Review by wolfycookie
"A solid effort but lacks a few simple things like lets say...character."
Ok this is Criterions second need for speed game coming from 2010"s Need for Speed Hot Pursuit. The game is a very solid arcade racer, but I can not help but be disappointed that there is less here to draw racing fans in compared to what has been done before. I'm not sure why games these days are slimmed down to the bare bones essentials and stripped of any character whatsoever, this is an example of such a game that has gone on a diet and lost all the trimmings.
The game is more akin to the burnout series with real cars, and strays far away from what most know as a "need for speed game." While this is misleading and will disappoint fans hoping for a true Most wanted sequel. I have to say that this is still a solid game worth a look. The game is very similar to burnout paradise, you compete in races, time challenges, cop chases, and smash through billboards and gates for points which allow you to challenge the top 10 most wanted drivers in the city.
The game has some very detailed graphics and runs at a solid frame rate, controls are very responsive and allow for some great arcade drifts and racing. Being chased by the cops is actually quite exciting and challenging, more so than previous need for speed or burnout games. If you finish a race no matter if you won or lost cops will still chase you if they began the pursuit in the middle of the race.
One major let down in the game is that there is no story, no crazy rival drivers and personality whatsoever. You don't even earn credits to purchase better cars which takes away from any sense of progression. You acquire cars by simply finding them on the map and you can take them YOINK!. Each car has its own set of challenges to complete, but the unlocks to upgrade each vehicle is mostly the same anyway and you have to do it over and over again. Add that to the fact that there is no story makes this game feel like just a glorified tech demo.
Heck you cant even play as the cops offline OR online. I cant comprehend why the game did not have this feature when it was so successful in Hot Pursuit (2010). The game has a massive open world that is wasted because this mode was left out.
There is also no visual customization of any sort besides having your car randomly change color when you drive through gas stations, there is very little here. You can upgrade nitro's car strength, weight, tires etc, but nothing like aftermarket parts, spoilers rims etc. It seems like they got the burnout paradise code and just pasted it onto the most wanted title and added some real world cars. Speaking of which, the game only has 41 cars, while this will please some, it is rather small in quantity compared to other similar racers. There is also very few classic muscle cars.
I really wanted to like most wanted and had no doubt that it should have been a tripe AAA racing game, but as it stands there is no sense of progression and no sense of being attached to any sort of favourite car or self progress within the game. By not having any story at all or being able to earn your cars really hurts the game and is a missed opportunity. It sounds like I have really bagged the game, but it is still quite solid to play and I had some fun with it. I probably would have had more fun if they just named this Burnout Paradise 2. It's too bad as there are older racing games that are simply of better quality and offer a lot more to do. Try Midnight club LA, test drive unlimited 2, or heck even Need for Speed Undercover. As it stands they are better and would also be cheaper.
I'd recommend to try before you buy. 6 out of 10.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 11/05/12
Game Release: Need for Speed: Most Wanted - A Criterion Game (Limited Edition) (EU, 11/02/12)
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