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Need for Speed: Most Wanted hands-on showcases dirty dodgem car tactics

At Gamescom, Criterion Games showcased the diversity of Need for Speed: Most Wanted’s gameplay by enrolling us in a fast-paced multiplayer session that frequently turned into an aggressive dodgem-style battle between our opponents.

Criterion was quick to stress the freedom of exploring the open game world of Most Wanted which players can roam freely at their own pace and explore, or pick and choose from a variety of events. This multiplayer session, however, displayed how intense some of the multiplayer battles will be and the lengths that drivers will go to in order to ensure they come out on top.

The first mode we played was a straight-forward race throughout the city, following a set path and series of check points. The aim was to simply to win the race through any means necessary, and most of the racers determined that their best way to do this was by engaging in a dodgem style battle to cause other racers to career off track. Tactically there was a lot to think about than just racing at break-neck speeds. Nitro boost had to be used strategically as did the timing of when to smash a car off-road. It was an exciting race, cars handed well and drifted with style, while the unpredictability of the other racers ensured it was exciting right up until the finish line.

The second mode, an elimination race, saw us driving furiously down a straight stretch of road and through a tunnel, back and forth. This was all about speed and trying to beat the other drivers to the finish line so not to be eliminated. The tunnel proved to be the place for dirty tactics as drivers turned on each other to smash opponents into the walls. Once again it showcased the competitiveness of the multiplayer arena and turned out to be a fun and exciting battle.

The third mode saw all players competing against each other against the clock for the highest drifting score. We were confined to a relatively small area, where once again other cars could ruin your drift by smashing into you. So it wasn’t just about how well you can drift, it was also about staying out the way of other drivers intent on taking you out. One of the most fun and intense modes was where we had to jump over a ramp and try and get the longest distance. All players teamed together and were challenged with achieving a certain amount of yards before the clock ran down. This was the first mode we played where everyone really wanted to work together; however, because there were two ramps opposite each other crashing in mid-flight was inevitable, making it an exciting challenge that we only manage to beat in the final few seconds.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is set to off many other game modes that give players more options than they’ve ever had in an NFS game before. Our multiplayer session was fun and entertaining, but also intensely competitive and tactically challenging.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is scheduled for release on PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, PC and Xbox 360 on October 30, 2012.