Graphics: 5/5 Without a doubt the best graphics I've seen in a racing game, and one of the best games I've seen period. Not only are the cars ridiculously realistic, but the attention to detail from crashes, the weather effects, and the landscapes, are all really nice - not to mention the frame rate's pretty perfect as well. The one slight downfall, although it's understandable, is that the load times take a tiny bit of time... but that's a minor annoyance, and with the way this game looks, it's worth the wait.
Sound: 4.5/5 The cars, the police radio chatter, and all of the sounds you hear when racing are all well above average, but I don't find the soundtrack to be too great. There are a few pretty decent songs, and there is also a lot of variety - from rap to rock - but I haven't found anything mind blowing.
Control: 4.5/5 If you've played Burnout, this is essentially that. All you really need to know is how to steer, gas, brake/drift, and use boost. That is it... extremely simple first glance, but the drifting will take awhile to master. Speaking of the drifting, I've found that seemingly every car controls identically or similarly... it's like every car is just slapped with a new face with a different top speed. Other than that, quite alike.
Fun: 4.75/5 If you're a fan of the Burnout series, as well the previous Hot Pursuit games, there's no reason to not at least try this game out. While this game is almost perfect - there are a couple minor flaws. Firstly, there is no in-car view in this game. While this isn't particularly surprising, it's disappointing nonetheless. Secondly, you're required to pay $10 to play this game if you don't have a 'pass' that comes with a new copy of the game. And lastly, there is NO SPLITSCREEN multiplayer. While this may not be a huge problem for most, it is to me, seeing as how the only time I do play splitscreen in a game, is with a racing game. Anyways, you can play as the racers or the chasers in Hot Pursuit, and there are different ways to get in the lead, including spike strips, and the use of helicopters. If you can only have one racing game on the 360, make it Need for Speed Hot Pursuit - not only does Hot Pursuit look great on the surface, it also has the goods under the hood.
[Changed to a 4.25/5 upon easy-to-get-to 100% completion.]
EDIT 11/1/12: After playing Most Wanted (2012) and looking back to this game for comparison, I've really found that the two aren't completely different. While I'd say both games are fun to play in some of their own ways, both are very shallow as far as replay value goes. I beat Hot Pursuit to 100% completion in just 8 days, and if I wanted to, I could have easily beaten Most Wanted (2012)'s single player in about 2 days. I say Hot Pursuit is the better game, but not worthy of what equates to a 9.5 by any means. If you can get it cheap, that's a fair rating. But for the lack of longevity, remembering how little this game did for me after I beat it, I'd give it more of a 4.25/5.
+: Fantastic graphics; good variety in tracks, as well as solid variety in events; entertaining online play.
-: If you don't buy the game new, you have to pay $10 to play online; many of the cars seem to control similarly; No in-car view; No splitscreen; As fun as the online play is, when it lags, it lags terribly.
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