Is playing Most Wanted as exciting as driving a Porsche? Well, no, but as Mark finds out, there's still plenty of fun to be had on the virtual streets of Fairhaven.
It was only when the car leapt from the starting line, the engine roaring fiercely and the tyres squealing and smoking on the asphalt, that I finally understood the thrill of motor racing. Not that I was ever truly skeptical. But as someone who lives his life chained to the bright red buses of London town, there's no better way to rekindle ones faith in driving than a 100 MPH, stomach churning thrill ride around the sweeping corners of a German racetrack.
Of course, that's a privilege few will experience. And as I was driven around the circuit, chased by a mocked-up police car that drifted around each and every one of the tight, hard corners, I couldn't help but wonder--in between my girlish screams--what exactly l, a non-driving, entirely skint games journalist was even doing there.
For those not familiar with the inner workings of "the press trip", there's an unwritten rule that states any gathering of journalists--large or small--must be treated to some odd activity loosely connected with the product, service, or person they're actually there to see. Presumably it's all part of an effort to grease the wheels of editorial coverage, or--at the very least--justify a three-day trip to the ass-end of nowhere, when a cosy hour or two with an Xbox in the office would suffice.
In the case of Need For Speed: Most Wanted, a trip to the Porsche factory in Leipzig, Germany seemed apt for a game that features, uhh, Porsches. But then, it features other cars too. Fords, Aston Martins, Lamborghinis; hell, even the wonderful--and British made--Ariel Atom. Perhaps a trip to the Ariel Atom factory in sunny Somerset wasn't quite the experience EA were looking for.
And this was "an experience" after all, one that EA were keen to compare to the virtual world of Most Wanted at every opportunity.
"How does being driving around in the Porsche feel?"
"Yes, but how does it compare to the game?"
"Well, it's real life. There are G-Forces, and physics at work that make the whole damn exciting--different to the game."
"So, as exciting as driving around the awesome virtual racing playground that is the city of Fairhaven?"
"Uhh, well, no…I suppose you could…"
"Just as good then, GREAT."
Let's be clear--just in case there's any confusion--pushing buttons on a controller is not as exciting as being driven around in a top sports car at high speeds by a professional racing driver.
The thing is, Need For Speed: Most Wanted is pretty exciting in its own right. Hell, it's damn good--so long as you're not looking for a proper reboot to the original 2005 release. Gone is the narrative, replaced with--well--nothing. But there are missions, and lots of them. The open-world city of Fairhaven is beautifully detailed, if not that large, and populated with heaps of different races for you to compete in. And they all have one thing in common: Burnout.
Most Wanted is far more weighted towards the Burnout series than it is Need For Speed. There are gloriously destructive slow-motion takedowns, and green mission markers, and the freedom to take whichever route you want to complete a mission--so long as you don't miss a checkpoint. Missions include speed runs, first-past-the-post races, and eliminators, but none of the more exciting stunt and takedown missions from Burnout--at least not that I saw in the time I had with the single-player.
That's a shame, because after a while those racing missions do get a bit tedious, which I promptly discovered upon entering my third hour of play and began gnawing my own arm off. The constant presence of the police--who you must outrun by escaping their circles of vision-- and Autolog did help break up the action, though. Various speed cameras, jumps, and destructible signs were scattered across the city, which flashed up with my friends' (fellow journalists') times and scores as I drove past. That's neat, and a great way to create rivalries, if not entirely enough to distract from the endless racing missions.
There's another mission type on offer in the form of 10 Most Wanted vehicles, with your aim being to steal them all--by which I mean race against them, win, and then takedown the car. It's not an easy thing to do, and frustratingly so sometimes, particularly as I levelled up and unlocked tougher opponents. I did like how, once I'd stolen their car, or one of the many others parked around the city, that I could leap into any of them, at any moment, with just a few button presses and without needing to drive to some lame virtual garage.
But really, the most fun and excitement came from the multiplayer. There I assembled into with seven others into teams and took on playlists of familiar challenges such as catching the most air over ramps, and taking down as many opponents as possible. But it wasn't so much the events themselves as it was the subsequent griefing that took place during them that made them so joyous, and so brilliantly frustrating.
Lining up a perfect run up to a ramp, hoping to catch some serious air only to be sideswiped by a competitor is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Not if you're on the receiving end of it, but so funny when it's you doing the griefing and hear the expletive-filled screams of frustration over your headet. And then the whole thing turns into chaos. Rivalries are created, egos are taken down a notch, and cars are turned in steaming wrecks every few seconds--absolute bliss.
Sure, that's not the same kind of bliss you get from a joyride in a Porsche, or a BMW, or even a clapped out banger on a council estate. But Most Wanted is safer. And cheaper. And doesn't require a midlife crisis. And--above all--it's still a hell of a lot of fun.
This looks really awesome. The sounds are fantastic too. It looks like the controls are really sharp as well judging by the video. I loved the NFS Underground 2 and Most Wanted NFS on Gamecube. I'm very eager to pick this one up for my Vita once it's out.
