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Need For Speed Most Wanted
(hx) 07:36 PM EST - Nov,27 2005

Wohoo! The along waited sequel to one of my favorite games arrived, Need for Speed Most Wanted. This is the ultimate 10th anniversary Need For Speed! The series has improved over the years, adding more and more features from simple racing on closed circuits to city speeding and winding up with car customization, underground racing syndicates and struggles for power. Of course, we are still talking about an arcade racing game. So, don't expect anything more than a straightforward arcade racing!

At the beginning of the game you will be able to create an unique driving profile. Once you've adjusted the settings to your preference, you can select one of the following racing modes: Career, Quick Race, Challenge Series, Online, LAN.

The Career mode of the game is just awesome and it makes you want to play the game and it really does. The story, for the most part, is nothing special, but it does serve its purpose of providing you a reason to race. Your character is a no-name and no-face new racer who comes to a fictional town looking for some good street racing. Instead, you have been wronged by a racer named Razor, and your only desire is revenge. With the help of your sidekick, Mia, you hope to rise through the ranks of the Blacklist to eventually get a shot at winning your ride back. You climb the Blacklist of racers until you reach the top. As before, in order to gain recognition, you must first complete a series of different challenges to prove you got what it takes to be a top street racer. Fifteen racers make up this illegal organization which competes with cash, pink slips and respect. Naturally, the more you move up, the more areas and customization parts you unlock. In order to challenge a blacklisted rider, you have to complete a preset list of challenges. These include having achieved a certain number of milestones gained during cop chases such as Avoid 3 roadblocks or Trade paint, having won a certain number of races and having your bounty at a certain amount. Races range from stuff like circuit to sprint and lap knockout to more exotic activities such as tollbooth challenges (you racing to several checkpoints within predetermined time limits), drag races and speed trap challenges where you get registered by the police radars in several places off the course with the highest speed possible. That's easily +20 hours just to beat the career mode. And that doesn't include the dozens of cop chases, additional milestones or free-roam races you can pick up at any time. (Note: there is no Quick Race Freeroam, only Career Freeroam)

Outside of the Career mode, there is a selection for Quick Race and Challenge Series to keep a single player entertained. The Challenge Series allows you to prove your skills by completing various objectives. The 68 challenges will unlock gradually as you beat lower levels and offer you somewhat of a sneak peak at the beefier cars. The multiplayer is focused strictly on racing, the game offers sprint, circuit, and drag races for up to four players. These are all a lot of fun. There's also an online version of the Blacklist so you can see who the most dangerous online opponent is. The good news is that LAN games don't require an EA lobby, so you can play with your friends without having an Internet Connection.

The cars in the game seem to be from the exotic garage as opposed to the street racing scene. There are 37 licensed and fully customizable cars available to race. In NFMW you'll find: Lexus IS 300 (2006), Fiat Punto (2006), Chevrolet Cobalt SS (2006), Volkswagen Golf GTI (2006), Audi TT 3.2 Quattro (2005), Audi A3 3.2 Quattro (2005), Mitsubishi Motors Eclipse (2006), Audi A4 3.2 FSI Quattro (2006), Toyota Supra (1998), Renaut Clio v6 (2001), Mazda RX-8 (2005), Cadillac CTS (2006), Ford Mustang GT (2006), Mitsubishi Motors Lancer Evolution VIII (2005), Mercedes-Benz SL 500 (2005), Pontiac GTO (2005), Vauxhall Monaro VXR (2005), Porsche Cayman S (2006), Subaru WRX STI Impreza (2005), Mazda RX-7 (1994), Mercedes-Benz CLK 500 (2005), Lotus Elise (2006), Aston Martin DB9 (2005), Porsche 911 Carrera S (2006), Dodge Viper SRT 10 (2006), Lamborghini Gallardo (2005), Porsche 911 Turbo S (2005), Corvette C6 (2006), Lamborghini Murchilago (2005), Ford GT (2005), Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (2006), Porsche Carrera GT (2005). There are also bonus cars: BMW M3 GTR (2005), Corvette C6.R (2006), Castrol Sytec Ford GT (2005), Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG (2006) and Porsche 911 GT2. And the Black Edition adds BMW M3 GTR (2005), Chevrolet Camaro SS (1967), Chevrolet Corvette C6.R (2006), Chevrolet Corvette C6 (2006), Lotus Elise (2006), Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG (2006), Mercedes-Benz SL 500 (2003), Porsche 911 Carrera S (2006), Porsche 911 GT2 (2005) and Toyota Supra TT (1998). New cars and parts are unlocked after you beat blacklisters, but you still have to make sure you can afford them.

