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The latest in the Need for Speed series sees a slight change to the core gameplay. Although progress is still based around a series of races, the action has now been transferred to a more open world environment. Your target is to climb the lists of the drivers Most Wanted by the police and acquire enough "bad boy" points to take the number one spot in the rankings.
As you would now expect from such a well-established series, presentation is excellent. The graphics are impressive and look very crisp and clear. The city you are racing in feels massive and there are many different areas (industrial zones, freeways, mountain roads) and to help vary the scenery and give the impression of a real, vibrant, living city.
The array of cars available in the game is particularly impressive, ranging from some pretty bog standard stuff, through to some more unusual choices (such as the Bugatti Veron) The cars all look superb. I'm no car buff, so I have no idea how faithful they are to their real life counterparts, but they all look stunning. There is a real difference in the ways the cars handle. Some are easy to steer at speed, others are dogs. This adds an extra element of challenge as you have to learn the quirks of their handling to get the best out of them Again, I've no idea how realistic their handling is when compared to the real life models, but they feel right in the context of the game.
The only real criticism with the graphics is that, when travelling at speed, it can sometimes be difficult to make out turns in the road. This can either lead to many frustrating crashes or missing a crucial turn mid-race that sees you drop several crucial places in a matter of seconds. Yes, there is an on-screen map to help with this, but sometimes the speeds are so great that it's not always possible to watch this and drive at the same time.
There's a real sensation of speed as you race around the city. You'd expect this from a racing game, but it's not always implemented well. Here it is, and at the top speeds, scenery just flies by, moving along at a deeply impressive pace. There's no doubt that racing along at top speeds in some of the cars in Most Wanted is a genuinely exhilarating experience.
Sound is also excellent, if a little more generic. It has the same annoying voice-over as other NFS titles (although curiously it wasn't quite as annoying in this one; perhaps I'm just getting used to it!) whilst a range of tunes accompany you whilst you race. Best of all are the noises the cars make. The engines throb mightily, as they should and there's none of this weedy sounding nonsense you get from some titles. Similarly crashes look and sound painful, as metal scrapes against metal or meets concrete.
The downside is that the gameplay has been altered. The open world environment is welcome, but it's sometimes lacking a sense of challenge. Every single car in the game is instantly available for you to find and use (unlike most games where the better cars are rewards for completing a race. As such, Most Wanted can feel a little overwhelming and aimless at times. Because there are so many cars to find and so many individual races for those cars to compete in, it can be tricky to decide how best to approach the game. Do you stick to one car and do all the races in that one? Or do you drive around the city, leaping into a new car every time you see one and leaving some challenges for your current vehicle uncompleted? Although it's fun to be able to do what you want, when you want to, it also means that Most Wanted lacks some focus.
The game also lacks those medium term goals, crucial for keeping you hooked. There are plenty of races to complete (short term goals) and a good long term objective (become Most Wanted), but the mid-term goals that will keep you playing are missing. Racing around the streets causing havoc and getting flashed by speed cameras is fun for a while, but it's not enough to sustain interest. Whilst the individual elements of Most Wanted are fun, I found that my gaming sessions were much shorter than on other racing games because there was nothing there to keep me playing. Don't get me wrong, Most Wanted is fun, but I do have to be in the mood for it.
This being an EA game, of course, they can't resist sneaking premium content in there, which requires you to pay more to unlock certain cars. This is deeply annoying on two counts. Firstly, when I've bought a game, I don't expect to have to pay more to unlock certain elements. Secondly (and in some ways more seriously) it destroys the atmosphere of the game. The world of Most Wanted is well constructed and draws you into it. Then you come across a premium car, try and drive off in it, only to be greeted by the PSN Purchase screen. This instantly destroys the atmosphere and pulls you out of the game. Way to go, EA.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted is a bit of a curate's egg. The presentation and basic gameplay are fun with the opportunity to race around an open world environment discovering a massive number of cars. At the same time, it can sometimes feel rather aimless and repetitive. It's worth playing certainly, but it's not the best game in the Need for Speed series.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted is currently available for between £10-15. If you're a Playstation Plus subscriber, it's currently free to download.
