Background: Of the many developers out there who enjoy rock star status, the British nuts behind the Burnout series, Criterion Games, might be our favourites. The Guildford-based stable was enlisted by Electronic Arts to apply their unique blend of high speed-carnage to the oldest of playground favourites: cops and robbers. Before release, you could have given our excitement an ASBO.

 
Good police: playing the law doesn't have to be boring

What’s it all about? Your playground is the fictional locale of Seacrest County, with over 100 miles of open road and enough impossibly exotic cars to make Jay Kay’s garage feel like a Kwik Fit. Hot Pursuit doesn’t just feature the mpost spectacular racing of 2010 (move over, Gran Turismo 5), but packages it with an excitingly advanced approach to social gaming.

The new ‘Autolog’ system, which, which records every detail of your racing performances, ticks along in the background even when you’re playing campaign mode. Your stats, and your friends’ stats, are constantly updated and fed back to you, with alerts when someone beats your time. Essentially, it’s less traditional multiplayer, more ‘Facebook for speeding’. Put that on the box.


Escape to victory: smash through road blocks to avoid capture

Sounds good. Can I play as both cops and robbers? Yup. You work your way through a series of challenges swapping between the two sides, unlocking events, gathering points and acquiring increasingly awesome cars as you go. There are straightforward time trials, one-on-one match ups and even preview events where you get an early spin on the games’ best cars.

Are there any guns? No, but there are turbo boosts (charged by drifting and slipstreaming), spike strips and electromagnetic pulse systems,while the cops also get to call in road blocks and helicopter support to nail the target. And they’re well-balanced, so while you won’t get to ‘red shell’ anyone from the back, there’s still an element of chaos lurking at every bend.

Should I buy it? Oh yes. It might not have the purist appeal of Gran Turismo 5, but if you’re more of a fantasist, this game’ll take you and your mates right back to the playground, making siren noises and off your tits on E numbers.