8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
All the NFS flaws with few of the perks,
This review is from: Need for Speed: Most Wanted (Video Game)
I wanted to love this game so much, and the graphics are awesome (for racing), and the sense of speed is great... but under the pretty skin there's an almost total failure of game design.
UNEVEN AI. No matter how far in the lead you are or how perfectly you race, if you crash you'll fall down to 3rd or 4th, even in Easy races. But if you're a little behind, and you crash, it's virtually impossible to get back to the front even if you race perfectly. Bad balance and indecent rubber effect. This is so even on Easy races. Matter of fact, the difference between Easy, Medium, and Hard races is nearly unnoticeable after a while: they're all equally frustrating.
ABYSMAL MOST WANTED LIST MANAGEMENT. Three problems: (1) MW races are insanely difficult, which I suppose is good, but see above: the AI is just plain cheating. (2) When you win a race, you don't actually win the car! It is "released into the world" and you have to wait for it to "appear" near you and take it down to be able to drive it. That is really, really, really stupid. (3) When you eventually do get to drive a MW car, it may be hours after you won it, and by that time it's surely NOT the fastest available car. Even if you get to win it right away, chances are that by the time you've racked up enough speed points to challenge a MW list opponent, your current rig is already much faster (not that that helps you win MW races, even, given that the AI is a cheater). So why are we doing all this again? Literally the main goal of the game is useless.
IT'S NOT A RACING GAME. As others have said, this is basically Burnout with some NFS elements. There is very little "racing" and a lot of smashing and crashing. Let's leave aside, for the moment, that you crash on level geometry more than on actual obstacles. At least Burnout used to privilege good reflexes and creative trajectories, but in NFS:MW it feels like you win races by pure luck. Just try and try again until something happens that lets you win. That "something" may not even up to you to control, like the AI taken down by the cops, traffic that does or doesn't slam into you, etc. Sorry, but that's not racing. It's not even really playing, and you feel quite powerless.
ILLOGICAL OPEN WORLD DESIGN. (1) Not open enough. What's the point in having no invisible walls if there are constant checkpoints that dictate a route anyway?! Opportunities for creating new and inventive urban routes are wasted by having to abide by a completely arbitrary route, you constantly have to look to the map to know where you're supposed to turn, and if you miss a checkpoint you might as well restart the race. What is this, National Geographic Travel? (2) Too open. You don't have a garage, safehouse, or any place where to organize and display your car collection. In fact, you never really own cars at all, but just steal and drive them if and where you find them. Isn't that what GTA is for? (3) You can't start races when they're first introduced, but must drive to them. Yes, even if they're 10 miles away and it takes you 10 minutes of boring traffic-dodging to get there. Helloooo? Even RPGs have fast-travel systems!
COP CHASES ARE BORING. In the original 2005 Most Wanted, cop chases were tough to beat and escalated with heat level, but here they're easy, nail strips are clearly marked on the ground by yellow puffs of smoke (LOL! right), and there's no major difference between police cars (remember those cop Corvettes, armored SUVs, and helicopters? I had nightmares about those!). Moreover, two of MW's best features -- the cooldown hiding spots and the chase breakers -- have been partially or completely excised from this game.
COP CHASES ARE USELESS. If you escape you get "speed points," which is fair enough... but forget about those million-dollar bounties from the 2005 Most Wanted, where a truly long and awesome escape basically bought you a new car: here, the points are meager and you feel like you worked for nothing. And if you're busted... get this... NOTHING HAPPENS TO YOU. Your car doesn't get impounded, you don't lose your speed points, you don't lose jack. In the 2005 MW being busted was reason enough to reload a previous save, but here you're just back to a jack zone like nothing happened. You even get speed points when you've been busted three or more times!! Talk about making games easier and more accessible to, you know, children.
LACKLUSTER CUSTOMIZATION OPTIONS. Custom stuff is unlocked by placing in or winning races, which I suppose is fair, but all custom stuff is tied to the individual car. That means that whenever you get a new car, not only is it stock (as it should be), but most upgrades aren't even unlocked!! I don't know about you, but unlocking nitrous boost ten times is really boring. Also, remember all the cool custom shop decals and colors and rims and spoilers from 2005? Yeah forget about it. Here, you just drive through a mechanic shop that picks a random paint color for you. Yes, even in the middle of a race. And if you're being chased by the fuzz at that time, you hear them say things like "suspect description is updated: the car is now orange." I'm serious. I don't even want to talk about it. I'm still choke-laughing myself to death.
FRUSTRATING HUD. The idea of an in-game overhead menu is great, but it's very poorly realized. Everything is text-based, the game doesn't pause, and the menu options stay on the screen for five second tops, after which they're automatically hidden... which means that you can't even study the specs on your car and compare/contrast them with other cars' without having to exit and re-enter the menu at all times. That, plus the fact that there is NO GAME MAP (and, consequently, no GPS options) is 100% intolerable in 2013.
A near-complete waste of $40 and the worst-spent 15 hours of my gaming year so far.