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Need for Speed Most Wanted (2012)

Submitted by on September 19, 2013 – 4:38 pmNo Comment

Need for Speed Most Wanted (2012) 3Need for Speed Most Wanted (2012)- an open-world racer akin to Criterion’s last effort for its most well-known series, Burnout: Paradise. Paradise’s world felt larger than Most Wanted’s city of Fairhaven, but Most Wanted is a more learned execution than Paradise, a game that doesn’t take your time for granted and never takes you out of the driver’s seat – literally and figuratively.

The premise of Need for Speed: Most Wanted is simple: The police are after ten racers, the big dogs in the racing scene, and you’ve got take them all down to be the best. That’s it; no silly FMV scenes or insulting, cliched story lines – just avoid the cops, race better than the other guys, take them down and their car is yours.

In addition to the top ten board, there are numerous hidden cars to find, security gates to crash through, speed cameras to whiz by and billboards to smash into that provide hours of distraction from grinding Speed Points to unlock the next Most Wanted match-up. Speed Points correlate to your Speed Level – as you earn points both online and off, your driver profile increases and … that’s really it. Speed points are just an arbitrary system keeping you from climbing the Most Wanted ladder too quickly.

Each car itself has a series of five events to unlock all of its modifications, which include nitrous boost, different chassis configurations, body types, transmission loadouts and tires. With each car having five missions and a total of 65 cars to unlock, there’s a lot to keep you busy here. There’s a large variety of cars, from street racers to muscle cars to F1 racers and trucks and many more.

The only downside is that many of the events repeat from car to car, so it doesn’t take long to memorize layouts and the like. While it may seem like a chore on paper, the excellent driving thankfully diminishes the monotony of it all. The folks at Criterion Games are experts at arcade racing, conjuring up some alternate dimension where drifting actually makes you go faster, and that’s no different here. Criterion has fine-tuned and perfected its driving over the years, and Need for Speed: Most Wanted offers the studio’s best work to date.

Criterion’s excellence shines once again in both the sense of drifting and sense of speed. No racing game feels like a Criterion racing game, and different cars slip and slide in different ways, but the handling is precise and instantly familiar to any fan of the studio’s previous work. Cars feel heavy but instantly accessible – you don’t have to know gear ratios or complex car mechanics. Just hold in the gas and go. You reach blinding speeds, weave through traffic and tight alleyways; this is how a Criterion game feels and Need for Speed: Most Wanted excels here.

Fairhaven is full of distinct districts, twists and turns, and tons of traffic, making every second behind the wheel a thrilling white-knuckle speed show. The sense of speed is unparalleled. When you’re red-lining any particular car, you really feel like the tiniest movement in any direction is a dangerous proposition. Sure, a heavy truck can ram through just about anything with impunity, but even the slightest mistake with an F1 racer will wreck you and, ultimately, cost you the event.

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