Need for Speed : Most Wanted [360]

by

Review By Warren Ferguson

Give me the Need for Speed.

Need for Speed is a series of games that started as more of a simulator way back in 1994, with each iteration getting more and more towards the casual racing game fan. The games are generally about driving really fast around city streets rather then proper laid out tracks. I thought with the new one, NFS:Undercover, being released soon that I’d review an older Need for Speed title also released on the 360 to see if you can still get a bit of fun (at a decent price, of course) before the new one comes out.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted starts off with you following Mia, the lady interest in this game into Rockport City. You get to hop into a few races in your suped up BMW M3 GTR proving yourself to be an adept and skilled racer. It’s not long before you are noticed by Sergeant Cross, the local Police Department’s answer to street racers. Your early exploits also attracts the attention of a local street racing gang led by a guy named Razor. So the cops on your back and the racing gang are trying to take you down. Basically, (I’m skipping any possible spoilers here) you lose everything, including the uber BMW M3 that you start with.

With the help of Mia, you start from scratch, getting a entry level car and working your way up. You’ll learn about the blacklist which is essentially a chart of rankings of street racers who are ranked not only by the races they win, but also by how notorious they are with the cops. Naturally, our main villain, Razor is at the top of the list with your BMW M3. The aim is to work yourself up the blacklist by first earning the right to challenge a driver, then beating them. There are 15 drivers to beat.

The game itself is your typical arcade racer, you are given a taste of the later game in the beginning when they allow you to race with your BMW and then it is stripped away and you are left with the cheaper cars. There are a fair amount of decent cars to drive, from the Golf GTi (Mk5) to cars from Lamborghini, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Dodge, Lexus and a few others. There are also some modding and cutomisation options. While not as deep as what’s found in NFS:Underground 2, it at least allows you to get a fairly unique ride as well as getting some upgrades to keep you going until you can buy (or win) a better car.

There are a few new and interesting additions that made it into Most Wanted, one of the new features is crash breaker, which when pressed puts the car into a bullet time mode where everything slows down for you to react quicker then your opponent. This is particularly useful for doing a handbrake U-turn and other of the more advanced maneuvers.

A welcomed return is the cops. The police are back and this time they mean business, with a heat rating which is similar to the wanted stars in Grand Theft Auto, the higher the heat level the better the cops.
My favourite part of this game is not actually the racing, I find this too linear and get boring, what I love about this game is the pursuits you start with the cops. You can either jump into a pursuit or one can start by you speeding past a cop, or ramming into a cop/civilian car, the music changes from the EA Trax to more intense chase type music and you begin. I’ve spent a good while playing in pursuit trying to increase my Cost to State and bounty. This is done by trying to get your pursuits to last long and doing as much damage as possible.

There are also “Pursuit Breakers” spread across the city. These are specially marked obstacles that’ll delay the cops. Things like a petrol station, a donut shop sign, or scaffolding at a construction site. Crash into it and you’ll be treated to a brief cutscene of it falling down, giving you a cinematic feel.

What is also different about this NFS is the cutscenes. They are done in an odd CGI method which makes it look closer to the movie “300”. There is also a shallow, but cheesy and entertaining storyline with a definite nod to the Fast and the Furious movies.

The graphics on this are pretty decent, even by today standards. You have bloom effects coming out of tunnels, rain looks good against the windscreen, smoke, dust, leaves and various other debris blow around pretty realistically, the cars are well modeled. I did notice a bit of a frame drop though on certain races and in particular when there is a massive police pursuit happening.

Sound is also really good, you can hear your engine roar all around you, the cars following you sound realistic and in general, the other sounds are good. The soundtrack is a nice mix between some rock and hip hop and compliments the game really well.

The controls are tight, much tighter then later incarnations for some reason, cars of course do not handle anywhere realistically but it lends itself to the feel of the game. With your rear sliding out when you need to, with you drifting in and out of corners with ease, it makes you feel a bit like Paul Walker in the movie as if you can do anything.

The game itself is really fun, I’d recommend this title to a new NFS person or to someone looking for a not to serious racer and something to fill the time. Next time I am going to do a review on Carbon which had some additions and some removals.

Verdict: 3 stars
I am going to give this game a solid 3 out of 5, there are some issues but at the current pricing, you’ll definitely get your moneys worth.

Release Date: 2 December 2005

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45 Responses to “Need for Speed : Most Wanted [360]”

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    Nice review. I Never played this one, but Pro street Sakkie de kocked.

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    what acar man i like it very much this car comes in my dreem.

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