I have a real issue with this review, because it seems like the reviewer doesn't know the NFS franchise well enough to be accurate.
"Though it bears the name of the long running franchise, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit isn't like any other game in the series."
Oh, really? How about NFS 3: Hot Pursuit (1998), NFS 4: High Stakes (1999), or NFS 6: Hot Pursuit 2 (2002)? The series didn't start with Underground!
"There are a few quirks though, like a bit of slowdown when the online action gets too hectic..."
Funny, I didn't have any issues with slowdowns, even while recording with Fraps in an online match.
" There's no story here, and while that may please some, I did find myself questioning why I was going on at certain points. Yes, it's cool to upgrade your car, but there's really no real motivation to go on during the game's second act."
Seriously? It's a RACING game! That's the point of it! If you want to drive around with some dumb story to "motivate" you, play GTA or Saints Row. Need for Speed is supposed to be about fast, beautiful exotics being driven the way they were intended to be by the people who made them. Keep the lame stories and upgrades/mods OUT of the series. McLaren F1s don't need body kits, and I don't like being forced to progress through a Hollywood throw-away script when all I want to do is drive like a bat out of Hell.
In the future, when reviewing a Need for Speed game, please get a reviewer who was around for the original series and knows what they're talking about. This game is a return to the REAL Need for Speed roots, and it's about time. NFS 7 (Underground) through NFS 12 (Undercover) were a disgrace to the franchise. Shift was nice, but it lacked the real NFS feel. Criterion's got the right idea with this game, and they need to keep going in this direction with the series.