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All hail Need for Speed

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ShortList has exclusive first play on revitalised NFS: Hot Pursuit

It’s the biggest racing series the world has ever known with more than 100 million copies sold. For years it was nailed on for Christmas No1. And it’s survived more than 15 years of video- gaming innovation. But despite all that, the Need For Speed name has been tarnished slightly by lacklustre sequels. However, this year’s instalment, Hot Pursuit, is going to change everything.

How do we know? ShortList has had an exclusive play of the career mode. Much like modern classic Burnout Paradise, there’s a free-drive option where you can race around the 100 miles of roads doing little more than taking in the scenery.

However, it’s a more user-friendly game because you can jump straight to an event (mostly variations of frantic cops versus driver and standard races) from the map.

The comparison with Burnout is an obvious one — it’s made by the same studio, Criterion. The team there have merged the best parts of the two franchises: Need For Speed’s licenced vehicles and compelling chase dynamic, with Burnout’s handling and cinematic slow-motion replays of the big takedowns.

But the smart move is how the single and multiplayer have been merged. Even if you’re not online with friends, you can set them challenges based on your performance and — this is the key part — receive feedback on how they are faring.

So if they’ve still had no success after 20 attempts, that’s your cue to start gloating.

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is released on Xbox 360 and PS3 in November

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