Need for Speed: Most Wanted ReviewJason Leyanna
The first cut-scene is a public safety message that is shown before you get to the game. It features Josie Maran, who plays the part of Mia Townsend in the game, telling you to drive as in real life and wear a seatbelt. Soon thereafter you see various cars racing with the fuzz close behind. This alternates between full screen and split screen, with two views of cars. When that plays out you are left at the menu screen, with street racing awaiting you.
Normally I’m the type to like more obscure racing games, but this one happens to be good fun and actually has a plot to go along with it. The addition of cops chasing you makes it a little different than your average racer. The artificial intelligence (AI) of the opponents and cops is decent and keeps you on your toes.
The prime objective of the game is to get on the Blacklist and rise to the top, knocking off (figuratively speaking) the others. Each time, you first have to win a series of races and also build up your bounty by keeping the cops off your tail. Then you will eventually get a shot at racing your Blacklist opponent for pink slips. Slowly you will build up your reputation and become notorious. This is almost like a story mode for a game, which is atypical for a racing game.
There is also a racing mode if you’re just in the mood for a quick race. There are circuit races, drag races, speed trap races, among a couple of others for some speedy action. The safe house holds your current vehicles. You can buy and sell from the shop and keep your current car as tricked out as you can afford. European and Asian import vehicles are available as well as your Corvette.
The graphics are nice and show some of what the Xbox 360 is capable of. Some effects in the game also add nicely to the already picturesque environments. Smoke rolls from the tires of the cars as they await the go for the race. Light posts, barrels, cones, and even the occasional mail box or telephone booth can be knocked into and destroyed. It does slow you down a little, but doesn’t cause you to be finished as it would in a real car. Traditional street signs, lights, and buildings are all around for a scenic look. Shadows and reflections of light off of glass are welcomed effects as well. Weather can also play its part in affecting the gameplay, and you may run into a course that has rain.
Arrows point the way around sharp curves and keep you on track. There are occasionally locked areas in the driving area which can be hard to see as it is partially transparent. I find myself crashing into them at times inadvertently, but they are just during the free roam portion of the game. The B button is for NOS to really speed things up, that is when you have it installed on your current ride. The game uses an autosave feature to keep you where you left off, when you log back in. The soundtrack consists of a variety of predominantly rap songs. They aren’t ones that I’ve heard of before, for the most part, but they are tolerable and don’t take away from the action of the game.
If you want the thrill of running from the cops without the consequence of legal action, this is the game. Need for Speed: Most Wanted is also a good choice for those who just want a plain fun racing game that includes a plot. Now that it’s one of the platinum hits, you can pick up this gem at a bargain price.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.