Ever played a racing game that has an extreme identity crisis? If not, NFS: Most Wanted by Criterion is up your alley!

User Rating: 6 | Need for Speed: Most Wanted X360
Wow. Where to start? Hmmm...Well let's start by saying that this is NOT a Need for Speed title. After playing the game for a good while it has occurred to me that this boasts a shocking resemblance to the Burnout: Paradise game that was released years ago. To such a degree that if someone had gotten me to play this game without me knowing it was a NFS title, I would openly assume that it was Burnout: Paradise 2 or something like that. The only thing that this game does that keeps it true to NFS is give you real licensed cars and give you pursuits. Everything is else in the game is a lackluster rehash of a previously great game.

The original Most Wanted that was released back for the PS2 and XBOX 360 was one of my favorite racing games of all time. The racing and controls were tight, the story was corny, yes, but still had me interested in some points for sure. The game excelled in everything that you would expect a NFS title to do with intense races, pursuits, and deep car customization. You would save up money and buy that car you wanted, then deck it our with all the gear you wanted and trick it our to make it look the way you wanted. And what can you do in this NFS by Criterion? Two words. "F**k all." You find cars along your drive and just hop into them via "Jack Spots." Retarded. You apparently own every car you see on the side of the road. How about the races? Two words. "F**king frustrating." The navigation system you have in the game to steer you through the open world of Fairhaven will have you asking yourself 80% of the time, "Where the hell do I go now?" Oh and by the by, you will be crashing more often than not as well. Whether it be a jutting out wall, traffic, divided road barrier, or even just the wall because you don't know where you're going. OK, OK. Surely there has to be one redeeming factor though. How about car customizing? The thing that made the previous Most Wanted awesome. Guess what? You can't change a f**king thing! You can put mods on your car that change it's handling, top speed, acceleration, yadayadayada. You can't do anything else to it! No body kits, no choice in paint job, nothing! You like Nissan GT-R do you? Well you can't do dick to it! Drive it as is! Huge let down. The one thing I did have fun in so far is running from the cops. It can get pretty intense when you've gotten up to the highest Heat Level and you've been on the run for the last 15 minutes. Trying to find the way out gets your blood going and seeing those SWAT Rhinos come bearing down at you to take you out can make you sweat too. That's about the only real good thing I have to say about the NFS aspect of the game.

So now that the rant is done about NFS, let me tell how this game even fails as a Burnout title. In Burnout, you were treated to multiple different events. You had the races, you had Road Rage (which I loved) events, Crash events, Stunt runs, and elimination type events. I think there's more, but it has been awhile since I've picked that game up. In Most Wanted by Criterion, you have...races, speed runs (hard as hell), and ambushes. That's all. The takedowns in this game are lame. You don't even see what has happened to the car you totaled. You hit them, they crash, and you get points. Yippee. The racing happens just like Burnout too, not NFS. You go through ridiculous routes, jumping off ships, going through train yards, and even jumping over barges and buildings. That's not NFS. On top of that, the races and events in this game get BORING very fast! I never had to force myself to do any event in either the original Most Wanted or in Burnout. In this one, you do because the only to unlock the crap you need for your car is to race with it, which would be fine if it was somewhat enjoyable. Another thing that this game came short in was the crashes. Your car will NEVER go into multiple pieces when you wreck. You will drive with bumpers falling off and windows smashed. That's something the Burnout series did very well was showing you the aftermath of your crash or other peoples.

All being said and done, the game isn't horrible. The driving is unique to each car you pick, but that should be standard. The return to open world is welcome and the game sounds and looks great. But that doesn't define a game. A game can look gorgeous, but if it fails on the grounds that built that game up to where it's at then it's going to fail. That's where Criterion's version of Most Wanted flopped. Which is a shame because they got the NFS license from EA, and I loved Hot Pursuit. The big question I have for them after playing this game is..."What the hell happened?"