Customer Reviews: Need for Speed Most Wanted - Playstation 3
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on November 9, 2012
This need for speed is not like the previous most wanted. No visual car customization, no buying cars, and especially, no story line whatsoever. And no hood view for the cars. I dont know if this is just me or any one else but i hate bumper and 3rd person view and thats all there is. I loved the hood view from the previous most wanted. Is it that hard to put it into a game?
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on November 28, 2012
The venerable "Need For Speed" series has long been ill-defined: games such as the Road & Track sponsored original, Porsche Unleashed, and Shift have focused on driving simulation, whereas others, such as Hot Pursuit, High Stakes, and Most Wanted have eschewed realistic control for fast-paced cop-evading action. Enter "Need For Speed: Most Wanted - A Criterion Game." It's a reboot of a game that's hardly old enough to warrant a reboot - "Need For Speed Most Wanted" was released in 2005 to the acclaim of fans and critics alike. So how does Criterion's effort hold up?

For the sake of completeness, I'll briefly review the first Most Wanted here. It was an amalgamation of all things learned from both the Hot Pursuit series as well as the Underground series. Featuring a wildly varying roster of cars, from Mazdas all the way to Lamborghinis, as well as an incredibly deep pursuit mechanic (where the number of cops chasing you could rise above fifty - believe me, I've seen it), Most Wanted was the deepest NFS to date. Long lists of customization options could have you buiding, painting and repainting your car for hours, and a plethora of race modes gave ample opportunity to work your way up the Blacklist, a ranking of top competitors in this open-world racer. Set in the massive and bustling setting of Rockport city, the story was told through a series of hilariously badly-acted full-motion video sequences, which could easily be described as a wonderfully snide parody of the "Fast and the Furious" series. Altogether, Most Wanted was a very complete, very impressive, and very fun arcade action racer.

Then Criterion comes along to show us how it's done. And they do it, ironically, by removing many of the elements that make the first so great - car customization is limited to simple and invisible on-the-fly modifications, there's no story to speak of (except for the "goal" of defeating 10 Blacklist racers), and race types are limited to standard lap races, sprint races, and average speed races (which require the player to maintain a specific average speed through the course).

This Most Wanted dumps the player almost immediately into the gigantic, gorgeous city of Fairhaven in a snarling Aston Martin and tasks the player to find a Porsche Carrera S. Once the player has accomplished this, there's no more hand-holding. Criterion is extremely confident of the world they've created - and no wonder, since the inspiration from Burnout: Paradise is both obvious and invasive. It's a confident system: they simply want you to explore, and they know that fun is nearby, no matter where you are.

In fact, everything is nearby - including all but 10 of the vehicles in this game (which can be earned by defeating blacklist racers). Finding and unlocking a vehicle is as simple as driving up to parked one and jacking it. Every car, all 41 of them, can participate in five races, meaning that a total of 215 races are crammed into this game (including the blacklist races). This may seem like nothing more than an odd development decision, but it's truthfully revolutionary - I never want to play another racing game another way. It's as open-world as a racer gets - moreso than Most Wanted, and even moreso than Burnout: Paradise. Fortunately, the decision to point the driver in the correct direction during a race by a series of checkpoints has been implemented so finding one's way to the finish line is not as frustrating an endeavor as it was in Paradise.

Speaking of Paradise, if that world was heavenly, then Fairhaven is doubly so. It's massive, teeming with life, and chock full of all sorts of nooks and crannies to be explored. Many races even funnel the player through unusual routes throughout the city to keep races interesting. And while Rockport may sport a few more roads, Fairhaven feels bigger. It's very easy to get lost wandering around the city, looking for billboards to smash, speed cameras to buzz by, security fences to run over, and police to antagonize.

All of this would be for naught if the controls were bad. Hats off to Criterion, this is the most delightfully well-controlled arcade racer ever. All the cars have a very profound sense of weight to them, which means that they all are subtly nuanced in their handling, much like a racing simulator. Cars drift with delicate use of the brakes, and too much can send cars into an uncontrollable tailspin. Crashing results in some pretty impressive damage done to these cars (more than I would expect a bunch of companies doling out expensive licenses to allow). But racing simulator this is not: reaching a blistering 170 miles per hour is akin to breaking the sound barrier. This is one fast game.

