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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Game Review: Need For Speed Most Wanted

Will Cherry |
May 20, 2013 | 11:01 a.m. PDT


The latest in the Need For Speed Series (criterion)
The latest in the Need For Speed Series (criterion)
While I am just as giddy as the next Merican regarding Assassin’s Creed III this week, there is one other game released on the same day that certainly deserves attention:

Need for Speed: Most Wanted.

I will admit I was waiting by my mailbox for Assassin’s Creed when this bad boy appeared, and I nearly forgot about it altogether with the idea of tomahawking redcoats. But when I started NFS up, it was clear that I’d be playing for a while.

As a little background, I was never very good at racing games. My personal favorite was MarioKart, and I could never get used to “realistic”games. I let a few sit on my shelf before, but not before getting bored and ultimately trading them in.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted changed all that, and it only took an hour. The controls are seamless, simple, and effective, and I quickly found myself drifting with the pros.

It didn’t hit me that I was playing a racing game at first. Once the campaign starts there’s no menu to start from or a car to choose. You are thrust into a moving Porsche, and told how to drive as you’re going 95 mph through opposing traffic.

So I crashed a few times. Okay, many times. But there was one thing I quickly realized - I wasn’t in a race. I was coasting around in Fairhaven City. I was in a completely open world, allowed to do whatever I wanted as long as I could do it in a car. Even more impressive is that there are 40 other cars all around the city waiting for me to steal and upgrade, from the Lancia Delta to the powerful Aston Martin V12 Vantage.

Some of the cars in Need For Speed (Vignesh)
Some of the cars in Need For Speed (Vignesh)
This Grand Theft Auto meetsNeed for Speed is a brilliant setup, and I found racing in the streets to be just as enjoyable as getting to the starting locations, exploring the city, and running from the fuzz.

While pursuit may be your fancy, another crucial element to the campaign is the method of getting to the top of the Most Wanted list… By earning enough points to race the Top 10, beating them, and destroying everything they love to take for your own.

On top of that, the graphics are impeccable in detail, with the changing of light coming through a tunnel to the sand of a beach hitting the windshield. And whenever I want to change the color of my car, I just run it through a paint shop to receive instant swag.

Among the great leaps made in NFS, a few things somewhat bugged me, primarily the fact that the game doesn’t penalize you for failure.Whenever I got busted by the cops, crashed, or didn’t make it through a roadblock, the game reloaded and everything continued as normal. If I’m one of the most wanted drivers in the world, I would thinksomething must be taken from me.

And then EA takes privilege in NFS with another feature I find less than enjoyable: the multi-player. I love local games and racing with roommates, but NFS really disappoints in this category by pulling a Battlefield 3 multi-player, where any and every interaction has to be online.

Running from the fuzz (videogamer)
Running from the fuzz (videogamer)
Although, if you want to drive with friends across multiple systems,NFS goes above and beyond in this regard. With online friends I can set speed records, race to the starting lines, and escape cops as competitors in a single city. When it comes to online, EA fits a certain niche, but it fits perfectly.

But amidst infallible awesomeness, the lack of local play (and LSD-trip loading screens), I kept coming back to play Need for Speed. For hours and hours.

Criterion Games did it right this time, just as they did in rebooting Hot Pursuit, by creating a game that brought back the good ol’ feels of Need for Speed with kicking graphics and a sense of freedom. But please, anyone, friend me on PSN and let’s be the Most Wanted.


This story is reposted from the Neontommy tumblr site found here.

You can reach contributor Will Cherry here and follow him on twitter here.



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