What are the differences between NFS:MW Black Edition and the Standard version? Black Edition includes:
  • 2 Exclusive Vehicles-Get behind the wheel of a '67 Camaro, the only American classic in Need for Speed Most Wanted, and a specially-tuned BMW M3 GTR street machine right out of the box in Quick Race and Online modes.
  • 8 Custom Rides-Eight specially-tuned rides with hand-selected body kits, spoilers, rims, roof scoops, and more are unlocked and available for you to redline in Quick Race and Online modes. Featured cars: Supra, Lotus Elise, Porsche 911 GT2, Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG, Corvette C6, Mercedes-Benz SL 500, Porsche 911 Carrera S, and Corvette C6.R.
  • Exclusive Pursuit Challenge-Hone your cop evasion skills in this intense Pursuit Challenge that features waves of supercharged SUV cops and the most aggressive police tactics.
  • 3 Exclusive Races-Ignite the streets in three races created specifically for the Black Edition, unlocked and available to drive right from the start.
  • Exclusive and Unlocked Vinyls-Personalize your ride faster than everyone else with dozens of unlocked vinyls as well as specifically-created Black Edition-only designs.
  • Bonus DVD - Get under the hood of Need for Speed Most Wanted. Check out impressive vehicle showcases and an exclusive car art gallery, or view ten Need for Speed Most Wanted movies, including a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the stunning in-game cinematics with Josie Maran. A must-have for all Need for Speed fans over the last ten years.
The system for modding cars is very much like that in the NFSU games. You can customize each of your cars in about a million ways. Once all the modifications are installed, you can influence the car performance. You can buy a lot of different performance gear and a ton of visual stuff. This time around, you will have a reason to modify your car's appearance besides just making it look cool. Now, by changing the appearance of your car, you can avoid the notice of police. Unfortunately, if you were waiting to fully customize your ride like you could do in NFSU2, you will be probably a bit disappointed. Looks like the system is now a little bit too simplified and some features are missing entirely. It's not possible to add neons, change mufflers, change leds, and, you can only choose body kits. You choose from a rather small selection of about 7 or 8 preset body kits for your car, which means you can't individually add front bumpers, back bumpers or sideskirts.

There are several improvements to the gameplay from the last game, NFSU2. First off, NFSMW is much faster and the cars all have a heavier, stickier feel, so you get a bit better feeling when taking the corners at these high speeds. The controlling of cars is a little less smooth compared to NFSU2 so it might take a little getting used to, but it's not bad at all. The actual sensation of speed is well done, one of the main reasons that you will need the Speedbreaker - a slow-motion effect similar to bullet time. The Speedbreaker not only slows things down, but it temporarily enhances your handling, allowing for crazy "thread-the-needle" style maneuvers that would otherwise be impossible. The Nitrous boost is a little different in NFMW - while you race it replenishes. This doesn't make a lot of sense and makes things a little too easy sometimes. The chase with the cops is unlike the previous versions of NSF, now the police do not let up and you can be chased until you get caught. The police will use an array of tactics to bust you, including trying to box you with several cars, popping your tires with spikes, road blocks, SUVs ramming you head on and more. It's real fun listening in on their radio since it really does sound like a real life car chase....

