Review by Koala Chamise

"One of the best racing games on PC."

As the latest addition to the NFS series on PC, NFS Most Wanted offers some major and minor upgrade (as well as a few downgrade for that matter). Maybe most of you have played the previous NFS Underground series. Believe me, I have played those games, and this game is nothing like it.

Graphics >>[10/10]
NFSMW features one of the most amazing graphics by today standards. To begin with, we are presented with an awesome cut scene right at the start. In the game itself, there's not much to say about the awesome graphics. Car physics are very detailed, well design environment, particle effects, reflection detail, trees, roads, houses, tunnels, and my personal favorite, bridges, look extremely realistic.

The biggest change in graphics is that now we get to race in daytime. Yes, daytime. Unlike NFSU, you will see a lot of light effects in the game (or should I say sun effects?). Yeah, because you get to race in daylight now, you get very cool special effects called "overbright". It's like when it gets too bright after you get out of a tunnel. It's awesome, let me tell you.

Another thing worth mentioning is the nitro and speedbreaker effect. Most of you know what nitro effects look like, but there is a new feature in the game called speedbreaker that when used, will slow down the world in the speed of light. Well, sort of.

Simply put, the graphic is amazing. Nice job on bringing the game to sunlight. By the way, if you want maximum graphic detail (to "enjoy" all the features I told above) you will need superior graphic cards (such as the 6800 ultra or X800 thing) as the game is quite heavy itself. Very impressive.

Sound >>[10/10]
Well, what do you expect from a racing game? Yeah, the sound of car, the sound of engines, tires, and the sound of wind rushing through as you drive 200 miles per hour. Yeah, those standards are in the game.

As always, we are presented with EA Trax, a compilation of rock, metal, hip hop, rap, and techno music. It may not suit everyone, but it does fit tight in the game. You will enjoy it.

Story >>[8/10]
Rather good in comparison to the previous NFS games. It actually gives the right motivation to play through the end. Unlike NFSU, this game really has a story, for a racing game anyway.

You are someone (well, you have to name your character you know) who just come to Rockport City. After a few days of racing and stuff, you get to race Razor, the main villain of the game. Well now you bet on your car. You lose because Razor set you up. As if left alone with no car isn't bad enough, the cops caught you and put you in the jail for illegal racing. Lucky for you, after sometime, they let you out, and what do you know, there's Mia, a girl who took kindly after you (for some reason). Now you have to start from all over again. You have to climb to the top of the blacklist (a list of "Most Wanted" street racers, hence the title), and beat Razor, who apparently use your ride to get to the top, and get your ride back. Along the way you will meet Rog, who kindly take after you, as well as Sgt. Cross, a cop dedicated to bring all of you street racers down.

So to sum it up, you have to get to the top of the blacklist, while avoiding the cops. It has a lot of plot twist along the way, and the ending is a good one, but I'm not going to spoil it here. Play it yourself.

Gameplay >>[9/10]
The usual routine is here. Race, earn money, customizes your ride. There are a few additions to the kind of races we have here in NFSMW. Speedtrap, where your speed will be recorded in certain checkpoint in the game (obviously by some kind of a police tracking device) and your win will be decided by the sum of your recorded speed.

We also have sprint, drag, lap, and lap knockout from the previous game. You should be familiar with that. In addition to that, we no longer have drift races. Obviously, drift races are not "in" in Rockport City.

The biggest change in gameplay (and in the game) is the pursuit mode. If you pay any attention to what I said earlier, you have to avoid the police. This time, for real. In game, there will be special "Milestone" missions that include, for example: trade paint (crash) with several cop rides, evading the pursuit for a set time and below the set time, as well as avoiding roadblocks and spike trap.

You see, sometimes you'll meet police in-race. Should you do, the police will happily join your street race. Now this is quite fun as you will be racing while avoiding the cops.

