Modern gaming, especially in the racing world, has made enormous strides forward in recent years, with tire wear, realistic slipstreaming, and laser-scanned real world courses dominating feature lists. But sometimes, it’s fun to just throw a disc in, and harmlessly slam a multimillion dollar exotic off of walls, and for that, I think the best place to look is the classics.
Let’s start off this series with my personal favorite from childhood, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2, released in 2002. I was right at that sweet spot in my life where I could be in absolute awe of it. The NFS series has produced three Hot Pursuit titles, in chronological order of release: NFS 3: Hot Pursuit, NFS: Hot Pursuit 2, and NFS: Hot Pursuit. And we thought Valve can’t count.
While the first game was still finding the sweet spot of what made racing games truly fun and had graphics that have aged to the point of being difficult to see on a modern TV, and the last game was a bit of a Burnout clone with actual supercars instead of imaginary ones, NFS: Hot Pursuit 2 was released at the arguable peak of the series’ strength, with the right blend of semi-realistic graphics, arcade-style handling, and a ridiculously over-the-top Be The Cop mode, where you could call in a helicopter to literally drop bombs on speeders.
With one of the best intros for a video game of all time (you can fight me on that one) and a killer car list that shaped my tastes immeasurably in the decades to come, not to mention an unbelievably good soundtrack for the era (how many racing games put Rush in their playlist?), I think it’s worth blowing the dust off the PS2 to give it another go. Plus, if you have some pent up aggression from being trapped inside you’d like to blow off, you can ram speeding supercars off the road as a cop in a Corvette Z06.
Check out some nicely modernized footage of every Millennial’s favorite supercar ripping through the streets of-definitely-not-Italy below.