symphony's Need for Speed: Most Wanted (Xbox 360) review

Outrunning the law can be surprisingly fun.

Originally, I had no desire to get Need for Speed: Most Wanted. I was never a big fan of the NFS franchise so I never had any reason to read upon Most Wanted. Nevertheless, I decided to try out the demo offered on XBL. Low and behold, the game -- or rather the police chases -- hooked me.

Graphically, the game isn't anything spectacular. You definitely get the sense that this is a port and, for me at least, the framerate seems a little off. I dunno -- I can tell it's running smoothly, but something about it feels choppy. Comparing it to Burnout Revenge, it just doesn't feel as smooth. That doesn't take away from the game itself, though, and I got used to the odd framerate or whatever it is after awhile.

The controllers handle as well as an arcade racer should -- easy-to-use drifting mechanics, boosting that gives a nice sense of accelerated speed, and the slow motion ability is a nice touch when you're in a pinch or need to make it around a tight corner.

I'm honestly not sure what to think of the live-action CGs. They're so over-the-top bad that they're funny. Is that a good thing? I'm not too sure.. I certainly got a kick out of watching them, but at the same time I wanted to gag. If they had added quick clips of each of the 15 Blacklisters, for example, rolling up beside your car and taunting you, that would have been great. It's a shame they didn't.

Difficulty-wise, the game starts off incredibly easy. Especially if you were like me and spent hours just playing the 3-star police chase on the XBL demo. I found myself having to stop, turn around, and practically ram into the police cars to let them know, "Hey, chase me!" at 1 and 2 stars. 3 and 4 stars is a really fun level a difficulty that will keep you on your toes, but allow you to get away fairly easy if you need to. Beyond that it can get pretty crazy but it's still a lot of fun.

As for the races, they never really got any more difficult, though I found that as I upgraded my car, the other racers would too, and would provide more of a challenge, even early on in the game if I was racing with a souped up car. The later part of the game consists more of tedium than challenge -- you have to complete X amount of races to face off against the Blacklister which is 3 or so more than the last Blacklister, which was 3 or so more than the one before, and so on. So near the end, I found myself just sticking to the time-trails and shorter courses just so I could get to the Blacklisters as fast as possible.

Lastly, achievement points. The only way to get points is to beat the blacklisters. There was really no thought or effort put into them which is disappointing. They could have easily come up with some great ideas for ones involving pursuits. Maybe next time.

Overall, the pursuits are a ton of fun, even if the races can get tiring and tedius. The sand-box feel of the game is nice and being able to start up pursuits on the fly is one of the best thing about the game.

Other reviews for Need for Speed: Most Wanted (Xbox 360)

    A one-trick pony, but a damned good one 0

    Need for Speed: Most Wanted was the ending of an era for the Need for Speed franchise, and the start of a new one. It blends elements from both the Hot Pursuit and Underground series to create what is perhaps the pinnacle of the longstanding franchise. It's not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, but the high-tension police chases combined with a solid racing mechanic makes Most Wanted an engaging racing game even by today's standards.  Most Wanted is essentially two different game...

    2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

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