Scratches that Nostalgic Itch Quite Well!
One aspect of the game that will be hammered over your head many times is EA/Criterion's new "Autolog" system. This system is sort of like Facebook, but for online racing games. Every little aspect of the game that you play can pretty much be posted on your "wall" (yes, another Facebook reference). From there, you can see what your friends race times our, etc. and can then go as far as to challenge them, or see if you can beat their own time. This is a great feature that definitely appears to add a lot of longevity to the game. Another aspect of the Autolog, is the ability to take in game photos and also post these to your wall. The photo ability really a neat feature that is included, even if you don't use it too often.
As far as gameplay goes, Criterion hit the nail on the head with this one as well. I have not played any of the Burnout games, so I can not say that I know how those cars handle. However, Hot Pursuit gives the vehicles a nice weight to them which makes drifting around corners at high speeds very entertaining. I was pretty impressed with the handling itself. It does a nice job for an arcade style racer.
The game itself is simply broken into the "racer" career and the "cop" career, both of which can be done interchangeably as you work up through different ranks. The racer modes entail various races which have you driving against other cars and trying to escape the police. The A.I. also does a good job giving you a run for your money. In turn, as a copy, you have the ability to try and bring these racers down. Races include one on one's against another racer, trying to bring down a group of racers, and also sort of a "response" call where the scanner tells you a chase is in progress, and it's up to you to get there as fast as you can to assist. This mode is most similar to a point to point style race where you are alone and racing against the clock. As I mentioned, both modes have ranking systems in which you unlock new cars, different "perks" for your cars. As a racer, you will get things like boost, spike trips, and emp's. The same goes for cops, but you'll also get the ability to call in road blocks and helicopters.
The last part I want to touch on is the multiplayer. Simply put, this is a lot of fun to play with friends! Simply get into a race wit ha friend and the game will take it from there. The game itself will configure who is a racer and who is a cop based on driving abilities and other rankings. It makes for a lot of fun. You can also meet with a friend to simply race one on one if you wish. There is a lot that is offered here, and I don't think I'll be getting tired of it anytime soon.
Overall, if you're looking for a fun racing game that does a great job of simply implementing fun, then look no further. You really can't ask for more. Between the varying cars, upgrades, and abilities, Hot Pursuit really brings it's "A" game. I can't find too many faults with the game. Perhaps the Autolog could be implemented a bit better. It can get a bit convoluted when looking through all the various times that have been posted by friends. However, other then that, if you enjoy racing games and want to have a good time...then do yourself a favor and pick this game up.