It feels like a new driving simulator comes out every week these days. My Mad Catz Wireless wheel has never been so busy and now we have the latest offering form EA and Criterion, Need for speed: Most wanted which believe it or not is the nineteenth title in the long running series.
Is it any good? Well let’s find out...
Need for speed: Most wanted is similar gameplay wise to the original Most wanted released back in 2005 and it involves players selecting a car (of which there are plenty) and competing against other drivers.
Simple eh? Well you would think so that is until the cops get involved, which makes for more carnage on the roads.
As most fans of racing sims will know Criterion are also responsible for classic games like Burnout and Burnout paradise and this game is very similar, with the usual array of takedowns, spectacular crashes and beautifully rendered open world environments.
It looks like paradise and performs like it yet doesn`t quite fill its shoes.
This doesn`t take it away from this game, though as it has its own charm, and is one of the craziest driving sims out there, especially when the cops are after you.
All you have to do is be seen speeding. Have too many crashes or illegal incidents and all hell breaks loose. You then have to outrun the police, avoid road blocks and police vehicles trying to ram you off the road.
The game itself is now set in the city of Fairhaven and your objective is to work your way up the street racer hierarchy to take on the ten most wanted racers and become the most wanted driver in town, with plenty of destructible environments such as billboards and fences, the driving can get pretty manic, and of course there are plenty of garages dotted around so you can get an instant car fix (similar to paradise).
Upgrades are accessible after each race and can be used to customise your car, talking of which there are a wide range of 41 different vehicles scattered around the place, all you have to do is find them and get in them, the car is then added to your garage which is accessible via the Easy drive.
It’s here you can find menus for customising and upgrading and the autolog gives players updated information and recommendations.
Need for speed: Most wanted is a little more sophisticated than Burnout paradise, perhaps not quite a simulator, yet not an arcade racer either, more like its slightly middle class yet a little unhinged cousin.
The thing that does it for me with this game is the graphics, the city and surrounding area is beautifully created and adds certain amount of realism to the manic car chases.
I loved the wet look roads with spray flying everywhere as you try to overtake your opponent, your vision momentarily obscured as you plough into the wall with spectacular results, or the blinding sun hitting you as your car speeds out of a tunnel at 150mph with the police hot on your trail mud flying everywhere when your forced to go off-road.
Accessibility is the main theme for this game; all the cars are there, you just have to find them, there are no endless loading screens or boring cut scenes, it’s all about getting stuck in without any time wasting.
Need for speed: Most wanted is all about having fun and it delivers it with spades. It doesn`t pretend to be a realistic driving simulator or an arcade racing game, it`s all about tearing it up and enjoying the experience, which is a great stepping stone for newbies who want to race but don`t like getting bogged down with sophisticated menus and realistic driving mechanics.
Need for speed: Most wanted is not the best driving game out there, yet it is one of the best all out fun games available.
Need for speed: Most wanted
Publishers: EA Games
Release Date: 2nd November 2012