Need For Speed Most Wanted Review
System: 360, PC, PS-Vita, PS3, Wii U
*Note: This is the old type of review with criteria
Need for Speed Most Wanted is done by Criterion this time around, the guys who brought us Burnout. This is the second NFS game that Criterion has done, the first being NFS Hot Pursuit back in 2010. This game feels a lot like burnout, not that it’s a bad thing and it plays a lot like it too. You have the ability to take down or be taken down during races. One major difference is there seems to be no way to completely total a car although you can pop all 4 tires and have every fender and bumper hanging off. Speaking of races, there are multiple types from sprints, your classic race, to speed runs of sorts that have you trying to get a certain average speed as you cross the finish line. The latter is a testament of knowing the track and knowing your car to get it done in the fastest time with the fastest speed but you aren’t racing against anyone. On top of all these aspects the game is called “Most Wanted” considering there is a list of drivers/cars that are waiting for you to be ready to compete and race them for pink slips (you win their car but they don’t take yours). The game is a lot of fun, the cops keep things fresh and exciting, and the handling isn’t realistic but it has a good solid feel to it.
Graphically this game is pretty impressive, especially in comparison to other car racing games like that of Forza and Gran Turismo. While it looks great it still has an arcade-like approach that makes it very welcoming to any newcomer. The damage physics are very impressive considering the issues that hinder Forza and GT with the licensing issues. Again, you can’t total a car it seems but you can beat it up to make it look undriveable when it still really is. There is no cockpit view unfortunately but you do have the ability to stop at any point and control the camera to pan around your car to see it in all it’s beauty. There is also no screenshot feature like that of Forza and GT but again, this is more an arcade game then a racing sim, it’s just nice to look at though.
The menu system involved in NFSMW is probably one of the most intuitive and well thought out menus. From it you can set the destination to milestones, races, most wanted races (which are separate) etc. A nice little feature is that once you have tried a race, won or not, you can then go back to it very quickly by instead of choosing “Set Destination”, there is now a new option that is simply “Start race”. This makes things a lot less tedious and allows you to jump into races you might have lost. On top of this, the basic design is more or less open world in which you can get in and out of cars designated on the map. The interesting thing about this feature is that the races you want to compete in differ from car to car. Say that you are in a race and think your car may be too slow. When you jump into a faster car, that race is no longer there. Also, if you think you are too slow this is NFS and nitrous is there but you have to earn it as you don’t get it to start with. Overall very well done design and very sleek menu.
Each and every car sounds and feels different. The feedback from the controller is even different based on which car you have as well as what terrain you are driving on. While the cars are the main object in this game, and they sound great, it’s the radio chatter that will really impress you. The cops, once you get a wanted level, will continually talk about what you are doing, what they are planning on doing to you, and you did to them. This includes ramming or being rammed, setting up a road block and thereby getting through it, or trying to put the P.I.T. maneuver on you. A good strategy is to actually listen and pay attention to the radio chatter as it lets you know when there’s a road block, spikes up ahead, or possibly SUVs that are going to try and ram you off the road.
This game gives you a lot of reason to keep playing. First off, it is going to take awhile to become the “Most Wanted” driver as it requires money, cars, and modified cars at that which requires you to win races. This is all just the single player mode. It does in fact also have a multiplayer mode using the famous Autolog from EA through Origin. If the single player gets tedious or boring for whatever reason, then multiplayer is sure to keep you occupied for a long time. Since the game is similar to burnout you get that satisfied feeling when you know you just “took someone down”. This game has a lot of hours wanting to be put into it.
As a perk of being a Machinima partner, I received a free copy of “Need for Speed: Most Wanted” Check out their website to learn more about Machinima