Overall User Average: 9.03 / 10 (90.7%)
Gameplay User Average: 9.16 / 10
Graphics User Average: 8.75 / 10
Sound User Average: 9.18 / 10
Date reviewed: November 9, 2007.
Take the underground street car modding culture and open free roaming city from Need For Speed Underground 2, mix in the high tension and fast paced police chases from Need For Speed Hot Pursuit, add a whole lot of speed and attitude with an onslaught of more than 30 way too fast vehicles and you have yourself the newest EA addition to the long running series: Need For Speed Most Wanted; and it doesn’t disappoint.
Surprisingly Most Wanted boasts quite an impressive career mode that doesn’t tire easily and has you wanting to keep moving up the ranks of the Blacklist to extract your revenge, more-so than the fame and bragging rights of just being the best street racer in the city.
You arrive in Rockport with your BMW that has been customized and tweaked way too fast for your own good. You are greeted with some street racers and leave them in your dust quite easily with your overpowering car and way too much nitrous that shouldn’t (and probably isn’t) legal. Eventually a local cop who obviously thinks he knows better pulls you over and gets ready to arrest you while explaining how he owns the streets. While you are about to hand over the keys to your prized possession, he gets an announcement on his radio of a pack of racers causing havoc and is forced to head off after them, letting you go with a stern warning to leave. Of course he keys the side of your car as he walks away, making you cringe to the sound of it, just to make you spite his evilness that much more. You then meet up with the local racers and are introduced to Mia, who seems to want to help you and warns you about the crowd here in Rockport and to be careful. The apparent leader of the group; Razor, explains that if you want to race against a Blacklist racer, you have to earn it and put the pink slip to your ride on the line, which is why no one is stupid enough to do it. You give your pink slip to Mia, so does Razor, and the race is on after a few cheesy lines about him boasting to stealing your ride, then your girl.
Things are going your way during the race and then you get a call from Mia telling you something must be wrong with your car, since you left a lot of oil back at the starting line and if the race isn’t finished quickly, you are going to lose. As fate would have it, your engine blows and you lose the race very abruptly. Razor tows away your ride, and the cops come to arrest you for your wreckless driving.
You find out that Razor had his lackeys sabotage your car before the race, and that he tipped off the cops to get your car and you in jail. To make matters even worse, he has gone from #15 on the Blacklist to the #1 spot, in your car! This is where the career mode begins as you work your way up the blacklist to challenge Razor to obtain your revenge and win your car back. Now that you have no car and very limited money, you must scrape your way up from the bottom and work your way up to the most dangerous and notorious racer in the city.
The Blacklist is a simple yet effective system of progression. For the opportunity to race a blacklist racer, you must have a prerequisite amount of challenges and a certain value of bounty on your head by the city’s police force. There are two different types of challenges; races, which include circuits, sprints, speed traps, tollbooths, and drag races, and then the more interesting portion of challenges are the milestones, which are all cop related and will have you attempting different goals such as “tagging” or scraping paint with a certain amount of cops, outrunning the police for a set amount of time, destroying enough squad cars, or even obtain a certain amount of dollar value damage to the state by crashing into poles, buildings, trees and the likes. Milestone events will earn you bounty dependant on how long you are being pursued for, the amount of damage you cause, how many infractions you rack up; which can vary from excessive speeding to hit and runs, and the heat level on your car. Obviously the longer you are being chased and the more dangerous things you do, the higher your bounty gets, but also the chances of being caught and the aggression level of the police gets turned up as well.
Your “heat” level is basically the cops’ gauge of how dangerous and wanted to them you are. The cops keep track of your heat levels for your individual cars and they will respond accordingly. The higher your heat level, the more intense and severe their techniques for attempting to stop you will be. Heat level one isn’t really a challenge, as usually it’s just normal police cars driven by simpletons that can be evaded and taken out quickly, but once you reach the higher heat levels of four or five, you will have a slew of twenty plus police chasing you, range rovers that can roll your car, helicopters that will follow your position, and even the federal cop from the beginning of the game in his extremely overpowered Corvette C6 that will use any means necessary to stop you ranging from road spikes and even rolling road blocks that are almost impossible to avoid.
