Ok, but bashing racers as the cops has to be fun, right? Again, not really. There are so many inconsistencies in place to devour, digest, and crap out any fun you might have had with this mode. For one, if you're rubbing fenders with a law-breaker, the only way to damage his car is to ram it from behind. Seriously. I T-boned a car into a guard rail and he took no damage. I shoved a driver head-on into a concrete median wall, bringing him to a clattering dead stop, debris flying everywhere, yet he took no damage. Unbelievable.
So you have to fall back on your equipment, which is a crap shoot at best. Helicopters drop spike strips in front of other racers, but the timing on it is wildly unpredictable, and if a racer enters a tunnel at the right time, the chopper will peel off entirely, doing you no good. Roadblocks pose no threat as anyone can wiggle through or around them on the shoulder. Hell, there's even a trophy for getting around a roadblock without touching it, one I acquired on my first try doing it. EMP is fairly reliable, if you can maintain a lock on the target car for what seems like forever to deploy the pulse that ultimately causes him a little damage, but doesn't actually slow him down or affect his handling like you might expect. Or like how it shut down another driver's car entirely, disabled his steering, and so on in Midnight Club: Los Angeles, a far superior game in every conceivable way (except that they never let you actually play as cops). You do have the power to drop spike strips yourself, right behind your car, and the game's "tips" suggest you wait until the target driver is really close to ensure he doesn't have time to swerve. I tried this with someone riding my bumper, then again a few feet ahead of him, and again a couple car lengths ahead....he had to be a bit further back than that to actually hit the damn thing. Every other time, it deployed behind him somehow, wasting my reserves of that item and making the game's "tips" look incompetent.
The cars handle like ass, playing as the cops us clumsy, uncoordinated, and unreliable, so what about the open-world aspects? They simply don't exist other than the fact that you can drive around in an elaborate rural circle, one that lacks any luster, environmental flair, or really anything to make it memorable. It's about as "open world" as a rail shooter like Time Crisis. There are day, night, and weather effects, but those are determined for you automatically. HP2 let you pick between two different types of conditions, and HP1 let you pick any combination of day, night, rain, fog, and even snow on some tracks, in conjunction with mirrored and reversed (or both) tracks. The lesson here is that we're losing features as we move forward, not gaining them. Anyway, so you pick a spot to start free roaming based on some race location, and start roaming. There is no North indicator on the mini-map, you cannot access the main map without exiting free roam entirely and dumping back to the main Autolog screen (preceded by one of many loading screens you'll see more of than you'd like), and there's nothing else to indicate where the hell you are on the map.