Game Review: Need for Speed: Most Wanted [Xbox 360/PS3/PC/Vita]
Criterion has done it again, setting a new standard for arcade-style racing games which won’t be outperformed until the next generation of consoles. Facing competition from Forza Horizon this month, is there space for two great racers? Need For Speed: Most Wanted is a great game which delivers raucous entertainment.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted takes on the gameplay style of its first instalment from 2005, in which the police deploy vehicles and tactics to stop and arrest the player during high speed races. Utilising a similar Blacklist feature, you have to work your way through ten rivals during the single player.
The game uses the Autolog function, the ‘competition-between-friends’ system developed by Criterion for Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and since used in other titles in the Need for Speed series. Autolog in Most Wanted plays a larger role and gives more information to players. Activities in-game allow you to earn Speed Points which can boost you up on the Most Wanted list. Autolog recommendations have now been integrated into the game world, rather than sitting externally on the menu system.
For the first time in Need for Speed‘s history all of the game’s cars (minus the Most Wanted cars) are unlocked from the start of the game and can be found through Jack Spots. They’re easy enough to spot; you’ll see the manufacturer’s badge above the car, its headlights will be on, and music can be heard from the stereo. There are 123 Jack Spots in all, with 93 left for you to find for yourself. Any you’ve previously found will be marked on the map by a steering wheel icon. In my opinion, this is a fantastic way of playing the game, open, free, and wild, with a vast range to drive from a mix of muscle cars, street racers and exotics.
Everything in Most Wanted is geared towards encouraging you to explore the city of Fairhaven, which is full of places where you can drift, sprint, drag. You name it and the city will have space for you to roam around in its grimy places, picturesque in others, to its beautiful motorways speeding through, in and out of the city.
Going into ‘Multiplayer’, you have the chance to Free Roam with a friend or amongst the community, competitors take each other on in a series of loosely connected events that involve anything from racing to police evasion to scoring the highest at a particular speedtrap or create a playlist of challenges that you wish you do and see who’s the best out of them.
EA has introduced a new ‘CloudCompete’ system, your SpeedPoints ranking on one platform automatically carries over to another platform. The cars and upgrades you’ve earned won’t transfer, but your SpeedPoints milestones will. For instance, if you play five hours on your Xbox 360 and unlock Most Wanted races, the first time you fire up the game on your PS3 or Vita, those races will also be unlocked. On the multiplayer side, your SpeedPoints ranking determines what you’ve unlocked, your multiplayer unlocks carries over.
The cars can be altered with visual and performance upgrades, such as paint colors, re-inflatable tyres, suspension, engine, nitrous, and body work that enables players to crash through roadblocks. A feature called EasyDrive enables players to customize their vehicles while in action which is very handy so you wouldn’t have to travel if you want to race.
In conclusion, Need for Speed: Most Wanted has surprised me with a great deal of improvements, though the storyline doesn’t seem to live up to its predecessor but it has given us the chance to play around the with the muscle cars right through to the luxury. Free roaming online with friends and a chance to show off your skills to the community. The joy of discovery and the plain pleasure of driving, this game is Most Wanted.