And the game keeps you going fast. The menu in this game is handled through an "Easy Drive" system which keeps you driving even while selecting a new race or adding a new unlocked part to your car. Repairing and repainting your car is as easy as breezing through a fuel station. All of this means more time spent doing what Criterion wants you to do. Drive. This game maximizes the players time: why spend time ruining your Porsche with 22" rims (like in Most Wanted 2005) when you could be out soaring for 300 yards over a suspension bridge just for the heck of it?

There are issues, however. I should note that I have at least once encountered a 5-10 second freeze related to a Most Wanted car not loading properly, but it's hardly a game-changing problem. What might be a game-changing problem for some, however, is difficulty: if you want to do all there is to do in this game, prepare for quite a fight. Some races can be hard. "F-Zero" hard. I think the difficulty is a plus rather than a minus, but to use a tired car-related adage, your mileage may vary.

Criterion's Most Wanted is a playground; it wants you to go, to do, and to enjoy. Everything is consequence free: a violent crash results in the immediate delivery of a shiny new model. If the police bust you, nothing happens except the loss of whatever speed points you might have earned if you successfully evaded them. The only humans that exist are merely seat-warmers for top-down convertibles. It encourages you to try anything and everything. And rather than having you commit to a single car for large portions of the game, it hopes you will enjoy all of them equally by splitting the challenges equally among them. It's a simple game - elegant, even - but it understands that complexity does not equate with innovation or, more importantly, fun. It only understands the joy of driving with the throttle wide open. Enjoy Need For Speed: Most Wanted - A Criterion Game.

Ten Point Scale: 9.5 out of 10.0
Genre: Action / Racing
Recommended: Highly
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on October 30, 2012
The premise behind NFS: Most Wanted is this: In Fairhaven City, there are 10 drivers who are the "Most Wanted". Take them down, you get their car. The goal: Become the most wanted driver in Fairhaven City.

Ok, so the story's lame, but you didn't have one at all in Burnout Paradise either. That's not really important to racing fans, as one look at NFS: The Run's reviews will tell you. What DOES matter are the cars, how do they control, modes available, upgrading possibilities, and multiplayer. Again, this is a review in process, so I can address all of these outside of multiplayer at this time.

- It's really hard to pin down the driving controls in this game at this early stage. We're not talking Gran Turismo level of difficulty, but it's also not as easy as the original Burnout Paradise, or even Blur. Think the controls in Ridge Racer Unbounded, but MUCH less touchy, and you're getting in the right ballpark. My best guess: If you're familiar and have played the NFS series, you'll be at home here.
- As for the cars, no more going through ranks 1-20 to unlock. Every car in the game is available at the start. Now the danger of this, of course, is that you'll find one you fall in love with and really have no need/desire to find all the rest (Why would you bother with the Delta Lancia when you can drive/upgrade a Porsche, for example)? All you have to do is look for the cars with an badge above them, choose the car and it's yours to drive. It's definitely a step in the right direction away from what a "typical" racing game would force you to do (aKa Gran Turismo, forcing you to grind for money to buy them).
- As far as single player is concerned, I am a little worried that the modes are a little on the bare side. The various events in Burnout Paradise were diversified and had cars to match them. In NFS: Most Wanted, it's pretty much limited to races, evading the cops and maintaining a certain speed through the course. In short, it's got the potential to get old in a hurry. However, you'll probably be too busy seeing if you're beating your friends, smashing billboards and the like to be worrying about that.
- Each car gives you the ability to upgrade various functions, such as tires, transmission, boost, etc. This is done by earning Speed Points, which you pretty much earn doing anything in the game. Now of course, for the completionists (like me), it will be fun going through and upgrading every car fully, giving an vast array of options for attacking different races (example: lightweight chassis give you more speed and are better for fast races, but suck when trying to go against the cops. Off road tires help you on those races, but you lose grip on pavement, etc). It'll be fun seeing online who gets the perfect combinations to set the best times.

And for now, that's it. As I get experience in Multiplayer, I will update my review, but it definitely seems to be at least as good as Burnout Paradise's, which is a testimony as to why there is still a good online community existing in that game 3 years after release.

Bottom line: NFS:MW takes it place alongside the other racers on the PS3 (GT5, Burnout Paradise and NFS:HP) as the best you can buy. There is an incredible amount of depth and layers in this game to unwrap and discover. Criterion, you did it again!