Luckily you do have some tricks up your sleeve to help you when needing to take turns at way too fast speeds or gain some distance from the relentless maniacs behind you; Speed Breakers and Pursuit Breakers. In essence, a Speed Breaker feels like bullet-time for your car which will help you slide through exceptionally unyielding turns, right yourself out of a fishtail, avoiding traffic in hectic intersections, or even guide yourself under a moving 18-wheeler. Using this feature does slow you down when you stop using it, but usually it’s overall quicker than hitting the wall and having to use your nitrous to speed back up. Pursuit Breakers are markers set on a building, power line poles, towers, gas stations, or even scaffolding that when sped through, it will collapse; causing the police to either be destroyed if they are in close proximity to you, or making them stop to observe the situation and call for backup while you speed away at leisure. Nothing is more satisfying and ironic than multiple police that are constantly on your tail trying to wreck you, being crushed by a giant doughnut sign as you get away freely.
Now when you do complete the needed challenges and achieve the needed bounty, you are ready to challenge the next blacklist racer, with pink slips to both cars up for grabs of course. Most Blacklist races are usually 2 circuit or spring races, but get more diverse as you progress in the story. One thing I found was that the “boss” racers usually aren’t all that amazing until you reach the #5th racer or so. They seem to make a lot of mistakes that a player wouldn’t do, like running into all of the light posts or seemingly swerving into traffic when there was no reason to. When a blacklist racer is defeated, you are presented with 6 markers; 3 of which you can see, which are usually unique paint jobs or parts that try to tempt you away from picking from the other 3 unknown markers that can be bonus cash, get-out-of-jail-free cards that you can bank, impound cards to get your cars back from the state that have been caught, or if your very lucky, the pink slip to the adversary’s car.
Once you move yourself up the ranks a few notches, you will notice quite quickly how fast these cars can get. Of course if you win a Blacklist racer’s vehicle, you do save quite a lot of money that you would normally have to spend upgrading the stock cars that unlock as you progress. On any car though, you can get numerous different visual parts and performance upgrades which is slightly different than most games, where you really can tell the difference between various different levels in upgrades. Got way too much heat on your car but want to keep using it without having to worry about your car being spotted so easily? Upgrade your visual car parts such as body kits, spoilers, roof scoops, rims, vinyls, or even a new coat of specialty paint. Doing so reduces your heat, dependant on how drastic the visual change on your car, but for a cost. On the performance side of upgrades, there are four levels of upgrades that can exceptionally improve your ride and you will notice the change even on the lower upgrades. What EA has done though to coax you into playing longer is making the highest and best upgrades only unlockable once you achieve a certain rank yourself on the blacklist. It’s rewarding and works well to make you want to move up the list rather than deter you from hoarding obscene amounts of cash early on in the game.
Like most racers, there will always be the cars that just plain suck and you don’t want as you start out, but as you get further in the career mode, while there may not be plenty of choices of different rides, you are rewarded with awesome vehicles; almost a ‘quality over quantity’ approach. For example you can unlock the new Mustang GT, an RX-8, different Mitsubishi’s, even a Lamborghini once you reach the top few spots of the blacklist, and you quickly forget about the Chevy Cobalt you started off with.
Since you do make money every race, and with every Blacklist race, having the shot to win a free car, you not only obtain a decent amount of cash, but you will come along Impound markers If (and when) you get caught by the police, your car will get impounded, and you can either pay the fines that you have been racking up (which is an obscene amount at later levels with high heat), or if you have them saved, can use the impound markers that you may have one from winning a Blacklist race which will get your car back into your possession.