For people who liked the NFS: Hot Pursuit and its exotic cars, or those who love the tuner cars of NFS: Underground, this is a combination of both. NFSMW is the best racing game of season and definitely a must buy.

related links: demo, tweak guide, cheats, savegame, all access, trainer +12, homepage, Need for Speed Retrospective

Minimum system requirements: Intel Pentium 4 (or equivalent) CPU running at 1.4GHz or higher, 256MB RAM, 32MB DirectX 9.0c compatible video card (Geforce2 MX or higher)*, DirectX compatible sound card, 3 GB of HD space, 8X CD-ROM

* The following major D3D chipsets are supported: ATI Radeon 7500, 8500, 9xxx series, Xpress 200, X300, X600, X700, X800 series, NVIDIA GeForce 2 (GTS, MX, Ultra/Ti), GeForce 3 (Ti), GeForce 4 (MX, Ti), GeForce FX series, GeForce 6200, 6600, 6800, 7800, Intel 950/i915g, S3 GammaChrome S18 Pro.


snd: 5/5 - kick-ass engine sound effects, solid soundtrack (The Prodigy, DJ Spooky and Dave Lombardo, Stratus, Mastadon, Styles of Beyond, Static-X, Paul Linford and Chris Vrenna, The Roots, Rock, Jamiroqaui and others)
gfx: 4/5 - very well done in most places, car models look excellent, pretty cutscenes mix in-game style graphics with live-action actors, some destructible structures, your car is indestructible (it only takes cosmetic damage), no replays(!)
playability: 5/5 - highly addictive, +50 hours of single player gameplay, excellent sense of speed, cops are back, support for gamepads, excellent replay value, multiplayer LAN/Internet, lack of drift mode
genre: arcade racing
platform: PC (available also for PS2, XBox, GC, Xbox 360, PSP)
release: November 2005
developer: EA Canada
publisher: EA Games
Excellent
Overall: 89%


last 10 comments:

unicum(04:50 AM EST - Nov,28 2005 )
I have a slight problem with this game.

I have the black edition, and an FX 5200, and after app. 20 minutes of gameplay, the whole game begins to act weird. Purple and yellow stips begin to appear, and the whole game halts, stays so for 20 seconds, and then (maybe) starts again. But this bug makes the game unenjoyable.
No, it's neither a DirectX problem, nor a gfx- driver problem, since I updated both of them to the last version.

Does someone have a hint what I could do to make it work?

(05:01 AM EST - Nov,28 2005 )
quote:
I have the black edition, and an FX 5200, and after app. 20 minutes of gameplay, the whole game begins to act weird. Purple and yellow stips begin to appear, and the whole game halts


My suspicion is an overheating video card, or more specifically the GPU.

lmer(05:03 AM EST - Nov,28 2005 )
unicum: did you overclock your card? It is overheating. It can overheat even if it's not overclocked. That's a pretty poor card for these games.

Nice review HX. Totally agree. I was just annoyed by the actors and the story. It's so rap. Eww. I think even the developers stated their oppinion of that in one of the descriptions of the blacklist racers: "He's so awesome. By night he's in the nighclubs, by day on the streets. How does he manage it?".
I didn't like the handling. NFSU2 had great handling. Very precise. You could see that when you were accelerating from 0 kmh/mph. These cars handle like in CMR; if you turn at 20kph/13mph the rear of your car slides?! The speed was insane. I wonder what it will be like in the next NFS. Will it be like playing a replay from NFS4 at 4x speed? Oh and i was expecting the cops to be more agressive. All they do is deploy roadblocks :O.

GG

nb411(05:26 AM EST - Nov,28 2005 )
Rofl, like theres any point discussing the cars handling physics. This is NFS and always will be. I enjoyed the demo and hopefully I can get my hands on the full version soon. I would have liked an improved drift mode, but it would not have suited this particular version. The cops make up for that though :)

unicum(06:45 AM EST - Nov,28 2005 )
Thanks for the feedback, I'll just have to get a better card, or some serous cooling. :(

lmer(07:52 AM EST - Nov,28 2005 )
nb411: i'm not discussing, i'm commenting. You are turning it into a discussion :P

xxxx(09:12 AM EST - Nov,28 2005 )
This is a really fun game but like most driving games, I get bored after a while cuz they seem to just drag on. I took a break from NFS:MW while I am @ #5.

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