Review: Need For Speed: Most Wanted (PS3)

Mike Wheeler

Need For Speed: Most Wanted is a sequel of sorts, and does carry the same basic narrative of besting the champions of your fictional city in races to nab their cars and win respect and all the rest.

Mike Wheeler

Need For Speed: Most Wanted is a sequel of sorts, and does carry the same basic narrative of besting the champions of your fictional city in races to nab their cars and win respect and all the rest.

It’s set in an open world that is filled to the brim with secrets, achievements and unlockables. Criterion’s previous effort, Burnout Paradise, had these in spades with Drive Thru Billboards, Security Gates and speed records in certain stretches of road. Criterion could almost sue itself over intellectual property issues such is the similarity of aspects of the game. Need For Speed Most Wanted has an almost identical set in Drive Thru Billboards, Security Gates and speed cameras clocking speed records. Beat one of the 10 most wanted? You then have to chase down his car and run him off the road to take it, just like Burnout Paradise. If you think this is a complaint, it’s not. Burnout remains one of my favourite racers for three alliteratively simple reasons, it’s “Fast”, “Furious” & “Fun”.

NFS: MW has just as much fun and manic speed as the Burnout games. The graphics in this game have been taken up a notch or two and the attention to detail is superb. You can pick up a licensed “real” car like a Subaru Cosworth Imprezza or drive off in a Alpha Romeo Concept (your first most wanted rival) or any one of the many cars littering the city. There is an issue here though as NFS has traditionally worked on upgrading and modding your car to progress. Now every time you ditch a car the new one has to be upgraded from the get go. This can make car swapping laborious and make races go up and down in terms of speed.

Racing and handling are arcade style and realism does not enter into it. Some of the controls are a bit twitchy and it took me a little while to compensate. There’s a lot going on and with the chopping and changing of cars (and the almost seizure-inducing flashes of speed cameras in your face), it can be overwhelming and massively unfocussed. Add in the police chases that seem to be thrown in haphazardly and interfere (hilariously) in Most Wanted showdowns and it gets hard to know what the designers were thinking.

There are many issues to pick on in NFS: Most Wanted, but to be honest I will forgive them all because it’s a barrel full of fun and high-speed mayhem. Every bad handling corner that totals my car, I dust myself off from and hit the gas again, and it’s just that much fun that the negative aspects are easily ignored.

Pros: Fun, Fast and Furious, loads to see and do, excellent graphics and superb cars, drive anything you want, feels like Burnout redone
Cons: Twitchy controls, confusing narrative, too much going on at once, free choice of cars has issues.

4.2 Shacks Out Of 5

 

 

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