To start off, I can't say that this is my favorite NFS game of all time, but it is certainly up there. I have been a NFS fan for a long time, dating back to the good old PS2 days with Most Wanted and Carbon. So far no other NFS game, in my opinion, has been better than those, but Hot Pursuit is definitely in the top 5 on my list, and here's why.
The graphics are fantastic. The car models are awesome as always, and the scenery is beautiful. Yes, scenery especially matters to me because I want to be able to go for a nice drive, if that's what I'm in the mood for. It looks great at 200+ MPH too! Now don't expect Metro: Last Light graphics, but it really is a nice looking game.
There are quite a few cars as well. I can't say for sure how many there are, but it's certainly enough to keep you busy with trying certain races with different cars or just taking them for a spin. Not to mention that for every normal car in the game there is a cop car counterpart, with the addition of a couple! So if driving at 250 MPH on a freeway with sirens on sounds fun to you, please give this a try! But what about how they handle?
I personally enjoy how the cars handle in this. It is NOT a simulator in any way. It is arcade style racing with easy drifting so you can boost into those corners like a boss without losing tons of speed or control. To me it seems like all the cars handle in a very similar fashion, but I actually don't mind it. I don't think this type of racing is for everyone however, but it's not hard at all to get used to. Remember that this game is all about going fast to evade cops or bust racers using special abilities, so you can't be completely focused on realistic driving. But that brings me to another thing I love about this.
In the game, whether you are a racer or a cop, you have access to EMPs, spike strips, roadblocks, extreme turbo, and more. All these make the game more exciting and tense. If you are a racer, you can drop spike strips on cops OR other racers and use EMPs to pass someone, and if you are a cop, you use all of these to take down racers. I especially enjoyed the cop career more because it is really fun to smash into other cars and send them into a barrel roll or other cool crashes.
The free roam is one thing I always want in a racing game. Yes, Hot Pursuit does have it, but I feel that it is missing content. Being able to free roam as a racer, you would expect to occasionally run into a police car and get into some sort of epic chase, or vice versa being a cop, but sadly that just isn't the case. There aren't even any collectables! I guess the free roam in Hot Pursuit is pretty much there to test out cars or just go for a nice ride. So yes, it's nice to have, but it lacks content.
With the exception of changing the color of the car, there is NO customization. I guess I "spoiled" myself with the feature of customizing back when I played on the PS2 because now every NFS game that has come out recently has zero options to customize, and it has been very disappointing. I don't know why they ever took it out.TL;DR:
NFS: Hot Pursuit is a really fun game with very nice graphics, great selection of cars, and tense racing. While free roam could have been significantly improved, it is always great to be able to go for a joyride in any of the vehicles you have unlocked, including the cop cars. Taking down racers or the police using EMPs, spike strips, and more is very satisfying and really adds to the gameplay. As a racing game enthusiast, I have to give this game an 8.5/10. Highly recommended!