Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Rubberband AI rears it’s ugly head again

ESRB Rating:  (Teen) Mild Violence
Genre: Racing

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer:
EA Canada

Video: HDTV 480p / 720p / 1080i
Audio:
5.1 Dolby Digital

Players: 1-2 Offline via split screen, 2-4 Online

Official Most Wanted Website
Need for Speed: Most Wanted at Xbox.com

Release Date: 2nd December 2005

At its launch, the Xbox 360 had two good racing titles to its name, Project Gotham Racing 3 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted. With the graphical power of the Xbox 360 EA had a chance to show off this title to the max. Most Wanted is the third of the recent Need for Speed titles after Underground 1 & 2. Electronic Arts listened to the pleas of the gamers as Underground, while enjoyable was devoid of cops and felt rather drab after a few days of play. Given that Most Wanted arrived on the PC almost two months earlier could the 360 version give us anything new? Let us find out.

Introduction

You’re a new racer in town, working your way up the ranks in racing scene. This scene consists of a ‘Blacklist’ featuring the top 15 drivers in town. At the bottom of the list is Razor Callahan who is skilled at almost every race type and uses almost every trick in the book to defeat his challengers. His colleagues make up the rest of the blacklist.

The game starts with a dull storyline that is set in Rockport and see’s your BMW racing and defeating various blacklist drivers until you come up against No.15 – Razor himself. The game starts off in rolling mode against Razor and then passes control of the car over to you, the gamer. Before you know it, your engine breaks down near the finishing line and Razor takes the win – and your car. The cops then appear and haul you in. However, before you know it, you are back on the streets with a new set of wheels thanks to the gorgeous and mysterious woman named Mia Townsend. 

Your objective? To get your BMW back from Razor, who is now making his way up the Blacklist using your car. You have to do the same, earn money by taking part in various races, buy new cars, upgrade them and then challenge the 15 racers on the Blacklist and work your way upwards toward Razor himself. However, it is not as easy as that, Rockport features a heavy police presence and they have got serious attitude problems with the illegal street-racing scene. Suffice to say that this game has some major heated police chases!

Gameplay

Once you are out of the police station, the storyline resumes via text SMS messages and voice messages to your mobile phone, which are accessed in game via the D-Pad. The intro scenes are played out in what can only be described as a over-the-top, bloom filled live CGI full motion video featuring live actors and rendered cars. Why EA chose this method is beyond me, but it works well and does not detract from the game. After this intro, you will not see any more FMV until the endgame itself. The performance from the actors is extremely cheesy and cringe worthy, I truly feel sorry for the so-called actors career’s after they finished with this title. The gorgeous Josie Maran plays Mia, and while she does look hot in the game, her acting skills do not improve on the overall feel of these sequences.
In order to make your way up the blacklist you first have to complete an ever-increasing number of races and milestones in order to meet and challenge a blacklist racer. These races can be a mix of either:

  • Circuit – A traditional lap-style course. Finish first using any methods necessary.
  • Sprint – A sprint from point A to B.
  • Lap Knockout – Race laps around a track, with the last place driver eliminated after each lap until one remains.
  • Tollbooth – Storm past as many tollbooth checkpoints as possible. As the race progresses the clock counts down until you hit your next checkpoint, which gives you additional time bonuses.
  • Drag – The classic from the Underground series. Speed shift your way along a pre-set section of the city and avoid all the traffic on your way to the finish line.
  • Speedtrap – A standard Sprint race with a slight difference. At various parts of the track, there are speed cameras, which you must speed past quicker than your rivals. The driver with the fastest cumulative speed at the end is the winner.

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