My opinion? This won't do very well. This isn't the game that Most Wanted fans are expecting for. Like everybody below me mentioned that this is just another Burnout with a NFS title. These kind of games show up as fast as they're gone from everyone's attention.
EA genious at work...... With this 3 day porsche trip offer for you..... you forgot your objectivity.
I'm feeling rather disappointed. I wanted a decent NFS game! And a separate new Burnout! EA would have made more money too...:(
really liked this check out the offical trailer :
I hope there's a radio option in the game that lets you listen to music while you're driving. But I just don't know about this game, you're driving so fast it's looks like it would be super hard to look at the map for even a brief second. But I'm almost leaning toward FH just because the visuals are so much nicer.
I cant help but wonder just how different was "A Day With Need For Speed: Most Wanted" from "A Day With Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit" ?
The last true NFS arcade game was Carbon - everything since has been Burnout with a NFS title. And Burnout hasn't been worth playing since Revenge...
I am so disapointed because i waited 7 years for a new NfS Most Wanted and they make a Burnout game with NfS Most Wanted name! If it only had a visual customization and a STORY! 7years for nothing.
Criterion willlmake the new NfS Underground.And it will alsow be like Burnout.And after that they will make a new Burnout that will be like Nfs Most Wanted @_@.
This whole page just says it all, it's Burnout Paradise 2 with a Need for Speed sticker slapped on it, big f***in' shame really.
I'll wait for another developer to make a good Need for Speed game, however long that takes, just don't let Criterion anywhere near it.
I was hoping that the new studio EA opened in Sweden would make a new Underground game, I'd love that so much.
And even though criterion sadly have the rights to Need for Speed, I'm hoping that if criterion stick their noses in with the new game, the Swedes will just nod yes in agreement to them but secretly be saying "f*** off" and do their own thing... kind of like the Swedish car maker Saab haha =P
I loved paradise city my only complain was that it didn't have brand cars and this one is looking good for me.
This is not Most Wanted, it's nothing like the first one with the storyline. They need to make Burnout with some great roadrage and crash events. I'll buy it at a lower price, atleast it's openworld and Criterion is making it. It does have some nice jumps and graphics.
Hmmm.. I don't like the Burnout Paradise like open world during races because you can easily make the wrong turn and get frustrated. NFS:Hot Pursuit is the best in the series bar none.
I don't know why but i'm just not sold on it yet. It looks amazing but it's the variety in gameplay that i'm having trouble finding. I enjoyed the last NFS but there could have been so much more for that game, it felt really stripped down.
They are re-branding this as Most Wanted when I don't see the key features, such as customization, your hideout to store all your cars (yes a "lame virtual garage"), being able to purchase vehicles with the cash you earned and allowing you to upgrade the performance. All I see is that there is no garage for your vehicles, you unlock cars by driving up to them and getting in and have seen zero customization.
This is the same re-branding they did for Hot Pursuit which was missing a lot of key features and I can see this happening to Most Wanted and EA's SimCity which i'm looking forward to but again it's stripped down.
Notice how Hot Pursuit wasn't called Hot Pursuit 3, as well as the new SimCity isn't SimCity 5, and now we have Most Wanted, which isn't named Most Wanted 2. Obviously they don't want them to be a true sequel to it' predecessor.
This is just how i've noticed things to be shaping up.
Actually Criterions done a great job recreating Hot Pursuit in my opinion. Cop Mode in old HP is one of the greatest features I enjoyed in NFS History and now there is a whole big campaign for them. And that beautiful city they created is also to be admired. And the gameplay was also fun.
Though I admit I can't they done a good job so far creating Most Wanted though.
(Oh and the reason it's not called HP3 or MW2 is because they don't to make sequals to other people's works.)
@Bumblebee1138 Yes Criterion has done a great job with NFS so far, the action is intense and I love it but they could have included more modes for the game.
My favourite thing about the NFS games are the Police. The one game that has been my all time favourite was NFS: High Stakes. Best pursuit mode, you and a friend can be Cops and chase down NPC racers. Setup Spike strips at the start line after they pass through a lap. HP doesn't have that. Also in HS, police cruisers would essentially cruise around until the racers flew by them. Or even just on your own as a cop, you always had computer cop cruisers patrolling and assisting you while you're chasing the racers. There were at least 3 or 4 other cruisers.
Anyways, I just wished they'd bring back that mode or just remake High Stakes.
@Ice-Cube I never played High Stakes. Planning to do so though. And it's not fun when there are other cops to assist you to catch a few law breakers. One man show (with a LITTLE help from helicopters and road blocks :P ) is much more fun. ;)
@Bumblebee1138 No manual gearbox to choose is not great job imo.
I think Burnout have really new name, or NFS new style maybe. NFS is tuning for me, street races, but not crashes and destroy billboards. I don't need simulations like Shift, but I want back old NFS style like in Undergrounds.