**UPDATE #1 31 October 2012**
Multiplayer is definitely as diverse as in Burnout Paradise if not moreso, given that many of the cars (including the ones you receive from pre-ordering) are only able to be used in Multiplayer. Players who invest the time in the various races/race layouts with the proper cars/mods will have a definitive, FAIR advantage over those who do not, but given the chaos that is traffic in this game, there's a chance a person ending up in last can still make up ground for a good finish. Outside of the racing events, there are also ones that involve getting away from the cops (wreck your friend=them getting busted and disowning you) as well as who can drift the most, get the most air, break the most billboards, etc. in a certain time frame. While the single player, for those who dump a ton of time into it and find their favorite cars, probably has a short life span, when you start talking about multiplayer, and get a few friends who have this game, and the replay value goes through the roof as you try to "top" your friends to be the "Most Wanted".

If anything, multiplayer has reinforced my opinion that this quite simply is one of the best racers on the PS3, the best one released in 2012, and deserves your purchase.

***Update #2 10/31/2012

I'm seeing some questions about how this compares to NFS:Hot Pursuit. Keep in mind, Criterion's goal was to make this game a "spiritial" successor to Burnout Paradise (released in 2009). In terms of gameplay, NFS:HP and NFS:MW are different in terms of modes as well as scope (open world, explore at your leisure vs. rigid routes), but similiar in that you can wreck the cops when you are being pursued. The cops will use spike strips and roadblocks, no EMP or helicopters that I've seen. Your cars do have "mods" which can offset the roadblocks and spike strips (much like you had in HP for the racer). Online is much deeper IMHO vs. Hot Pursuit, even when you consider the DLC that EA/Criterion have released over the life of NFS:HP.

My verdict is NFS:MW will ultimately be much deeper and have more replay value then NFS:HP. But both are OUTSTANDING games in their own aspects.

Also, in another simularity to NFS:HP, NFS:MW will allow you to utilize your own soundtrack that you have on your PS3. I think you'll definitely want this as there's nothing memorable about the soundtrack I've heard so far from the game, and some of them are downright annoying. Why ALL racing games don't have this as an option I have no idea. It definitely enhances the enjoyment of the title!
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on January 4, 2013
I've always loved the Need for Speed series. But honestly, it's lost it's way during a couple of installments. That is until Criterion stepped in with their entry 'Hot Pursuit'. Now their at the helm again for 'Most Wanted' and it's even better! Beautiful, tough, crazy-ass racing action! They hit it out of the park with the open world gameplay and EVERY car being available from the start. Only having to simply find the cars in the massive world. Such a simple, but clever idea. Thanks EA and Criterion. I very much look forward to your next effort.

p.s.- Please PLEASE support offline multiplayer. The fact that I can't race the person sitting next to me on the couch really irks me. Online isn't the only area for competition y'know. Just sayin....
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on July 11, 2014
Most people are used to the DLC companies have been pushing down your throat the last 3-4 years. Important content has been ripped out just so you can pay for it again. Annoying menus in the start screen asking you for more money for games you already paid for. This game is taking that to the next level. DLC now directly interrupts your regular game play and it is completely in your face. You start the game, and there is a two page ad for all the DLC you can buy. You find a car on the street (which you need to do in game to progress) and you waste your time driving to it and when you try to switch to it, you get the rude surprise that it is a DLC. What is even worse is that this DLC insanity was introduced after the game was released in regular patches. They changed the behavior of the game after you bought it. Do not buy this game. Actually do not buy any Electronic Arts games. As for the game itself, car physics is non-existent, the different car models are basically just skins and bear no real resemblance to their real car counterpart. My suggestion, just avoid Electronic Arts until this insanity ends.
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on October 2, 2013
nice graphics, nice driving, i expected less from this game now that i played the demo and i didnt like as much as ps2 version, because i think most wanted ps2 version is the best car game made in need for speed, but this game is something different not better not worst but different.
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on January 14, 2014
Most Wanted Need for Speed is a fun game that can get repetitive; that is, you're constantly crashing into things. However, I guess that's what makes it fun? I will point out that the racing wheel is a real bonus, as the player gets vibration feedback when they veer off course, or crash, naturally. I also want to point out that it's somewhat difficult to maintain a steady trajectory in this game. I found myself constantly being taken off the road from the littlest jerk of the wheel. I suppose that's another thing that's appealing, as well as the fact that the whole game is incredibly unrealistic? For the money, you can't go wrong with this worthy racer; it has the right ingredients and attitude to make it one of the better racers out there.
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on February 28, 2016
After the disaster with The run, Pro street and the mediocre of Carbon and Undercover. Nfs seemed to have picked up on hot pursuit. Most wanted has a nice arcadey feel. Most wanted forces you to drive all the cars because all the cars have their own specific races which makes it interesting and fun. The map of the game is pretty big and graphically it looks beautiful. The games car handling is pretty excellent making it easy to drift around. This also has a con to it. It can be a bit dangerous driving fast and doing a sharp turn. As far as the difficulty you will be retrying some race events. Because of the game having the creators of the burnout series the game often feels less of a nfs game but a sort of like a sequel to burnout paradise with better improvements. Overall its a pretty great nfs game but feels less of a nfs game if that makes any sense.
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on November 7, 2012
This game is really fun if you like CONSTANT crash cutscenes. Every time you bump a car, guard rail, or pole, you will have to watch a 10 second scene of your car crashing. Often times, you will come out of one of the crash scenes to find that the game has placed you directly behind another vehicle which causes you to crash yet again. This is the most annoying thing about the game and really characterizes the game for me.

