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Is there free ride in NFS Hot Pursuit?

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit is widely considered one of the best arcade racing games in the long-running Need for Speed franchise, known for its intense cops vs racers gameplay and adrenaline-fueled police chases across expansive open highways. A common question asked by both newcomers and long-time fans is whether Hot Pursuit contains a free roam mode that allows you to explore its open world setting without the constraints of events and missions.

Overview of Free Roam in Hot Pursuit

While the fictional map of Seacrest County in Hot Pursuit is not a fully persistent open world like later Need for Speed titles, the game does contain a free roam mode accessible from the main menu. This allows both cops and racers to drive around the open highways and environments without any active objectives.

  • You can enter free roam at any time to test cars, explore the world, and experience the game‘s mechanics outside of structured events.
  • There are no missions, races, or police chases available during free roam – it is purely for cruising and experimentation.
  • The world is focused on expansive highways and scenic coastal routes rather than a dense urban city environment.
  • You can switch between cop and racer at any time from the pause menu while in free roam.

So in summary, Hot Pursuit‘s free roam acts like a sandbox allowing you to drive around Seacrest County at your own pace to enjoy its scenery and test drive vehicles. It provides a more relaxed experience outside of the high-octane races and cop chases in the career mode.

Exploring the Highways and Environments

As mentioned above, Hot Pursuit diverges from the street racing focused cities of previous Need for Speed games by providing an open world based on highways, mountain passes, and scenic coastal routes.

The setting of Seacrest County features varied environments to discover during free roam including:

  • Sweeping highways lined with lush vegetation and rocky outcrops
  • Coastal drives along the Pacific Ocean with winding roads and cliffs
  • Desert canyons and dirt tracks as you drive inland
  • Mountain ranges, forests, and farmland dotted with barns and crops
  • Industrial zones with factories, cargo yards, and power plants

Driving around the open world allows you to take in vistas and scenery you might miss during the high speed, intense races and police chases. You can find cool areas to take screenshots or just relax and cruise through the environments.

Experience Gameplay Outside of Events

Free roam is a great way to experience Hot Pursuit‘s driving mechanics and police tools outside of structured races and missions:

  • Test drive cars – Take any unlocked vehicle for a spin to see how it handles and sounds before using it in an event. Push it to its limits on long straights or winding canyon roads.
  • Learn tracks – Drive around closed circuit races like Grand Tour tracks to get familiar with their layouts.
  • Practice pursuits – If you‘re struggling with a cop career event, jump into free roam as a cop to practice using spike strips, EMPs, ramming etc.
  • Explore cop tools – You have access to the full range of cop equipment during free roam like helicopters, road blocks, and radars.
  • Take screenshots – Stage cool photos of your car in picturesque locations without the UI and pressure of events.

So free roam is the perfect testing ground to hone your skills before tackling those tough events or career milestones.

How Long Does Free Roam Last?

Free roam in Hot Pursuit is an open-ended experience allowing you to drive around for as long as you want. There are no events or objectives to complete, so it‘s purely focused on exploration.

Some key notes on free roam duration:

  • The open world map is reasonably sized but not massive – you can drive across the whole map in a few minutes at high speed.
  • There are no random events, AI traffic, or missions to add variety.
  • You may eventually get bored without activities beyond exploring and driving around.
  • Free roam is intended as a supplemental mode to the main career – where the meat of the gameplay exists.

Overall, free roam provides a great change of pace from structured events for those looking to explore the environments or test cars. But the lack of activities gives it a finite lifespan before the experience starts feeling repetitive. It shines best as a periodic palate cleanser between career events rather than a perpetual experience.


While not a bustling persistent open world, the inclusion of free roam gives Hot Pursuit great sandbox appeal outside its adrenaline-filled career mode. You can cruise the scenic highways of Seacrest County, test drive cars, learn tracks, and just enjoy driving for driving‘s sake. It allows you to experience the strengths of Hot Pursuit‘s mechanics and world without the pressure of events. Just don‘t expect infinite gameplay – treat free roam as a supplemental mode to the main career and you‘ll have a blast.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.