Okay, the detail for pursuit mode is in the game, so I don't have to explain it here. One thing worth mentioning is that you now have a heat level. If you constantly clash with cops, your heat level will rise, and you will meet stronger opposition, such as heavy SUV, corvettes, and helicopters. To reduce your heat level, you have to paint your ride, change one visual part of your ride, and stuffs (GTA anyone?).

That's for the pursuit mode. Now obviously EA think that One-stop-shopping concept will be good for Rockport City (or they are getting lazy). Yes, you will not find separate upgrade shop like the previous game (engines, specialty, and body shop). All in one shop, from engines, nitros, rims, hoods, to paints and vinyls. Well, great concept if I may say, because it saves you time and energy from running around the town.

The downside of this, is… well, you have limited selections of body parts. You can't install various bumpers and sidestep at the same time for example. The body part is pre determined as a set. Instead of, you get to install "body kit" early because of this. Well, it's kinda cool I guess since the design is nice for each set of body kit. Still, it's a cutback from the previous game.

As always, there're vast selections of parts for you to choose. Spoilers, roof tops, rims, hoods, and stuffs. It's a pity there is no custom door in this game. Simply put, what I want to say, is that this game doesn't really concentrate on customizing cars. It concentrates on races and pursuits (which is hard as hell).

Obviously you will be dying to know what kind of car you will meet here. Most of them are new, and very expensive car too! Porsche, Mercedes, Lamborghini, are just some name you will find in this game. Aston Martin, Chevrolet, you name it we got it. There are also the good old Golf GTI, Mitsubishi Eclipse, and RX 7 & 8. The majorities are new, American cars. Oh, and you won't find the legendary Mazda Miata in here.

Oh-kay, that's enough for the career mode. There's also the new challenge mode (that will challenge your racing and pursuit evasion skill to extreme limit), as well as quick race, and multiplayer mode (really fun).

The last thing I need to mention is the speedbreaker features. This is a new and really, really cool feature. This feature, when used, will slow down your world around. Ever watched Matrix? Yeah, like that. This is really a useful feature for making tight turn or just messing around. And it's quite the special effects too.

So, to sum it up, there are many things ripped off from the previous game, replaced by a lot of new and cool (as well as troublesome) features. This is quite the change from the previous game. Impressive.

Control >>[N/A]
As usual, control differs from car to car. Some car will be responsive, while others won't turn until you bash the button. Oh, and by the way, the way your car behaves can be controlled by performance tuning option. Do you know that? The control is good. Simple theory, hard practice.

Replay ability >>[8/10]
There is much too do when you have finished the career mode. The challenge mode proves entertaining and hard as hell at the same time, but by doing so you can unlock some new cars. You can also earn new cars by tidying odds and ends around your career mode. So much to do.

Fun Factor >>[7/10]
This game is reaaaaaly fun in the beginning, what's with the cool features and stuffs. But the difficulty level starts to pick up as you progress, and well… it can be as hard as hell. No, really. Some races are just so hard you can slam your keyboard to the wall or eat your brain with a spoon. Aside from that, collecting money and bounty is really a chore and you will find replaying some milestone races (the hard ones) a few time. There is no telling how many times I have been frustrated by this game and I almost give up in the process. Glad I didn't.

My advice, play it little by little. If you can't seem to win a certain race, try changing your car or just take a break. Don't let this game get the best of you. Oh, and did I mentioned that the graphics are real i-Candies and are very pleasing to the eyes? Well, now you know.

Overall >>[9/10]
Outstanding. Killer graphic and great gameplay with a few minor flaws. It can be a bit frustrating, but that's it. When you finish the game, you will feel very satisfied and will remember it for times to come. And remember, it's nothing like the previous game.

Buy or Rent?
It's one of the best game (and maybe the best racing game) now in PC, so it's a money well spent should you decide to buy it. Besides, it takes quite some time to finish so you might as well buy it. Especially if you like racing games.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/26/06, Updated 03/16/07

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