For fans of the original Most Wanted, this game is disappointing. The game has a similar premise, but they have removed the storyline, customization, manual transmission, exciting pursuits, and the ability to plow through roadblocks. The graphics of the game are incredible, but the gameplay is lacking. The cars do not handle well at all. Unlike the original, hitting roadblocks now causes, you guessed it, a crash scene that stops your car in its tracks. Lastly, the game is very easy. I was the #1 Most Wanted racer before I had taken down Most Wanted #6-10. I got enough points to be first simply by tricking out a few cars; speaking of which, all of the cars are available from the start and races unlock performance upgrades. The Most Wanted races are very easy; in fact, they are easier than the races required to unlock car upgrades.

Multiplayer is no fun whatsoever; I give multiplayer a 1 out of 5 rating. You are placed in the open world with other racers. The game will randomly select events and races for you. Some of the events it chooses make little sense and are very repetitive.

Overall, this game is fun, but it is also VERY frustrating. I would recommend this game to people, but I want them to know that this game is not the original. The graphics are really the only improvement to the original; the other changes made to the game are a major downgrade.


Beautiful graphics
Large, open world
Large selection of cars

Lack of customization
Crash scenes
Repetitive races (many of the races for each car are exactly the same)
Lackluster pursuits
No penalty for being busted by the cops
Easy and short
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on July 19, 2014
My first few hours in this game were more annoyance than fun. In fact, I wrote up a rather scathing review of this game's failings because I was so irritated. But I kept at it and found that there's a good game here once I had the right expectations for what I was playing.

Certainly, the game is quite flawed. So, first, let's look at the "cons."

* The "tracks" are poorly indicated by the occasional floating text, so you spend a lot of time looking at your minimap and get into untold number of crashes just because you're not sure where you're supposed to go. Often, you have to do a race multiple times simply to learn the track. (Or deliberately trail behind the leader to see where to go.)

* Traffic adds an unpredictable and, in my opinion, annoying variable into racing. I suppose it would be less of a problem if it seemed to affect the AI racers and cops as much as it does you, but it doesn't feel like it completely does. (Which is not to say that it doesn't at all--I've frequently seen the AI get into accidents that turned a race in my favor.) Wii U players get the ability to disable traffic--it'd be nice if the other versions of the game had the same option.

* AI cars feel arbitrarily fast. Whether it's the AI racing opponents or the regular police cars (i.e., not their Corvettes), the AI seems to be as fast as the game wants them to be, and that can change from moment to moment. A regular police cruiser can keep up with a Corvette ZR1 blasting down the highway at 150 MPH, and AI racers that you drove into a crash and passed 45 seconds ago can suddenly come barreling up behind you with freakish speed. It takes some of the fun out of things if the AI doesn't "play fair."

* The cars don't drive differently enough from one another. I'd expect more of a contrast between the aforementioned Corvette ZR1 (RWD, supercharged V-8), a Nissan GT-R (AWD, turbo V-6), and a Porsche 911 Carrera S (RWD, naturally aspirated H-6). It's there, but it's not very pronounced.

