This marks the ten year anniversary of the Need for Speed franchise and Need for Speed Most Wanted is the latest edition to the Need for Speed series from EA. Need for Speed Most Wanted combines street racing with tuner customization, police pursuits, and a wide range of vehicles. Work your way to the top of the Blacklist to become the most notorious street racer while you evade the cops and out race your rivals. Let’s hit the streets and see who comes out on top or if they are just left sucking exhaust fumes.In Need for Speed Most Wanted you must build street respect and a rap sheet by out-running and out-foxing the cops as you work your way up the blacklist and take on the most notorious street racers in head-to-head races along the way. You can buy and even win new cars from the people you beat on the blacklist for a total of 36 cars including the BMW M3, Porsche Cayman, Lamborghini Gallardo, RX-8, Mustang GT and Mitsubishi Eclipse.
Game modes for Need for Speed Most Wanted are Career mode - Your bounty and rap sheet are closely monitored by the cops to determine who is on the blacklist, Free Roam - Race around to get the lay of the land and beg to be found, Quick Race Mode - Jump right into a race with the event type, track and car picked for you, Custom Race - You pick the car, track and race, and Online Mode where you can pick the car and join or make your own race to go head-to-head against anyone in the world to see how good you are.
Gameplay in Need for Speed Most Wanted is very challenging especially the higher you make it up the blacklist. With each new racer on the blacklist you must perform more challenges on the milestone list and race list. To beat the first person on the blacklist you must beat three milestone challenges and three races, but by the time you reach number six you must beat seven races and five milestones. Races can be anything from drag races, sprint races, time challenges going from one toll booth to the next, or even elimination races. Milestones can include evading the cops in less than three minutes, tag 22 cop cars and evade capture, evade eight roadblocks, or cost the state $75,000 to chase you and evade capture. Each race you win earns money and with each milestone won you increase your bounty. With each person on the blacklist you must earn so much bounty to race them after you meet the milestone and race numbers. As you work your way up the blacklist the cops get harder and harder to out-fox and the races get harder as well. So, along the way you must upgrade your car or cars to beat each race. As you complete races you earn money to customize your cars with new engines, transmissions, body kits, NOS, chargers, tires, rims, paint, chassis and more.
The world in Need for Speed Most Wanted is wide open and is unlocked as you make your way up the blacklist. After all the areas are open it is very big and can be a help or hindrance when trying to get away from the cops. You can use short-cuts, the traffic and destructible targets such as signs, houses, buildings etc. to get away from the cops; doing this will give you a little time to get away because the cops stop to see if anyone was hurt. If the cops are chasing you and you get a chance you can duck into a tunnel or parking garage; anywhere out of sight of the cops.
As you play and cops chase you, your heat level rises from 1-10. The more heat you have the more cops will throw at you. Their SUV’s will run into you head-on, helicopters follow overhead, tire spikes and road blocks are put up and more. The higher you are up the blacklist the harder it gets to out-run or out-fox the cops so you must know the environment. If your heat level gets too high head to the safe house and change cars to one that does not have as high of a heat level. This is a multi-car game and if you stick with one car and get it towed three times you will see a game over screen and have to start all over again. If you go in and change the color, body kit, and rims it will drop the heat level on that car because they think it’s a different car.
Graphically Need for Speed Most Wanted looks like no other in the series. With normal mapping and real time lighting it brings the game to a whole new level for racing. The speed of the game is very fast with no slow downs or choppiness. The game moves just as fast with two cars on the screen as well as with ten and a helicopter flying overhead. As the helicopter flies overhead it kicks up dust or water if it is raining outside. The buildings are well detailed along with the roads, dock, park, golf course and cities at both slow and high speeds. The windows on the buildings, as well as your car windows shine like sun is shining down on them. The sun glare in some levels as you come over a hill or head into the sun is lifelike to the point you can’t see the road ahead of you. If you hit a guard rail or wall you can see sparks, hit a water barrel and water flies out of it, hit a cop car and see damage to it, hit cones or road signs and they fly over or out of the way. Running into destructible targets such as the water tower, boats, signs, etc. causes the game to break to a screen where you see the target fall down and then you’re back to the race.
Sound effects and the rocking soundtrack for Need for Speed Most Wanted is very well done. Groups include Styles of Beyond, The Perceptionists, Rock, Suni Clay, Avenged Sevenfold, and Static-X giving a total of 26 songs in all. You can just feel yourself driving faster to the music as it builds. The sound effects include car crashes, tires screeching, cops talking to one another and the dispatcher on the radio. Make sure you listen to the radio banter very closely, it will tell you where cops are coming from as well as where road blocks are and how to go to get around them. You can here the cops talking and telling other ones to go to the left of the road block to get around. If you don’t have time to go around and crash into the road block you hear the sound of breaking glass and metal. If you run over a tire spike strip you hear your tires blow out and the rims of your car scraping on the road surface.
Need for Speed Most Wanted is a great game and the best one of the Need for Speed series so far. Fast speeds with the endless customization of cars with a choice of tuners and exotic cars gives one endless hours of play. The great soundtrack and great replay value keeps you coming back for more. At some point the cops do seem a little hard to shake, but it does not take away from the game play. I can highly recommend this game for the racer in all of us. Take to the streets and see if you can out run the cop; who hasn’t wanted to do that?
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