Hot Pursuit is a Need for Speed game in name only. This blisteringly fast racer has more in common with developer Criterion Games' own Burnout series than it does with any previous Need for Speed offering, despite lacking a number of features that are commonly associated with Burnout games. This isn't a game in which you're rewarded for crashing spectacularly or for jumping through billboards, but it is a game that encourages you to drive dangerously and to take down your opponents by any means necessary. The option to play both as illegal racers and as the cops that are chasing them brings some much-needed variety to the action, while spike strips, road blocks, and other satisfying countermeasures ensure that Hot Pursuit doesn't feel quite like any racer that you've played before. Regardless of whether your interest in Hot Pursuit stems from a love of Need for Speed, Burnout, or neither, you won't be disappointed.
If you're familiar with the Burnout series, you'll immediately feel at home with the handling in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Licensed cars from the likes of Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and Porsche can be made to slide around corners with only the briefest of touches on the brake, and you earn nitrous by driving dangerously close to other vehicles and into oncoming traffic. Furthermore, there are plenty of shortcuts available if you stray from the Seacrest County roads, and should you wreck your ride while attempting to take one, you're treated to a glorious slow-motion shot as panels buckle and debris starts to fly. A similar slow-motion treatment is used to alert you when additional cops show up to chase you down and when you successfully take out an opponent, which adds a welcome touch of Hollywood to these high-speed chases. Not that they need it.
Bronze, silver, and gold medals are up for grabs in all 70-plus Career mode events, and even after you've earned yourself gold in an event, there's a good chance that you're going to be replaying it at some point in the future. That's because Hot Pursuit's autolog system does a great job of constantly comparing you to your friends and compelling you to compete with them. Events in which you're losing to friends who have played recently are highlighted on the career map, and postings on your \"speed wall\" alert you when your best times are beaten. Furthermore, you can easily jump straight into events that autolog recommends to you via an option on the main menu, so if you hear that your time in an event has been beaten, you don't have to go looking for it on the map before attempting to reclaim your crown. It's a good system, and the option to post taunts on friends' walls after you beat their times is a nice touch. It's unfortunate that the autolog completely replaces rather than complements traditional leaderboards though, because there's no way to know how your times compare with the best in the world, and ultimately the autolog is only as good as your friends are competitive.
EA Black Box stated that the Frostbite 2 engine allowed The Run to look stunning, stating that Frostbite 2 was not only the best engine it had used in a game to date, but \"the most versatile\" too. According to designer Alex Grimbley, it apparently took a year to re-purpose the tech for driving rather than shooting. The EA Black Box team, especially the artists, coders and designers, for the first time, worked collaboratively in small groups on The Run. Executive producer Jason DeLong stated that the Frostbite engine provided a more detailed cinematic environment and experience to the game. The Run was the first non-DICE game to use Frostbite 2, but Black Box did collaborate with DICE to make certain that the engine was used properly, with DeLong commenting that the collaboration allowed for a \"very deep racing mechanic of handling physics into the game\". Executive producer Jason DeLong claimed that the studio used DICE's Frostbite 2 engine for The Run as it was intent on making a \"Hollywood\" experience and to give the game a more cinematic feel than past story-based Need for Speed titles. 153554b96e