* The police at higher "wanted levels" can become annoyingly omniscient. Having them load everywhere to practice their suicidal ramming techniques can get tiring if you can't find the perfect spot to go to where they don't spawn.

* Each car gets only 5 races. Have a favorite car you were hoping on upgrading and using extensively? Forget about it. While the mods you earn from those races stick, that's about the only customization you get. Every time you drive through a repair shop (which looks like a gas station), the color changes--you don't even get to pick that!

* Progression is limited. While you *do* get to earn upgrades for each of the 41 cars, all but 10 are available right at the start... if you know where to find them. Yes, unlocking cars is not about earning them but finding them. (You do have to earn the 10 "Most Wanted" cars by collecting Speed Points through racing and other shenanigans, though.)

* In-game advertising for DLC. The game reminds you not too subtly that you could be buying DLC packs. As of July 2014, the game itself goes for $15-$25, but the 4 DLC car packs are $10-$15 each (or are available in a bundle pack for $30). So 41 cars come with the base game, but the remaining 22 are $30?

* The car selection could be better. Maybe I'm just conditioned by Gran Turismo to expect a huge library of cars, but it would've been nice to see, say, the Porsche 911 GT3 or Turbo in place of (or, better yet, in addition to) old 1975 911 Turbo 3.0. Or the coupe versions of the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo instead of the convertibles. And speaking of convertibles: why is the top always up on the Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG? Ferrari is also missing, which stinks. (Especially since EA is keeping Porsche out of everyone else's games!)

All those complaints aside, the game is fun if you take it for the arcade racer it is. So you'll rarely have an issue with oversteer, cars drift more easily than they ought to, and so forth. All too often winning is less about driving a good racing line (since, as I said, your opponents' cars are arbitrarily fast) and more about avoiding crashes. The best racing line through a corner may well be occupied by a car sitting at a stop light.

I haven't tried the multiplayer, but there are single player "challenges" of sorts that pit you against people on your friends list who have the game. Each race has a "speed wall" that shows you how fast your fastest friend was, and each jump and speed camera across the city have similar comparisons. So if you want "offline" competition beyond what the AI racers offer, there's that (provided you've friended at least one person who's played the game, of course).

The game has 61 races/events overall. They're split into 5 categories:
* 17 Circuit races: 3 laps each.
* 18 Sprint races: a point-to-point race.
* 10 Speed Runs: maintain an average speed on a point-to-point race. Basically, a time trial, but you're given an average speed instead of a time to shoot for. (I don't *think* you can game this by driving a bad racing line that happens to have a high top speed, but I could be wrong. Certainly, you can't skip the checkpoints.)
* 6 Ambushes: escape the police. As much about finding a good place to hide as anything.
* Most Wanted: a 1-on-1 sprint race against one of the 10 Most Wanted cars with the Police chasing you. (These can be done with any car.)

Each car is assigned five races: one easy, four medium (one of each type), and two hard (usually one circuit and one sprint). Cars share races, though what you face is different and what difficulty it's assigned to can be different (e.g., the "Cold Burn" circuit race is one of the 911 Carrera S's medium difficulty races but the 918 Spyder Concept's easy race). The races award you predetermined upgrades for the car you're driving if you place first or second (usually two mods for first, one for second).

As for the difficulty, once I got past the initial learning curve (e.g., "how does this game want me to drive?", "how do I deal with cops?"), it's been pretty good for me. The races are pretty decently categorized. I usually had to do the medium and hard races a few times to beat them, but I haven't run into any that seemed either completely unbeatable or a complete cakewalk. (Though there were a few that I did beat on the first try, leaving only putting the best time on the aforementioned Speed Wall as the only challenge.) Admittedly, this difficulty is probably as a result of the AI's ability to selectively cheat (or become handicapped) in order to keep the racing somewhat competitive. You never seem to end up with a situation like you often find in Gran Turismo of either passing all the AI drivers right out of the gate and never seeing them again or getting so hopelessly behind that the only car you're competing with is in dead last. And the AI seem to drive somewhat convincingly: occasionally crashing and not all driving the exact same racing line (though they never seem to pass each other much).

All in all, it seems like the game's good for about 15-20 hours of play (more if you grind out all the collectibles and trophies). It's not Gran Turismo, but it's not trying to be. If you go in expecting something more like the racing in Grand Theft Auto, you wouldn't be too far off. And if you can enjoy that, it's a game worth checking out.
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