Need for Speed: Most Wanted Review

  • Posted November 7th, 2012 at 16:49 EDT by Adam Dolge

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Need for Speed: Most Wanted

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Need for Speed: Most Wanted begs you to play it, to explore Fairhaven, to take your skills online, and to become the best racer in this open-world setting. It's a perfect addition to the franchise and keeps you strictly focused on driving and competing.

We like

  • Great open-world city to explore
  • Intense, fun gameplay
  • Always focused on driving without the fluff

We dislike

  • Mediocre police pursuits
  • Limited events for each car
  • Some confusion for online play

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

(continued from previous page) ...attention of the police. While they can offer a challenge when using weaker cars, the police aren't all that robust. Their tools are essentially limited to road blocks and spike strips, so if you have the right car for the job, you won't run into too much trouble. If you do get busted, it's important to note that not much will happen. Your events for each car are also not terribly unique, consisting of straight races, police pursuits, and trails to keep your speed as high as possible.

Events with buddies online feel far more rewarding. Someone can setup a Speedlist, which serves as a series of five events. There's an option to keep it random, too. Some of the most fun are takedown events, team races, and drift challenges. Less successful are the random objective missions, like jumping the furthest. Objectives aren't always clear and can sometimes be a bit tedious. In fact, all events can be a bit confusing because you don't get a lot of time to see what your objectives are or what challenges you face. You have to drive to each event and all players have to be present to get it started. However, you don't have to be facing the right way, which can lead to some funny starts as newcomers take off in the wrong direction. The sheer value of the social side of Most Wanted should be noted as well. With Autolog returning and tracking everything you do, there is tremendous opportunities to fight for bragging rights and tame the city's best. 

The strengths of Most Wanted are also some of its shortcomings. For example, the fact each car is only associated with a handful of events means you won't have reasons to keep your favorite ride along for long. Sure, you can take it online, but in the single player mode, it feels more about finding and conquering each car's events instead of perfecting your favorite ride. In addition, what Criterion has done so well in the past in regards to the cat and mouse game of cops vs racers feels lost in Most Wanted. There's a simple reason for that: You never play as a cop. Still, the overall experience is quite rich.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted gets so many things right that it's easy to overlook some of its small flaws. Relatively bland cop pursuits, limited events for each car, and some confusion online are certainly no reason to not pick up Most Wanted. It's a game that begs you to play it from the minute you boot it up, and it never forces you to stop and take a break while it stumbles through a story or even the task of unlocking that perfect car--it's available practically from the start. This is a welcome addition to the Need for Speed series and a step in the right direction for open-world arcade-style racers.

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