© Copyright SWSt 2013
I had been waiting for this game for so long ever since the first installment, which I loved and played over and over again. When it was announced at E3 2012 I was really excited, I was wrapped up in exams and had a massive backlog of games to play so I only picked it up around 3 weeks ago, from Cex for £25.
I personally have always loved racing games, loved both burnout and need for speed. It seems that the need for speed name has been bought out by Criteron, the owners of the Burnout series. I have not heard much from the Burnout series maybe they have taken a break to work on the many need for speed titles as late or they have given up on it, I can't say for sure.
Need for speed as a brand are not loyal to any platform. Most of their games are available on Xbox, PlayStation and PC, ever since 1994. Some of their games have been a great success and some such as hot pursuit have been an almighty failure. I let these go as the games that are good are amazing.
The game itself starts off with some cinematics and a robot like female voice explaining the premise of the game and what you will have to do, it seems short and sweet under 5 minutes and then you will be put straight into a race to start the game, I started off with the Porsche 911 but some friends said they had started off with different cars. You find the cars at 'jackspots' and you can switch between any cars you have found at any time, excluding those that need to be purchased. You do this through the Easydrive feature.
Now Easydrive is a new feature added to the need for speed franchise, you press the right button on the D pad (PS3) which will bring up a menu on the left side of the screen with a range of things to choose from, these are:
-Races. You will choose from a range of races that are specific to each car, each car has its own set. Although they are the same type of races there would be a sprint, circuit, average speed race etc. If you do not have the expansion packs to races for each car will be locked, you would need to purchase terminal velocity and one other to unlock these. Before all the races there is a cinematic which is cool to start with but gets annoying after about the 100th time.
-Customise car. Every car has customisation options but only for performance purposes, the only way you can put your stamp on the car is with a custom licence plate. Which is very disappointing as customisation was a massive part of the first need for speed: Most wanted. Though this is more in depth than the performance design in the first instalment. You choose from Tires, Nitrous, Chassis, Body and Transmission. You get the same ones for every car with the same challenges to make them a pro version, which can get very repetitive and annoying for a long period of time, I cannot play this game for too long without getting disinterested. As there is no real 'end' point the story as such in this game is very weak and almost non existent again a big part of the first one, disappointing.
-Change car. Pretty self explanatory, you go to the make of car, choose the model and transport to it. Obviously once you have found the jack spot in the world for that car.
-Most Wanted cars. This is a list of the most wanted drivers you have to beat, you need a certain amount of speed points to race these cars, which if I'm honest are very easy to earn in this game. With the expansion packs there are also 4 more most wanted cars to take down with each pack. This is the story of the game, as I have said pretty non existent, no character development as the first one had a lot of.
-Multiplayer. This transports you to the multiplayer playground, you go to a meet up with other players and race, before all races though there is a challenge to gain some extra speed points. I have played a few some are how many takedowns you can get in a certain area in 5 minutes, how long you can drift in a certain area, how big a jump you can do etc. The other drivers can take you down while you do this though and this will eliminate you from the challenge, which can get frustrating.
The game has many makes of car varying from Ariel to Aston Martin, it is mind blowing the amount of cars that are in this game but if you can find the best one it seems counterproductive to switch to a less powerful one, though if your like me you just like to have an experience with all the cars and do all the races.
Now onto the racing, the point of the races is to earn the upgrades to your car, which are needed to beat the fastest cars, the stock stuff just isn't enough. You get easy, medium and hard races, which can get quite easy with a fully upgraded car, though bare in mind the first time you do these you won't have any upgrades. Though one thing I found is that if the autolog alert tells you that your friend has a faster time you can do that particular race in any car you decide to, which I find a bit stupid. The AI for the police seems rushed and stupid as they seem to just miss you all the time during races and pursuits they cannot corner you, maybe it's because I played the first one so much but I just feel the game in general is too easy for a seasoned player. The multiplayer saved this game for me, gave it endless replay ability and a way to get away from the sometimes dull single player.
Going back to the subject of the multiplayer, the cars are different on multiplayer to the single player, your progress does not carry over, you have to complete multiplayer challenges to unlock the upgrades for the cars online, which I find good as its a separating barrier, though at first it did annoy me. It does seem that the people that have bought the expansions are better but what do you expect really? This is EA we are talking about.
