Also Known As: NFS:MW, NFS: Most Wanted, Most Wanted
Genre: Racing
Platform(s): PC, X-Box, X-Box 360, PS2, Gamecube
Allegiance: EA Games
Vintage: 2005
Rating: T
Intelligence Agency Report by: Dave K
You are an up and comer in the Rockport racing scene. But some foul play and your ride gets swiped in a race by Razor, a member of the Blacklist. Now he’s #1 on the Blacklist and he got there with your ride. You’ve got fight your way up the Blacklist from the bottom and take him down with the help of fellow racer Mia, all the while avoiding Sergeant Cross who’s looking to take you all down.

Weapons Expert Report by: Dave K
Story/Premise
Gameplay
Impact
Visual
Audio
8.50
7.75
8.25
9.00
6.75
Overall 8.25
(not an average)
Version Reviewed: X-Box 360

This latest game continues similar to the Need for Speed: Underground series, and once again, you’re street racing in a tricked-out stock car. This time around, there are a few noticeable changes. Mainly, there are no more SUVs, and there is a lot more variety in the cars available, including North American models like the Dodge Viper and the Ford GT and European models like the Renault Clio and the Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren, as well as the reintroduction of police into the series.

The controls for racing games have not really changed over the years, and barring some sort of change in the mechanisms by which we drive, the controls will stay the same. Thus, the only changes made have been to how the controls respond. In this game, terrain affects your steering a lot more than in previous Need for Speed games, as your car is more likely to skid and spin sideways if you are driving off the pavement. The only flaw I’ve found with the control is that braking can cause your vehicle to spin out of control regardless of what type of surface you are on. Another interesting thing they added was a mode called Speedbreaker, which is basically bullet time. You can use it to duck underneath trailers on big rigs or pull off other stunts that require precise timing. However, it’s not as useful as it sounds since it doesn’t last very long and takes time to build up.

The soundtrack has always been the weak point of the Need for Speed series and in this case it was rather mediocre. There are very few tracks, and they have a complete lack of variety whatsoever. Sound effects were well done at times (engine revving, hitting a spike strip and burnouts) and not so well done at other times (gear shifts, other cars approaching, and the helicopter). As with Need for Speed: Underground 2, you get a hot chick that can’t act as the girl helping you out. The acting in the cut scenes looks like it’s taken from a ridiculously high-tech C-movie and that goes for all the characters.

Visually, this game is down right awesome. The cars look absolutely amazing without being decked out in gaudy decals, and the traffic, the police, and the cityscape are all a lot more detailed than in previous games. It is also nice to be driving in daylight in this game as opposed to the night time driving in the Need for Speed: Underground titles. The only problem I had is that it always seems to be right around sunset and if you’re facing in a certain direction you’ll be blinded by the sun, which makes hitting an oncoming Mack truck a lot more likely.

The story behind Need for Speed: Most Wanted was a bit weak. It was consistent but there was not a lot of effort put into any back story. The gist of the whole game is that to face each member of the Blacklist, you need to complete a certain number of races and rack up enough of a bounty with the police. It’s pretty simple, but it works. The only character with any personality is Razor who is a sniveling coward afraid of you getting back your car, and the only character that ends up developing is Mia, because she has a secret.

When all is said and done, Need for Speed: Most Wanted is one of the better racing games out there. The online play (for PC or X-Box Live) is nothing great but definitely worth checking out. While the sound department did a sub-par job, the controls weren’t perfect and the storyline is weak this game is still on the verge of greatness. It is definitely one game worth getting your grubby little hands on.