Need for Speed: Most Wanted is the newest offering in a long line of hit and miss racing games. The keys have been handed over to Criterion for this instalment, and the creators of the much loved Burnout franchise are definitely on the right track.
The game features a variety of modes. You have your bog standard race from point A to B, along with some other modes that will have you competing with your friends to see who can jump the highest, or set a new high speed whilst getting snapped by a speed camera. These modes are short and sweet, which works perfectly. They serve to avoid creating any repetitiveness that would arise if the game only offered straight up racing.
That being said, if it’s racing you’re after, you won’t be disappointed. Any fan of the series will know Need for Speed isn’t about ultra-realistic racing, and things are no different here. Cars handle well, and a good balance is struck between making the car handle in a believable manner and maintaining the arcade feel of the game. The sense of speed is conveyed well, and you’ll often feel like you are one mistake away from totalling your car. It’s easy to sense that this game has taken a fair amount of inspiration from the Burnout franchise: but that’s no bad thing. Races will have you flying through the city, passing through checkpoints until you reach the finish line. However, if you miss a checkpoint you must go back and pass through it, so no cutting corners people! It’s a typical format for an open world racer, but if it isn’t broke don’t fix it right?
It would be fair to add that the game looks and sounds great. My one quibble would be that while the city looks good, it does feel somewhat lifeless. Sure, other cars will be driving around doing their own thing, but can somebody tell me where the hell all of the pedestrians are? Seriously, it’s just damn right creepy to be driving around a metropolis that seems to be completely devoid of actual human activity. This isn’t something that’s unique about Need for Speed, it’s something that’s a problem in lot’s of open world racers, and maybe it’s just me being picky, but I’d like to see this addressed.
My time with Need for Speed: Most Wanted was a lot of fun, and after the less than great – that’s me being kind - game that was Need for Speed: The Run I’m pleased to see that the franchise is getting back on track. Keep an eye on this one folks.