Good here, Bad There
I'm going to get all the numbers out of the way quickly. I've beaten the game, so I'm not just "first-impressioning."
Graphics: 10/10 Jesus this game is beautiful
Gameplay 8/10 The amazing driving experience you have come to expect. Takedowns are implemented well, and walls are even less forgiving than they were in BP. Unfortunately, rubber-banding is so desperately obvious it looks like the computers are Tesseract-ing.
Music: 3/10 Jesus this soundtrack is miserable
Single Player: 5/10 Extremely repetitive after, say, around 6 Most Wanted racers. The Easyride thing looks great on paper, but it is dull, and flows poorly. Unlike Most Wanted I, this singleplayer can be finished in 8 hours or less. This is not a $60 singleplayer. BUT 100% will take a very long time. Dont get me wrong, look up 2 slots. The racing is pretty phenomenal, ESPECIALLY in multiplayer, but a lot of the races you need to do for 100% are actually just the same courses wit hthe same targets in different vehicles. Yuck.
Multiplayer: 5-9/10 Buggy. Also focuses more on conflict by rewarding betrayal and takedowns than on actual cooperation. Where are the freeburn-challenging days of old? It's a huge free-for-all which is awesome or awful depending on what you wanted out of it. The problem is that there really is no cooperation no matter how you slice it.
What I really want to say:
I've loved every Need for speed game I've played, and I've loved every Criterion racing game I've played. However, despite that love, I didn't have high expectations for this game; the way it was covered at E3 just screamed "We don't have interesting new stuff to offer," and that's exactly what we have here. Old stuff.
I'll be honest with you. Let's imagine that The original Most Wanted, Burnout Paradise, and NFS Hot Pursuit were never created. I would've given this game 4+ stars. The fact of the matter is, those games have been made (and some are getting old) and they did all of this BETTER.
7/10 I wanted to love this game, but it keeps not letting me. I can mildly enjoy it for now. This game is the "The Amazing Spiderman" of racing games. Its the latest in a long list of loved pieces, and it's pretty hit or miss.
PS: Where did the car customization go from the other NFS games from back in the day?