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The Gaming Review - Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Release Date: 
Game Platform: 
Xbox, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii U, PS Vita
Star Rating: 
7 out of 10

Hitting the city of Fairhaven with a big block and a vengeance.

The Pitch: Revisiting 2008’s Most Wanted, Need for Speed takes to the streets again for high-speed chases, flashing sirens, and boosted cars. Blow off some doors, drift some corners, and overtake the fastest outlaws in the city of Fairhaven.

What It Really Is: The Need for Speed series typically employs one gimmick to set its yearly entry apart from the rest. This year’s Most Wanted is basically an enormous scavenger hunt, paying off gamers’ exploration with hidden gems on a very regular basis, because every car in the game is available to drive if you simply find it. Each car comes with challenges specific to it, which ultimately makes for a successful formula and a major departure from the typical arcade racing conventions. Unfortunately, Most Wanted stalls out in many other areas. The game isn’t particularly challenging, and knocking others off the most-wanted list during your climb to outlaw numero uno is an easy and short endeavor. Supplanting the actual need for skill and technique is a massive police presence that diabolically waits at finish lines to knock you out of first place. Also lacking here is any element of customization to the fine pedigree of vehicles available in Most Wanted; even paint jobs are done on an entirely random basis as you race through gas stations at high speed, without any input from you, the driver. Need for Speed’s excellent driving physics do remain intact, and that’s a shot in the arm to the game, but with this year’s new competition from other franchises invading their turf (ahem, Forza), next year’s Need for Speed better pop the clutch and hit the red line much harder than this. Ready-Made Press Blurb: “Our most-wanted game of the season is Need for Speed: Most Wanted.”

Fun Fact: Most Wanted’s online components are actually a high point here, not only letting you challenge racers and friends online but seamlessly carrying game-saves across platforms via EA’s Origin cloud. Starting a game on your Vita and moving to your Xbox when you get home will allow achievements to come with you. We haven’t seen Microsoft and Sony play this nice together since Apple talked about joining the console game.

Who It's For: Racers, period. This fall is launching ground for two arcade racing experiences, and anyone who digs arcade racers really shouldn’t think twice about picking them both up. Most Wanted delivers the urban street racing, tight corners, and killer cars that you’d expect from Need for Speed games. The only question is whether to drop 60 bucks on it now, or wait for the inevitable price break that’ll come down the pipe in the new year.

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