Posted by Female Gamers on Jan 19, 2010
Need for Speed: Most Wanted – Review

Need for Speed: Most Wanted – Review

Post Rating

Need for Speed: Most Wanted opens with your faceless, nameless central character—and a frighteningly powerful BMW—making an immediate impact on the illegal street-racing scene. However, when battling against Razor, the existing racing champion who’s a twisted and evil character of disrepute, your ride suddenly suffers an ill-timed bout of sabotage. The result? Your superior BMW is subsequently lost to Razor, much to the glee of his driving clan, and you’re left only with the sympathy of the beautiful Mia, a female racer who’s also somewhat new to the scene. Mia knows a few people who know a few people, and pretty soon you’ve secured a fresh ride—though certainly nothing to challenge Razor with. Mia suspects Razor and his crew of foul play and pledges to help you in climbing the street-racing ‘Black List’ and also in getting your precious BMW back. Can you successfully scale the racing ranks? Can you hone a car strong enough to topple your very own BMW? Will police attentions bust you before making the grade? And does the mysteriously helpful Mia have shadowed ulterior motives?

More than anything, Most Wanted is immediate fun. The sense of tarmac-tearing speed is extremely well implemented, as are the varied car models, city environments, rival and police A.I., and slowly unfolding plotline. Car control is instantly accessible, yet always varied enough in execution and subtlety to require increments of acclimatisation from the player. And customization for each successive vehicle gathered in your garage always offers something noticeable in terms of performance enhancement, be that gear ratios, spoiler down-force, brake bias, or nitrous turbo. Of course, the game’s sense of individuality is also expansive through complete paintwork alteration, decals, body kits, rims, and tune-ups. Your rubber-marked road to the top of the Black List is never in danger of suffering a blow out to boredom, and the action grows progressively more frantic as your police profile swells alongside your racing reputation.

Exacting revenge on Razor isn’t an easy task, and not just anyone can challenge for the coveted top spot. Swallowing pride and racing from the ground up is your only option. Starting with a cheaply acquired standard factory car model, you must seek out and defeat the 14 other members of the Black List before toppling Razor himself. However, each Black List racer will refuse to face you until your reputation has gathered sufficient momentum. This means competing in various arbitrary events throughout the city to expand race winnings and reputation, as well as initiating and enduring lengthy police pursuits to boost your bounty level. The races include standard ‘first past the post’ sprints and circuits, ‘speed camera’ sprints where accumulated captured speeds ultimately win, and ‘drag’ races where perfect gear shifting and minimal car damage are both vital.

Once you’ve gathered enough reputation, cash, and bounty to face a Black List racer, you compete across two race events and, once you’ve conquered them both, you move up on the List and are also able to choose two ‘markers’ from the defeated racer. These markers represent tune-up and performance bonuses, as well as get-out-of-jail cards, cash, and the pink slip ownership papers of the car you’ve just beaten. However, the marker identities are hidden so what you get is largely down to chance. Ironically, attaining the car of your opponent usually reveals a vastly superior ride to the one used to beat them—which doesn’t really make much sense. That said, Black List cars are the quickest way to Razor, so continuity complaints can certainly be held back in favor of progression. Of course, you can opt to purchase a better car from the city showrooms and nurture it lovingly into a racing monster. Hard-fought cash and customization, or Black List bounty, either way Razor’s days are numbered.

Presentation is slick throughout, both graphically and aurally, and the street racing slams along at a thrillingly constant frame rate. All the included car models are accurately re-created, and everything from the bog standard Volkswagen Golf to the Lamborghini Murciélago exude a loving authenticity while begging to be customised. The overtly rock, rap, and dance soundtrack is oddly befitting the general feel of the game and actually serves to increase heart rate rather than stunt it. Speaking of stunts, correctly timed impacts against peripheral environment details such as highway poll stations and police road blocks will invoke satisfyingly slow motion cut scenes as your ride ploughs on relentlessly. You’ll also want to look out for ‘speed breakers’ while being pursued by the police. These exist as interaction icons by gas stations, roadside restaurants, water towers, etc., that cause destruction when driven through and temporarily divert police attention while you seek a place to hide out and cool off.

Girl gamers can enjoy Need for Speed: Most Wanted just as much as the boys, especially as the main protagonist remains largely ambiguous sexually, apart from when busted and he’s then bodily revealed via cut sequences. However, though the obvious sexual allure of Mia is used throughout the game, the vast majority of its characters are muscle bound bad-boys. So, a little something for everyone really. Unfortunately deaf gamers are not granted subtitles during the brief live-action sequences, but they can still follow events via text-based phone messages, and Black List racer and car model explanations that always hold true to the game’s core narrative. Beyond the central story/career mode, Most Wanted also offers an event-based Challenge Series mode and a Quick Race feature for those players with time issues but the taste for swift speed. All in all, it’s a quality package.

With its car-bound, GTA-inspired storyline and enjoyably frenetic gameplay, Need for Speed: Most Wanted flows with a smooth simplicity. The opportunity to gather an evolving garage of super cars, while hurtling your way to the top of the infamous street-racing ‘Black List’ is always appealing. Combine this with the fabulously involving police pursuits, many race variations, car customization, convincing live-action plot moments, and an admirably impressive visual flare, and you get a thoroughly decent game from start to finish. When you absolutely have to appease the growing need for speed, EA’s latest series offering should be your most wanted fix.

Review by Stevie

Post a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *