Review by NeonFXx
"Bolton or not... that ride is hot!"
Need for Speed: Most Wanted is the groundbreaking sequel to the already outstanding Need for Speed: Underground 2 and is one of my all time favourite games. What this game does right is that it surpasses expectations and blows your mind. Ride customization, cop pursuits, boss races... there is so much to be enjoyed by this gaming experience that you'll just keep coming back for more.
A racing game with a story, huh? And it's done well!? NFS: Underground 2 had it's story and it was nice to play a racing game with such character and motive. Racing game's rarely pull off a good story and are usually a little corny. NFS: Most Wanted is a huge exception to that rule as it's cut-scenes are not only very relevant to the game but are done amazingly well, with great actors/actresses that immerse you into the world and it's characters.
So here's the deal. You are new in Rockport City and are looking for some new rivals. After gaining some rep, you are faced with a gang of notorious street racers led by Razor Callahan who is claimed as 'number 15 on the blacklist'. After a race gone bad Razor claims your ride as a prize and leaves you for the cops. Mia, who has taken a liking to you, pays your bail. She informs you that the race was a set-up and that Razor has used your ride to reach the top of the Blacklist. The only way to get to Razor is to make your way to the top and become the most dangerous racer in Rockport.
Everything in this is done right. Razor is your antagonist and the actor who plays him does a good job of riling you up and wanting to hate him. Mia grows on you quickly as her attitude towards both you and the enemy Razor are great, and you'll enjoy teaming up with her as you attempt to take on the blacklist. Throughout the game you'll get text messages/voice-mails from both of these people with Mia giving you all the inside info and Razor calling to intimidate you. There are other characters to add to this such as Sgt. Cross, a very angry bounty hunter who want's to take you down more than anything, and Rog another buddy of yours who calls you with information on the Blacklist drivers. All of these people put together make for an interesting dialogue that keeps you in the mood for more.
So what's the deal with the Blacklist, then? There are 15 Blacklist drivers and you need to climb the ranks in order to get to Razor. By beating a Blacklist racer in a series of races you take their place and can proceed to the next. It's easier said than done however: in order to challenge a rival you first need to earn rep. By taking on a series of street races with locals and earning bounty from cop pursuits you'll gain the rep to challenge a new rival.
The street races are great and some of them hold tight challenges. Keep in mind that this is an arcade style racer and the developers did not design this for realism. Arcade racers are fast paced and furious! To me, this makes all the difference as it adds in the fun factor. In NFS: Most Wanted you can slam into opponent's, crash against walls and even throw your car airborne from a steep slope, all of this and then proceed to take the victory. I've never had much fun with 'driving simulation' games as I find the realism a little tedious, NFS: Most Wanted however is hardcore racing.
What really makes this, though are the cop pursuits. During free-roam (or sometimes during a race), you'll be spotted by a cop on patrol. The game then switches to pursuit mode, a high speed cop chase down highways, through alleys and across the streets of Rockport. There are 5 heat levels total and they start out fairly casual and easy to escape from. As the heat level increases however expect to see some chaos on the streets! Level 5 includes cops driving corvettes that slam into you, search helicopters scouting, SUVs ramming you, road blocks set out and spike strips that grind you to a halt. Using your epic driving skills you must evade. One of the best resources around are pursuit breakers which cause certain buildings/structures to crash down and crush your chasers all at high speed. The pursuits offer a good challenge and are sometimes almost impossible to escape from. This makes the anxiety and adrenaline rush during the pursuit, because, you know what? If you get caught, you're getting punished. Fines, impound strikes and losing your car are a possibility...
As if this wasn't enough, the game offers you so much more. A great selection of cars (Sports, tuners, muscles), and allows you to personalize and customize as you see fit. You can upgrade your performance, add a new body, spoiler, hood etc. or change the paintwork and add vinyls. There are an incredible amount of choices so mod it as you choose.
It is great to handle and control and this game is also easy to pick up and play. It is also the case where almost every car handles in it's own particular way, so driving the Gallardo is much different to driving the Ford GT. Since every car can be modded and have it's performance upgraded you can pretty much use what ever car you wish for whatever point in the game you are, just go with your preferences. The only reason this score lost a point is because of some people complaining about spin or rubber-band logic which gives your opponents a lot more chance to catch back up with you, but really these are minor, unnoticeable flaws.
The least important of all the categories, yet this game looks great on the 'cube. The cars and the scenery look great, there is minimal slowdown during game-play and the cut-scenes look fantastic (so does Mia by the way). There really is nothing to nitpick here if you are not completely OCD about stuff like this. Apparently, there are glitches that occur during very long pursuits however, I haven't experienced most of these even after beating it time and time again. There is an x-box 360 version that does look better, but I've played them both and it really doesn't seem to bother me at all to be playing the 'cube version, the differences are very minor.
Replay Value:- 10/10
Due to the addictive nature of this game I just can't stay away too long. So far I've played through a 100% run 5 times (with a very long play-time per run) and when I'm not playing through the story I'll just have quick blasts of pursuit runs. Trying to get a high score pursuit run is great arcade style fun and you can compete with friends for the most bounty earned. Even if you've not played this for a while, it is always fun to throw it on for an hour just for the cop chases themselves. Re-doing the blacklist does not feel like a chore and somehow keeps it fun-factor after many play-through's. There is also an additional option if you really need something else to do and that's the 'Challenge Series', which is tough to beat and will take some time. So how long will this game last you? Probably forever...
Final Score:- 10/10
It is very rare I find a game of this caliber, but this is no exaggeration. NFS: Most Wanted is a must have game. I've played this more than some of the great's such as Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time or Metroid Prime and even though I loved those franchises, it will take a lot more to beat the awesomeness of Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
Razor: Another Bolton wonder-boy lookin' to get smoked?...
Mia: Bolton or not... that ride is hot!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 01/18/13
Game Release: Need for Speed Most Wanted (EU, 11/25/05)
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