Super Sports Pack

 

Now I don’t subscribe to the quixotic ideal that all downloadable content should be free, especially when you consider the likes of The Ballad of Gay Tony or Point Lookout. If DLC were free, those two examples almost certainly wouldn’t exist. But there has to be a clear line drawn between horse armour and a 10-hour mini-campaign.

For all intents and purposes, the Super Sports Pack is contemporary, premium horse armour: exorbitant and pointless. Its 13 events each take place across the familiar spaghetti mess of tarmac that make up Seacrest County –no new playground ala Burnout Paradise’s Big Surf Island here – while the events are all familiar too, no shortage of hot pursuits or interceptor challenges but nothing fresh to indulge in.

Instead your £5.50 entry fee pays for a trio of new cars.

The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport is the celebrity here but there’s no hiding the truth that it’s the standard Veyron model with a firework strapped to its tail. If you found yourself underwhelmed by the meager top speed of the original Veyron (253mph) then the Super Sport – which raises the bar to 258mph – may be of service. Otherwise you’ve paid for a car you already owned.

Next up is the Gumpert Apollo. It doesn’t dream of reaching the ludicrously high speeds of the Veyron and so, despite being easier than solid gold on the eye, is fundamentally redundant. Criterion sidestep that by making it the only vehicle available in a scattering of the events, but you won’t be opting to take it out over the abundance of superior cars when you’re given free reign again. Especially if you’re racing online.

Lastly there’s the Porsche 911 GT2, RS and if that sounds more familiar than a Duke Nukem delay it’s because there are no less than 4 Porsche 911’s already in the Hot Pursuit garage. Not to deny the fact that, to the trained eye there’s probably a world of difference between the individual models, but the differences in Hot Pursuit are negligible and those fussy over the intricacies would be better off playing Gran Turismo or Forza.

The Super Sports pack survives off the back of the remarkable Autolog feature that remains the beating heart of Hot Pursuit. But by offering fragmented packs of bonus content at a premium, Criterion risks deflating it. If your friends aren’t picking up the DLC what you’re left with is a great arcade racer, but one you’ve already seen plenty of and without the astronomical replay value offered up through the Autolog.

So this is a worryingly flat first entry in the encore of DLC undoubtedly planned. There’s no doubting the quality of Need for Speed – everything here is as good as it is on disc – but it’s also identical and charging for it is uncharacteristically cynical from the developer that is renowned for offering eccentric packs of content, often without a fee.

At this point, with over 50 cars already sat gathering dust and contemplating vehicular suicide in the garage, adding more shouldn’t be a priority. Here’s hoping Criterion have something more in the vein of Big Surf Island lined up for the future.

5/10

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