Pursuits can be triggered in both Freedrive mode and in race events after committing a traffic offence in the sight of an FCPD Traffic Patrol Unit. Upon engaging a pursuit, players will be constantly chased by the police, who will communicate with each other by using radio codes.
Each pursuit is rated by a heat level system. Heat levels are dependent on the length of the pursuit and the actions of the player. The lowest heat level sees the use of few Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor units, whilst higher levels feature more durable vehicles, more police units, and more aggressive police tactics.
To end a police chase, players must escape from their visibility zone, which is marked on the minimap as a large circle by outrunning or immobilising them.
During a pursuit, if the player's car crashes and does not land flat on a surface, the player will respawn a couple of yards from the site of the crash. Players will not be able to jump to a car at a different location during pursuits.
The player will enter cooldown upon losing visual contact with the police. The player will have to remain in cooldown until their heat level reaches 0. The amount of time required to reach heat level 0 is highlighted by the player's heat level meter.
The player will re-enter the pursuit if they are sighted by a police unit or a police unit enters the pursuit circle on the mini map. They will be re-engaged at the heat level highlighted by their heat level meter.
The player will be busted if their busted meter is filled. This meter will begin to fill if the player is stationary and has police units near their vehicle. Players will be respawned in the Jack Spot of their vehicle and lose all of the Speed Points they have accumulated during the pursuit.
Players are rewarded Speed Points for police vehicle slams, hitting traffic, takedowns, reaching the next heat level, and evasive manoeuvres.
There are several methods to evading a pursuit;
- Most police vehicles are limited in their off-road capabilities and will not perform as well as they can on road.
- Police vehicles are more likely to flip over during a large jump.
- Police vehicles in front of the player will attempt to stop them or deploy a spike strip.
- Re-inflating Tyres will self-inflate when popped by a spike strip.
- Body Shops are capable of re-inflating tyres.
- Body Shops will alter a vehicle's paint colour and will reduce a player's heat level.
- Jacking a car will reduce the player's heat level.
- Driving along an non-highlighted map route will increase the cooldown rate.
- Turning off the engine while hiding from the cops greatly increases the cooldown rate.
- Players must escape a pursuit within a set time in Ambush events.
- The Pursuit mode in Most Wanted (2012) is heavily based on the Pursuit system of the original Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
- Police vehicles are marked as blue chevrons on the minimap.
- Police vehicles are capable of taking down the player.
- The rear of a police vehicle is lighter than the front.
- Heavy vehicles can withstand higher speed collisions but lighter vehicles have greater high speed control.
- The Reinforced Chassis and Impact Protection mods can be combined to significantly increase the durability of any vehicle.