Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Game Review (Need for Speed: Most Wanted (Criterion, 2012) - 360)

Graphics: Most Wanted has plenty of pluses and minuses graphically. When I first saw this game for the first time I thought it looked outstanding. Once I got it, I was underwhelmed. It still looks good, but nothing like the videos. Edges of cars and the environment have a choppy appearance, and the city in the distance really looks like a PS1 or PS2/Xbox game. When it comes down to the races, sense of speed, and the cars themselves though, it looks fairly impressive... especially with how the framerate holds up -- for the most part -- when there are a bunch of cops and/or crashes on-screen. The temporary blindness when looking into the sunset or when coming out of a tunnel is also a nice effect. 4/5

Sound: Again, positives and negatives here. First, some positives: The cars sound awesome, especially if you have a pair of headphones for your 360 (Tritton, Turtle Beach, etc.). The way the cars echo in tunnels and in alleyways is great. It's nice to see Criterion add things like that to the game. The soundtrack, I think, is pretty good. It has a nice mix of dubstep and hard rock that only add the experience when in a race. The downside I have with the soundtrack already is that in just about 3 hours of playtime, I have heard some songs 5 times already. I'm not sure how many tracks are in the game, but my assumption is that it isn't many. If you don't like the song list, you can turn it off completely, or use your own playlist. The biggest downfall -- and it's not really a huge one -- with NFS:MW would have to be the police chatter. It's always the same routine ... "What make and model? What color? We need more cops. These guys aren't messing around. These guys are good." It's really rather redundant, and it's a shame, because it could have added a lot to the game. 4/5

Fun: My first impression of this game wasn't all that great. I was pretty underwhelmed. The more I explored the city, unlocked cars, completed races, and especially tried out the multiplayer, the more I enjoyed it. While the game only contains 41 cars, there is enough to do with each of them to keep you playing this game -- even on single player -- for quite a decent while. The biggest downfall of this game is probably the single player, surprisingly enough. It's been a lot of fun so far, but after just a few hours of playing the game, I'm almost halfway done with getting all of the Most Wanted cars. I really just wish Criterion/EA added more content to the disc. Thankfully, the multiplayer makes me forgive this lack of single player depth. The challenges in multiplayer are, for the most part, very entertaining. While the online isn't without flaws (They're rather minor things, but you'll pick up on them quite quickly if you decide to hop online), it's definitely entertaining, and playing this game without the Online Pass would take away a LOT of what Most Wanted has to offer. 4.25/5

If you have any interest in racing games, you have to get this game. After zipping through the city and thinking I had seen everything, I explored areas I had no idea existed. Fairhaven is a vast, fun city to race around in, and it's only better with friends or even randoms. It may not be without its problems, and it could use a bit more depth, but this exhilarating, essential sequel to Burnout Paradise makes Need for Speed: Most Wanted a must-buy for adrenaline junkies.

Pros: Multiplayer -- in short bursts, variety of Fairhaven's landscapes, varied car list.
Cons: No cops in multiplayer, minor online bugs, 41 cars seems a bit low, short single-player experience, city's just too small.


EDIT 11/1/12: The more I play this, the more I wonder why it's $60. It's no doubt an entertaining game, and I'll be playing it for awhile before selling it, but it's too much money for what it is, really. The single player story is nonexistent. The Most Wanted races are easy to attain Speed Points to play, and easy to complete. The city is fairly interesting despite its small size. The multiplayer is fun, but only in short bursts.
I originally gave this game about an 8.5, but I think I'd really give it more of a 7.5. Fun, but I don't see it lasting a long time. Hot Pursuit was the same way. For whatever reason I gave that game a 9, even though I had beaten it to 100% completion and lost interest in just over a week, as fun as it was.