Another slightly new thing is Autolog 2.0, autolog was first introduced in the 2010 hot pursuit, to track progress of yourself and your friends and give you an incentive to beat them at races, it is integrated with Easydrive. As you get extra speed point for beating your friends times.
This game is available for £25 at Cex and even cheaper on amazon but the price keeps changing so I would check it before you buy.
In conclusion this game is great to pass the time and you feel like cruising around the place in any car you could want. It is not suited for long periods of play as it will get boring, though I don't know there are so many bad points about this game I still like it a lot, maybe its the name I don't know but I don't discount this game even with all it's faults. I would recommend this game for around £20 to pass the time, it is good in short bursts.
I love racing games, always have - always been absolutely shocking at the though and that's to be honest never stopped me playing them. Which sounds silly, but I just like having a go and hoping one day I do improve - the problem comes when I play with my other half, because he is really quite good at them and really puts me to shame and really does rip it out of me because I'm awful. I'm a good sport though and carry on playing anyway, and just crashing into him to annoy him...
Pleased that's not how our relationship works!
~*~ Need for Speed ~*~
EA sports that provide us with the brilliant games that are the Need for Speed brand, have been on the scene for a while now. Need for Speed have been bringing us games since about 1994, they have been on varying consoles since they started producing them - from PC all the way up to PS Vita, including the original Xbox and the Nintendo GameCube. Within the series they have created sixteen games, that have been available across varying platforms - and even now you can get some on your phone and hand held consoles. When it comes to racing games, most people will have head of or played a Need for Speed game at some point. For me, well I'd only ever played one NfS game in the past and that was on the Wii - which didn't really work as well as I'd hoped, so knew that with my PlayStation it would work a bit better. My other half went and bought this game, and spent an entire weekend teasing me with it - can see how it came to be that I really wanted the game in my collection even though I'm awful at racing games! Most Wanted is a game that has been out in a different guise before, some may remember back in 2005 - because it holds the idea of being chased by police around a city. Simple premise, with extras where you might not expect them!
~*~ Controller ~*~
Now my main problem with using the controller on this game, is that normally for racing games to have any sense of being able to control the car I need to be able to use the directional buttons to do so. However on this you have to use the left joystick to control the car, which I just find so difficult to manipulate the cars, now it might be me just being utterly useless, but they seem to be quite skittish cars and using the joystick just makes it worse. The rest of the buttons can be changed around because they aren't the ones which control the Autolog, one of the most annoying things in the world in my opinion - especially for when you just start playing you're not really going to get far in developing your car, and the Autolog just gets in the way. Especially when you get into the game from the last place you saved it has to pop up, and it's got a woman as it's voice and well she just drives me up the wall. It's only really useful if you've been playing for a long time and you're upgrading your cars regularly between races. Admittedly it is easier than having to go into a main menu to go and change your car, it's in game editing which is much easier - but for me it was just a hindrance to how far I could actually go when driving my car, because well I spent the majority of my time crashing from an over sensitive joystick, I'm trying to learn how to do drifts and the usual car activities with it but it still annoys. I'm learning, but very slowly - don't think my boyfriend has the patience to teach me how to do it either if I'm honest!
~*~ The Cars ~*~
The cars, where do I start! Now this first thing was the main reason I wanted to play this game, admittedly now I think it's just a bonus - are the Jack Spots, where you go out just for a bit of a drive around the map and see what kind of motors you can come across, so the easiest cars to find are always going to be the less prestigious ones unfortunately, so you'll have an old Porsche and some more cars that you see a lot of on the roads, to start with I got quite excited about having a Range Rover Evoque - purely because I'd quite like one of my own! There are Lamborghini's and Ferrari's, fancy Audi's and the occasional American truck and a few Ford's dotted about here and there. It's an addictive beginning to the game going and looking for cars, it's a good way to get a feel for the roads and get an idea of the direction you're going in. Also if you're not driving around to fast, which to be honest you can't if you're car hunting then you can get away with not getting chased by Mr Police Man! The bit I like most when you've got a car are the places on the side of the streets that you can drive through to fix your car, you can change the colour of the car every time you go through one but to be fair there is only a few different colours which you can change your car too but it's a challenge to see if you can get through the garage without getting caught by the police men, the damage you get to the cars is only aesthetic damage though. Which is a bonus because by now the amount of times I've rolled mine or crashed it into walls, street lamps, giant trucks or off the edge of roads it's unreal. I will say it's not all that true to life, but in a game like this I don't really expect it to be - however have a close up of your battered and bashed car and you will see every smash in the window screen it does make me laugh to be honest. Especially if you're driving around in, say the Ariel Atom and you roll it, in reality the drivers head would be about 50 yards in the opposite direction but in this game you stay firmly attached it's great!