Another cool feature is that there are plenty of little shortcuts everywhere for you to shave seconds off your race time or to try and pull ahead of that rival. Sometimes they can be very helpful and give you a much needed head start against the other racers, and other times it may be harder, where you might have to come out of a secret tunnel or p@!%#*!age, but have to take a very sharp turn to get back onto the road, ultimately slowing you down. The fact that the other racers can and will use the shortcuts as well makes it feel more like you are racing a person and not just a scripted racer since they will not always go the same way every time. In pursuit modes, shortcuts are absolutely needed when trying to evade that last cruiser or two, and pulling into alleys or turns at the last second is sometimes what’s needed to fool the cops so you have those few more seconds to get away.
One great thing EA has also done is litter the streets with destructible objects like light posts, garbage cans, cardboard boxes, fruit carts, and many other items that when ran into, will either fall over and cause an obstruction for racers behind you or simply explode and makes the race feel much like a chase movie. The only problem I have with these things are that you can hit a row of trees or light posts for example, and while it does slightly slow you down, there’s hardly any consequences for driving that badly as you don’t slow down very much. Do this in a blacklist race or a pursuit and that’s a completely different story, but during regular races, it almost seems too easy at times. The catch to some of these objects, are that not all of them are destructible, and are usually placed in crucial spots around turns that will make you dead stop and make you wish you did upgrade to that next level of nitrous. It doesn’t always make sense why you can completely crash through a row of light posts, yet hit the wrong sidewalk that you aren’t ‘supposed’ to go up onto, and it simply doesn’t allow you, much like invisible walls in other games.
While there is an online mode, it feels just thrown in and nothing exceptional. With only an attention to purely racing, there are many features that could have made the online simply amazing. You and three friends can team up online and race your custom career mode cars against each other to see who the top racer is, or go into random ranked games and earn your worth online. An impressive feature that EA added to the online mode was a real life Blacklist that tracks the top 15 most dangerous racers in the world. There are many filters that you can choose to search or create games such as a ‘incomplete races’ or disconnect percentage, or even collision modes should you want to rub paint with the other racers or see who can simply get to the end first. This tends to eliminate many of the “jerks” that we’ve all come to loathe and create a much more pleasant environment. Of course if you want on the real Blacklist, you need to play ranked games, and those filters are pre-set and people will do anything it takes to win.
With an ample selection of vehicles and a terrific sense of speed, the fact that the single player mode has more than 15 hours of gameplay that doesn’t even count the hours of unplanned cop pursuits, additional races to get cash for that final upgrade you want, or even the daunting milestones needed to race people high on the Blacklist, is quite a treat and doesn’t seem to grow dull very quickly with its high replay value.
With 720p or 1080i enabled, the game simply looks extremely sharp and crisp with a constant 30FPS. The lighting will bend and deform on the cars curves, as will the shadows that makes it have a realistic feel to it visually as you p@!%#*! under some overlaying trees or go through a tunnel. They also seemed to have put in HDR lighting, as when you do come out of a tunnel, it gives you a moment of bright light as if your eyes were adjusting to the brightness difference like in real life. Driving into the sun directly will make it very difficult to see what’s ahead of you and even getting glimmer off the shine of the adversary ahead of you.
As mentioned above, when debris is ran into it can either tip over and fall causing distracting sparks, or explode if it’s a garbage can or boxes. Even at later levels of the Blacklist when you have literally a dozen or two police chasing you, there seems to be almost no slowdown that’s very apparent.
Obviously you can’t tell when speeding and racing, but if you look at the roads and ground when stopped, you can see that the pavement has cracks and can even appear wet when it’s not. It doesn’t just look like the typical pavement either that has the repeating cracks in the same places either.
EA has opted to present the cut-scenes to gamers in a fashionable way that hasn’t been around for awhile. While games now will rarely have the pre-made FMV movies and do everything with the in-game engine, we are treated to some cl@!%#*!ic style movies that we grew up with. Interestingly it’s not at all cheesy (the visuals, not the script) and looks quite unique. The actors were filmed and then many different filters were used to give it almost a comic book feel where you sometimes can’t tell if it’s CG or if it’s real people. It’s very incomparable to anything else, but it brings a certain charm to the plot line. The only letdown being is that there aren’t enough of the videos throughout the game. They are not needed to progress the story, but they are amusing to watch.
