hands-on preview Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered Nintendo Switch release date Nov. 13 Criterion Games Stellar Entertainment EA

Racing fans, rejoice! Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered is coming to Nintendo Switch (and PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC), and we’ve got all the juicy details for the gearheads in the audience. We recently sat down (virtually) with reps from Criterion Games and Stellar Entertainment and got to hear about their work on the title, ask questions, and even play a demo.

As many of you may remember, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit was one of the more beloved games in the series, appearing on the Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, and mobile devices back in 2010. Criterion and Stellar have been hard at work remastering it for current platforms, and it goes way beyond a fresh coat of paint.

But first, let’s check out this trailer.

Brings a tear to your eye. As you can see, all the graphics have been updated for the current generation, but there’s more going on under the hood. The team looked at every feature, asset, and bit of code and updated all of it, completely recreating a lot of it from scratch. The garage, for example, was built from the ground up.

Some other cool stuff you can expect to see in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered includes all of the DLC from the original worked seamlessly into the story, a redone customization and wrap design system, an updated photo mode, quality-of-life upgrades, and more. Even the cinematic systems and cutscenes have gotten an overhaul. There are also new modes to look forward to. Arms Race is one where you can use every weapon in the game, while in Most Wanted racers have to protect one of their own from the police.

hands-on preview Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered Nintendo Switch release date Nov. 13 Criterion Games Stellar Entertainment EA

And of course, they brought back Autolog, the social media feature from the original. The old data won’t transfer over, so you’ll have a chance to reclaim all your old records — and, as we saw in that video, settle some old scores without the baggage. Autolog will be fully cross-platform, so you’ll be able to play with and against friends, no matter what they’re using.

The devs answered all of our questions after the presentation, as well. They said that this was a unique opportunity to revisit a fan-favorite title in the series, and that while other remakes were unlikely, this should serve as a good way for old fans to rediscover the Need for Speed series. A great emphasis was placed on remastering every possible aspect of the game, and full cross-play was one of their top concerns. They’ve included the DLC content and added more races and modes to help sweeten the deal.

The best part of the event, however, was getting to actually play a level of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered, albeit on PC. We got to see the work the developers have been putting into this, and it was a terrific experience. The graphics, for one, are amazing (albeit, again, on PC). I’m not usually one to place a lot of emphasis on how a game looks, but this one is very pretty.

In general, everything feels good so far, even the feel of driving to the menus. Just browsing the cars was enticing, and seeing the vehicles I hadn’t unlocked yet will be a great motivator to play more. Admittedly, I’m not great at racing games, but cruising around Seacrest County in a Porsche was a ton of fun. The controls are responsive and the track was well designed, with just enough variety to help someone new to the game get into it and stay interested. I can’t wait to see more of the full game, especially the online features.

Criterion and Stellar wanted to bring back an older style of racing game with Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered, and so far it’s an absolute blast. The Nintendo Switch version will run at 1080p 30 FPS, launching on Nov. 13 and retailing for $39.99. It will launch one week sooner on Nov. 6 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Dominick Ashtear

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