Need for Speed: Most Wanted User Review
Criterion Games rose to popularity for creating the hugely successful Burnout games, which ended with Burnout Paradise in 2008. Criterion then went on to develop their first NFS title, Hot Pursuit, which was critically acclaimed and more importantly, fun to play.
The premise behind NFS: Most Wanted is this: In Fairhaven City, there are 10 drivers who are the "Most Wanted". Take them down, get their car. The goal: Become the most wanted driver in Fairhaven City.
Okay, so the story's lame, but you didn't really that much of one in Hot Pursuit either. That's not really important to racing fans, as one look at NFS: The Run's reviews will tell you. What DOES matter are the cars, how they drive, available modes, upgrading possibilities, and multiplayer.
It's a little tough to pin down the driving controls. We're not talking Gran Turismo level of difficulty, but it's also not as easy as Hot Pursuit. Think of the controls in Ridge Racer Unbounded, but MUCH less touchy, and you're getting there. If you're familiar and have played the NFS series, you'll be right at home.
As for the cars, there’s no more going through ranks 1-20 to unlock. Every car in the game is available at the start. Now the danger of this, of course, is that you'll find one you fall in love with and really have no need/desire to find all the rest. Why would you bother with the Delta Lancia when you can drive/upgrade a Porsche, for example? All you have to do is look for the cars with their emblems floating above them, get in, and it’s yours. It's definitely a step in the right direction from what a "typical" racing game would force you to do (Looking at you, Gran Turismo). The cars themselves are modeled beautifully in-game, and have a stunning level of detail put into them, from the humble Ford Focus to the monstrous Bugatti Veyron SS.
Each car gives you the ability to upgrade them. This is done by earning Speed Points, which you pretty much earn doing anything in the game, like smashing billboards, evading the cops, beating your friends’ records, etc. Unfortunately, the upgrade system is very weak. Every car has the same upgradeable components and the same upgrades. The only thing different about them is that each car has an entirely different set of objectives to unlock these upgrades, which are actually won by placing in 1st or 2nd in the challenge. Upgrades range from Off-Road Tires to Aerodynamic Chassis to Nitrous-Boosted Engines. Depending on the car you’re driving, these could be a huge help in future races, or a slight boost on the road.
The single player campaign is really nothing special. Your objective is to take down all 10 drivers on the Most Wanted list, and to do this you have to accumulate points after each respective takedown. I managed to beat all 10 the day I got the game. However, single-player is not what this game was shooting for…
Multiplayer in Most Wanted has improved over previous games. The Autolog system returns, and heavily updated. Not only does Autolog incorporate ALL your past Autolog stats from previous games into Most Wanted, every action performed in-game is now recorded into your Profile, including single-player actions. You’ll see Autolog bubbles all over Fairhaven with your friends’ usernames, displaying their record for that particular event, be it a cop chase, top speed, or their best time trial run. You can,in turn, beat their record at whatever event you please and it will then show up on their game later. This can go on as long as you and your friends have the need…
…the need for speed.
Verdict: Terrible puns aside, Most Wanted takes its place among the racing giants on the PS3, as it truly is one of the most fun, enjoyable, and addictive games you can buy. There is an incredible amount of depth and layers in this game just itching to be discovered.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.