Each car sounds authentic, and when you do upgrade to that bigger engine or strap on the nitrous, you can even hear the difference of the performance in your car. The Mustang GT frankly just sounds mean, and when you finally hear the Lamborghini’s take off from the start line, you can just catch the difference that the sounds of the different motors make.
Easily the most noteworthy sound feature the game has is the police. If a cop sees you, you will hear them on the radio communicating to each other the whole time they are chasing you. You overhear their plans to try and box you in, or set up roadblocks and can change your choice of direction accordingly. Once you can decode the police’ codes of the plan of action they are going to take against you, you will be able to figure out of they have laid road spikes to stop you, or if they are just calling for backup to help take you down. The police jabber sounds genuine and they constantly discuss your location and their best plan of action to arrest you.
In the movie sequences, the acting seems to sometimes be over the top, but they do play the parts very well. With some of the one-liners, it sometimes does sound very cheesy, but you forget this once you’re back into the adrenaline fueled racing. Unfortunately for me, much like the last two of the series, there was no songs that I really enjoyed at all, though fans of the previous soundtracks should enjoy it, though with the 360’s media player this isn’t really even a concern though.
It’s a shame that you can only race in the daytime and not at night like the Underground series, since when I think of illegal street racing; I don’t normally picture it mid-day in the middle of a city or freeway. The best feature that EA could have added was a pursuit mode online where players could be police or racers, but instead the online seems bland and if it wasn’t for the real online Blacklist, there wouldn’t be much point to playing online other than against your friends.
While the game’s name; Need for Speed, may fool you in the beginning when you have a slow-moving car without nitrous, once you start earning some cash, win some cars, and then upgrade them, you will not be disappointed.
The real thrills come from the police chases, the close calls, the Speed Breakers to escape past a two-row line roadblock of SUV’s, flipping a cruiser car off a ramp then speeding away to escape, and taking the huge jumps that reward you with a glorious slow-mo view of your car taking flight complete with ‘speed lines’ behind you.
Surprisingly for a racer, the game has an in-depth story mode that makes you keep wanting to move up the blacklist and prove yourself against the rivals and the cops that you are the most dangerous racer in the city.
EA has done a wonderful job creating an accelerated experience where you get to race your way-too-expensive vehicle at speeds that will have a whole police force after you in attempts to stop you. The game is challenging and has a high replay value while looking great and effortlessly being enjoyable at the same time.
Need For Speed Most Wanted does not disappoint and is a remarkable addition to the welcomed series. If you are looking for something entertaining wheather it be for long haul races to move your ranking up the Blacklist, or to simply tease the police while having them pursuing you, this game should be one of your Most Wanted.
Overall: 82 %
Gameplay: 83 %
Graphics: 80 %
Sound: 84 %
Date reviewed: February 2, 2007.
Overall: Its awesome and long to beat. The Black-list was an awesome idea for this game , you have to climb up the ranks to beat razor witch at the end is a hard race.Does get boring after a little bit of racing up the list though.
Gameplay: Awesome most the time but it got boring after a while climbing up the list. It was just the same thing as the guy before exept the cars they drive are better. Acheivments are also fairly easy to get.
Graphics: Laggs a little bit on fast corners, but overall it was alright on the graphics part. There wasnt an impressive amount of detail as i was wanting to see. The car customization was really cool. I spent a lot of time messin with paint and vinyls
Sound: Sounds bout as good all the other need for speed games in the series. And because of that it is getting a little boring at times. They need to come up with some new original sounds and stop using them from the old games.
Suggestions: I would have suggested to make a campaign long again and in a lot of depth, but they already messed up Carbon and gave it a horrible campaign.
Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 90 %
Graphics: 90 %
Sound: 90 %
Date reviewed: June 25, 2006.