~*~ Racing ~*~
As you race round the city, you will come across areas that are designated race spots - when you get to them there is a button combination which you need to press to make the wheels spin which signals that you are ready to race. Depending where on the map you are, depends what kind of race you get into, just playing in the game you will race against a computer - races are of varying difficulty but they do give you warning before you start playing them so you know if you're going for an easy, medium, or hard race - only problem is for someone like me that is a serious novice, having a medium race, means crashing and being at the back the majority of the time. Bonus is though that you can repeat them as often as you like, and you might get a couple of points for just taking part in the races. I'm awful at the races with the computer, but put me in a race with police cars and I seem to manage beautifully. Although with the races you can earn extras to upgrade your cars which to be honest is the point of the races so you can upgrade your cars to faster, better suspension and just generally make them more appropriate for racing, including nitrous - I have none of those things, but I have watched Alex get them! For doing things, such as getting caught by speed cameras, and beating speeds that friends on your network have done it gives points, avoiding being caught by police gives you lots of extra points and to be fair this is the thing I love doing the most. I love getting into a car chase with the police, the great thing is the more rules you break, more speed cameras you get flashed through, and the more blockades you break the more points you get and the heat level on the game increases. Which means the police cars get faster and better, so you better make sure you have a good fast car to be able to get away from them. The heat goes from one to six, by the time you get to six you better be a good evasive driver, to avoid the police. I've done it once and it nearly damaged my hand while I was playing it's not one for those that are inexperienced playing games because it will end up hurting because it's one of those games that you find you get really into really quickly!
~*~ Multi-player ~*~
Is online, it is essentially the same races that are in the single player, but it is just point to point racing so you end up racing between races. Depending on who you've got playing with you to how good the races are, if you're racing with friends its obviously going to be much better because you know who you're racing, and you can chat at the same time and it makes it a pleasurable experience. It's hilarious playing between myself and my boyfriend because he's really good and I just spend the entire time crashing but because there is only two of us I still get some points. Not many but enough so that occasionally I can add other things to my car to make sure I crash a bit faster.
I'm pants but I love it!
~*~ Extras ~*~
You need to race the Most Wanted in the game to unlock the better cars, which means racing against these 10 Most wanted men to get the best cars including the Veyron and my favourite car - Aventador, but I'm never going to get that far to be able to get the cars, but I can live with that because Alex has them so I can just steal his on his console if I really feel like racing my favourite Lambo, It's a great game to pass some time, especially with a lot of cars to find in the game, and with packs you can add extra to make sure you've got some seriously prestigious cars in your repertoire if you want to race them - but obviously that costs money from the PlayStation store. This game is for those who love racing games at any level, even if you don't get very far with it it's worth playing just for a laugh with your friends and a mission to get as many good cars as you can fancy. I've had this game since about September last year, and even now I'm still playing it, so that's a good 6 months of play for about £25 so I really can't complain for the price! I think I'll still be playing it in 6 months as well, because I haven't found all the cars yet, and I'm still trying to persuade Alex to teach me how to play properly!
~*~ Price and Availability ~*~
This is currently £15.99 in Argos! Which is an utter bargain so if you want it for PS3... Get to Argos! Or Amazon it's also £15.99 so if you've got vouchers and don't know what to do with them, get this game it'll be well worth the money, and all the hours glued to your PlayStation.
I recommend this to anyone with a PS3, Xbox or PC