ever since Porsche Unleashed, the NFS series has been very quiet on the console front. In fact its been a year and a half since NFS: PU's release, but finally EA has revealed the very first next-generation Need for Speed title: Hot Pursuit 2.
By the look of these screenshots, NFS: HP2 is a pretty looking game with a great amount of visual detail. The cars, although don't look quite as hot as 'you know who', they look stunning nevertheless. What's most noticeable about Hot Pursuit 2 is its wonderful atmospheric detail. As you can clearly tell, the signature NFS track designing has returned with more woodland scenery and whatnot. Something that has been too commonly overlooked in racers these days is tree detail. Yes you read right, 'tree detail.' I'm pretty used to seeing paper flat trees that are composed of nothing but sprites. Thankfully, it seems like that's about to change with Blackbox as the developer of Hot Pursuit 2. The trees actually look life-like and incredibly organic- I'll let the screenshots speak for themselves. EA has specified that HP2 will stream at a crisp 60 frames per second with every detail on screen, including traffic and opposing vehicles. In addition, EA boasts that the game engine will utilize the Emotion Engine with its life-like visual scenery and rain, blowing leaves, sunbeams and dust storms. I'm sure Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 will be a breathtaking racer by the time it is complete for its second quarter 2002 release.
NFS fans should already know what to expect from this milestone in the series. The fabled "Hot Pursuit" mode will return with the permission of being the chaser or the 'chasee' once more. A championship mode is of course included in the roster, in addition to unannounced multi-player support, which means it could be 1-2 players, or 1-2 with an online option included. Over 20 vehicles will make an appearance in the game, and classic NFS licenses such as Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini will make a return. A spice of Gran Turismo will be thrown in, as the gamer is allowed to add upgrades to his selected car for increased performance. A total of 12 tracks will be featured in the game, but to add replay value, NFS: HP2 will feature secret Easter eggs, such as secret cars, tracks, modes or maybe some outrageous cheat codes. As for the 12 tracks, most of them will have off-road portions that can be used as shortcuts, but if not approached correctly, these shortcuts may betray you. It should be noted that the weather has been taken to more extreme boundaries. Tornados, blizzards, hurricanes, and hailstorms will now be present during your races; it's something I personally am looking forward to witnessing in the game! Here's a full features list for the game:
- More than 20 of the most coveted licensed exotics rendered in awesome PS2 detail complete with animating in-game drivers
- A variety of modes including Hot Pursuit and Championship mode
- Dynamic lighting and real world reflections bring the cars and tracks to life
- Realistic, detailed environments that push the emotion engine by bringing to life elements from the real world -rain, blowing leaves, sun beams and dust storms
- Maneuvering through traffic and police at breakneck speeds puts you on the edge of your seat
- Piloting virtually unattainable cars neck in neck with other exotics will stir the soul
- Dodge traffic at upwards of 200 mph while running at 60fps
- Open world environment to allow for "edge of your seat" off-road moments on shortcuts
- Advance your career to "Ultimate Road Racer"
- Clear reward path with: upgraded cars, new courses, new race modes and more
- Multiplayer support
|01/18/02||Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2||Matthew Stensrud|