Overall: I must admit that I wasn't expecting much from EA regarding this game. I mean EA is the king of recycling games and selling them as if they are brand new. Yet to my surprise, this recycled game is actually !&%$@#* good. It may be the best racer on the 360. Sorry PGR fans. Need For Speed: Most Wanted brings together NFS:Hot pursuit and Underground and creates the child named Most Wanted. And what a beautiful child they made
Gameplay: NFS: MW is all about street racing, eluding the police and moving up the black list to be the baddest mofo in all the land. The game is deep in it's gameplay and the ways you move up the blacklist including boss races which are challenging to say the least. Of course, there are customizations ala Underground. And they are aplenty. And 5-0 are in place to stop you from moving up that blacklist. And they are aplenty too. Everything about the gameplay is pure fun. From the street races to the the myriad of other challenges you can't go wrong if you're looking for a good time playing NFS:MW.
Graphics: The graphics here may be better than even PGR3. Sorry PGR3 fans. With the power of the 360, the graphics are stellar. The amazing draw distance is eye popping. The cars are a thing of beauty. Even the games cars that get your !&%$@#* way are decent.
Sound: The sound is magnificent. The cars sound authentic. The voice acting is outstanding, probably the best I have ever heard in a game.
Suggestions: Do it again. The ugly truth: best game in the series.
Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 90 %
Date reviewed: April 28, 2006.
Overall: Great game. This is the best Need for Speed game I have ever seen. It makes you feel like your the driver and that th3e world kinda revolves around yuou.
Gameplay: Fun and diverse. Getting to go to new parts of the city as you prgress, to get your rivals worried as you come closly to defeat them. Racing high stakes on and off live. IT is great.
Graphics: Good visuals, but not great. It still is killed by Project Gotham racing 3, which on a whole is not as good a game.
Sound: Good sound and vocie acting. It is pretty cool because as you change your engine it sounds different every car sounds slighlty diffferent as well.
Suggestions: yes keep up the good work on your series!
Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 90 %
Graphics: 70 %
Sound: 90 %
Date reviewed: April 27, 2006.
Overall: I am very excited that EA brought us another racer with cops. It has been left out of the recent racing games.
Gameplay: Very fun and fast paced racing game, it gives you a real sense of speed. The ability to run from the cops is back and better than ever! You can out run more than just two cops now and it is a lot more difficult then before.
Graphics: The cut scenes look awesome! The environments/cities are very big and have a high amount of detail. The vehicles look very good, as well.
Sound: The music in this game is amazing, very good soundtrack. The voice-overs in the cut scenes are very well done and the engine sounds are realistic.
Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 90 %
Graphics: 90 %
Sound: 90 %
Date reviewed: March 15, 2006.
Overall: This is an awesome game, the blacklist system will keep you busy. The graphics, gameplay, sound, are all excellent.
Gameplay: The chase sequences are difficult and exciting. The actual racing gets a bit repetitive, but customizing cars and everything is done well.
Graphics: The car models are excellent. The environments look excellent. Everything in here will look great. Especially good on an HDTV.
Sound: The dolby digital surround, kicks butt!
Overall: 90 %
Gameplay: 90 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 90 %
Date reviewed: December 14, 2005.
Overall: This game is awesome... I have seen and played it on other consoles, but the 360 version really steps up and home runs it. The load times are virtually instantaneous, the gameplay is varied and fun, and the difficulty increases progressively. Well worth a purchase!
Gameplay: Varied and easy to get used to. The 360 version uses the same controls as past Need For Speed games, and adds an extra feature - the "speedbreaker"... for when you wanna ram into that cop car juuusssst riiiight! ;o)
Graphics: Visually, this game is superb. Although you could argue that its main graphical advancements (rain effects, varied weather conditions, that nice burst of temporary blindness you get as you leave a tunnel) are rather forced - EA obviously wanted you to notice them. Never the less, awesome graphics, and they load as quick as I've seen any game load since cartridges.
Sound: Sounds superb through my ProLogic II system (which I bought with my Xbox360.. had to be done!). You can hear when you should shift gear, where exactly a police car is in relation to you, and the thunder sounds quality!
Suggestions: Just one suggestion... make MORE!! Need for Speed is awesome... keep them coming!
Overall: 100 %
Gameplay: 100 %
Graphics: 100 %
Sound: 100 %