Need for Speed: Most Wanted Updated Hands-On

G4's G-Phoria awards show brings another look at a demo version of EA's upcoming street racer.

LOS ANGELES--Since E3, the opportunity to see in-development Xbox 360 games has been scarce. So even though EA was only showing the same E3 demo of Need for Speed: Most Wanted today at G4's awards show, G-Phoria, we still had to grab a controller and run through it a couple more times just to get a feel for one of the better-looking launch titles we've seen so far for Microsoft's upcoming monster box.

The very short demo allowed one drag race against a single opponent through a busy street in an industrial area of town. Most Wanted plays pretty much like your standard street racer, with a nitrous boost at your disposal for extra speed. But the biggest new feature is the speed breaker, which slows down time and also improves the handling of your car so you can take impossibly tight turns or avoid a whole lot of trouble without too much hassle. The 360 version of the game looks far superior to the Xbox and PS2 ones we saw a couple of weeks ago, with more pronounced lighting effects and higher detail in the cars and especially the environments. Most Wanted certainly ranks near the top of the list in graphical terms among the 360's launch lineup.

The most encouraging thing about the demo we saw was that it seemed to be running more smoothly than it was at E3, and whether that fact owes more to EA's development prowess or Microsoft's tightening of the 360's hardware, it's nice to see things are coming together for the system's launch, which is expected worldwide before Christmas this year. We'll bring you more on Most Wanted and the 360 as soon as we get it.

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