Need for Speed: Most Wanted is Just Another Criterion Racer. That may seem dismissive, but it's anything but. Criterion has a knack for making racing games that are equal parts addictive, fun, frustrating and rewarding. NfS:MW is no exception.

It has many of the typical Criterion touches: bright sun reflecting off wet road, leaving you blind; obstacles that blend perfectly with the background; and AI racers that seem hellbent on pummeling you out of their way instead of racing. NfS:MW also includes billboard breaking and gate smashes first seen in Burnout:Paradise. In fact, this game almost feels like Burnout: Paradise 2 at times...with cops.

The single-player is pretty shallow. After taking down the 10 Most Wanted vehicles, there isn't much left to do except the racing equivalent of RPG grinding: find each vehicle, upgrade it and beat all of that vehicle's races. Sure, you can start looking for all of the billboards, gates and vehicles lying around, but that can grow fairly tiresome.

The multiplayer, on the other hand, is great, but not without its shortcomings, too. Taking another cue from Paradise, you can enter multiplayer with a few presses of the D-pad. Once online, Speedlists (sets of 5 challenges or races) keep the gameplay moving. The event types are not limited only to races. There are team races, where takedowns can be just as vital as winning the race, and speedtests, small challenges like performing drifts, near misses or jumps, to keep the action fresh.

If you're a fan of past Criterion racing games, the gameplay of this title won't disappoint.

Travis   Admin wrote on 12/04/2012 at 10:22pm

This was recently on sale for Black Friday. I read some Amazon reviews that said basically "This is terrible, it isn't even a NFS game, it's basically Burnout Paradise 2!"

Well, I thought, SIGN ME UP!

Burnout Paradise is such an amazing game. Looking forward to digging into Most Wanted.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 12/05/2012 at 02:27am

Yeah, this sounds good. Do you recommend Most Wanted for someone that really only has experience with Mario Kart as a game to start with?

Travis   Admin wrote on 12/05/2012 at 03:05am

If it's like Burnout Paradise, yes. I haven't actually started it yet. As you know, I have a bit of a backlog and now that you have me playing SC2... well...

But Burnout Paradise is an amazing game, and I'm sold on Criterion's ability to make a fun, accessible, but challenging game.

Travis   Admin wrote on 12/05/2012 at 03:30am

Jon, if you decide to get it, and you're looking for someone to race with, I have it for PC. You'll have to venture into Origin territory.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 12/05/2012 at 06:20am


Well, I might get an Origin account eventually OR it seems EA is dropping enough games Steam's direction. HMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

beansmyname   Supporter   Post Author wrote on 12/07/2012 at 10:51pm

I would not recommend this to casual race fans. Criterion Games' racers tend to straddle the line between hardcore racer ala Gran Turismo and the arcade style of their own Burnout series.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 12/07/2012 at 11:42pm

That makes sense, thanks bean.

Travis   Admin wrote on 12/08/2012 at 04:08am

I don't know, Most Wanted feels just like a Burnout game to me. It's like Burnout Paradise + cops. It isn't quite as arcadey as a Cruisin' USA or anything like that, but it's far closer to that than Gran Turismo. I hate those racing simulator games. I can see the appeal, but I'm more in the mood for fast, off-the-wall racing carnage, and this game is delivering that so far.

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