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10. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
The next few years were not kind to the series, with a number of missteps into niche gameplay that nearly derailed the series. Last year’s Shift was a surprising but enjoyable step into detailed simulation, but it still wasn’t enough to buoy the flagging franchise.
EA was wise to hand the franchise over to the folks at Criterion, famous for the high-adrenaline Burnout series, and they have risen to the occasion, infusing the series with a long-lost sense of over-the-top arcade racing action that harkens back to the series’ golden years.
While lacking any semblance of a storyline, NFS: HP throws you right into a series of challenging race and pursuit scenarios, pitting you as either a street racer or a cop, outfitted with the latest in racing technology. Events have you outrunning cops while deploying traps and EMPs like a classic cart racer. Or, you’re on the other end, racing to join a pursuit in progress, or even better, taking on the racers yourself in frenzied paint-trading that recalls the best of what Burnout has to offer.
Add to this the innovative Autowall, which tracks your achievements against other racers and lets you immediately drop into contested challenges, and you have not just the best racing game of the year, but perhaps the best of the current generation