If you loved Driveclub, nothing can truly replace it, as it had very particular blend of handling, visuals, and features that made it special. However, having recently bought NFS:HPR on sale, I can say that some of my Driveclub itches are being scratched. I skipped this one when it came out, which has made it all the more of a pleasant surprise.
For one, for a game that is 10 years old, the remastered version still looks absolutely stunning at 4K 60fps. The enhanced textures and assets really shine at this level of performance, highlighting the awesome environments and cars in a way that is reminiscent of what I loved about DC. In fact, let me just break down the similarities and differences between the two titles for those looking to compare and contrast.
Similarities between DC and NFS:HP
- Long, point-to-point races focusing on a wide variety of highway environments
- 'Sim-cade' style handling (although NFS leans slightly more toward arcade, DC more toward sim)
- A wide selection of game-contemporary (in this case 2010 and earlier) cars including some featured in DC
- Friend-based challenge integration (race against times from players on your friends list)
- Time-of-day and weather transitions during some races
- Racing-centric focus; no major plotlines or "story" to wade through beyond some light setup
Differences between DC and NFS:HP
- NFS has police chases, both as pursuer and pursued, including special equipment (roadblocks, EMPs etc)
- NFS incorporates boost (only in DC for cars with KERS)
- NFS has (light) NPC traffic vehicles
- NFS has no oval / loop tracks
- NFS lacks the dash cam options of DC (one of which was my favorite ever), and instead has the standard 3rd person, hood, and bumper cams
- Weather, lighting, and cloud systems are not as dynamic or striking as DC (although still nice)
In all, NFS:HPR feels like it takes the DNA from the original game (that I loved on 3D0), adds in the game-changing chase elements that came with the Hot Pursuit sequels (also great), and puts a dash of Burnout on top. While the police chases feel the least like Driveclub, a long time trial through the rain or a night-day transition really gives me that DC vibe, especially with how well the trackside environments are realized (one of DC's strengths).
While nothing can replace the light shining through DC's volumetric clouds, or those individual rain drops being swept aside by the wipers in a storm, NFS does about as much as another game could to evoke some of those DC vibes. 4K and 60fps makes it a sight to behold and a dream to play, and the current sale (I got it for $20 US on the NA store) made it too hard to resist. If you're missing DC, are lucky enough to have never played NFS:HP, and don't mind accommodating its slightly different take on arcade racing, then I can definitely recommend this one to you. Perhaps a proper DC successor will emerge down the line (I honestly don't think there's any way a patch comes given the state of the game), but until then, NFS will have to do, for me.
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