Game Review: Need for Speed Most Wanted by Criterion Games

Need for Speed Most Wanted by Criterion Games is a sequel to the 2005 game of the same name by EA Black Box. You play in an open world racing environment with the ability to choose which races you join depending on the car you’re driving. Race your way up the Most Wanted ladder gaining Speed Points (SP) for the chance to compete with the top drivers and take their cars. Drive a variety of expensive flashy cars ranging from a Lamborghini to a Subaru.

3600 Seconds

Now that bullshit is over, I can go on to how I really feel about this fucking game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the type of girl who can appreciate a nice car. But I finished an hour with the game and I feel like I just got back from the arcade with empty pockets, sore eyes, and back pain that only comes from sitting in a plastic chair playing the same game for hours.

A review of the 2012 open world racing game Need for Speed

It could just be that I’m a girl and I don’t understand the point of a racing game, but I don’t fucking get the point of a racing game. You drive, then you drive some more, then like…you race, then drive, ohemgee the cops guys run, then you drive. What the fuck. Can I stop and get a fucking pizza or something?

I might be giving off the wrong impression. I did enjoy playing the game at first. Cruising around in a hot car is cool, but when nothing ever changes, cool becomes boring really quick. Coupled with the fact that I can’t come in any place but first, that newly evolved boring becomes super fucking frustrating. The game play, the mod system, the races – it’s all set up to force you to play until your racing little fingers fall off. Forget enjoying this game, you’ve become a slave to something you don’t even want to be around. But you have to play, you have to.

The Cars

All of the cars are unlocked from the beginning of the game. You just have to find them. It’s hide and go fucking seek between you and all the companies that, I’m sure, paid a hefty price to vomit their logo all over the game. It’s like playing Where’s Waldo but the retard in a striped shirt is replaced with a Maserati.

There’s also no way to slow down the camera controls so you’ve got to move forward while frantically looking around for a car hidden in an obscure corner. I was sick to my stomach before I got to take part in my first race.

It did add a bit of change to the normal racing game. Instead of having to earn the money and buy the car, you could just find it and have it. The only ones that follow the original racing set up are the cars owned by the Most Wanted list you can only get by beating them at races.

Need for Speed Most Wanted by Criterion Games

The places to get cars are called Jack Spots. I guess it was supposed to be a Grand Theft Auto knock off. What I don’t get it why these car owners are just leaving their cars in the middle of no where. Do people like that really exist? Because I’d like to meet them. Possibly take their car. There are 123 Jack Spots, but some of them have the same car in a different color. Kind of dumb if you ask me. Why do I want to find the same fucking car someplace else.

The only thing that sucks about this quirky way of getting cars is that you’re not forced to drive the cars you don’t like. I say this sucks because, realistically, who’s going to choose a Ford Focus over a Maserati? They just spent hours putting stats into cars that nobody will ever drive. At least the other way, you had to drive the shitastic car for some part of the game.

Races and the Mod System

I think one of the ways they tried to balance having all the cars unlocked is by having individual races that are specific to each car. Each race unlocks a mod, if you get 1st or 2nd place, and that’s the only way you can upgrade your car. But if you’re not interested in the car, then why the fuck would you spend the time upgrading it.

The races aren’t anything new either. You drive faster than the other person. I do that on I-95 every afternoon. It’s called rush hour in Virginia. Get the fuck out of my way.  Some of the races are even on the same routes. Or at least it seemed like it. Everything started to blend together by the time I stopped playing.

There’s also no way to customize your car. Well, there is – but it’s stupid. Wrenches are scattered throughout the map. Driving through it changes your car color and fixes any body damage. You can’t even pick your color, you have to keep driving through the place cycling through the colors until you find one you like. I thought the whole point of a racing game was to pimp your ride. I can’t pimp my ride without pink flames spray painted on the side. End of story.

Need for Speed Most Wanted by Criterion Games

The Easy Drive display is how you do the limited amount of modding to your car. I think I read somewhere that they wanted to give you the ability to mod your car in race. That sounds like something that doesn’t completely fucking ruin the game. I’ve humored the statement by attempting to change my mods using Easy Drive while I was racing. It doesn’t fucking work. It really doesn’t  You can’t do it. Maybe there are people who can, but I can’t and that’s all that matters. I’ve come to the conclusion that Need for Speed Most Wanted is racing game for people who don’t like racing games.

Everything Else I Want to Bitch About

I have a huge issue with the display. Apparently, there’s some important shit popping up in the bottom right corner above my speedometer that I can’t fucking see. I’m going an excess of 150 MPH being chased by some dick head cops while I’m trying to win a race – I can’t just glance in another direction.  I also kind of want to know how far I just drifted. Those are bragging rights and sort of important. Not only am I frustrated at this point, I don’t even have proof of that one golden moment to ease my pain.

The map is Ok. It’s kind of like follow a GPS. A really shitty one. You can’t tell the difference between levels so a bridge looks like a cross street and it just gets really tedious when you’re trying to escape from cops.

The cops are bullshit too. I remember having cooldown areas in other games. If you got out of their sight, you could just pop into one of these spots on your map and wait to 5,10, 59 gazillion minutes for the heat to wear off. In this game, you’ve got to hope that your Porsche can somehow find the power to lose a fucking Ford Taurus and then hope you don’t run into another one of those red and blue motherfuckers somewhere else.

A review of the 2012 open world racing game Need for Speed

You can’t even hide behind things. They were given X-Ray vision or some shit. I’d try to hide in a train track and some monster SUV would come plowing through the bushes with absolutely no regard for the feelings of the foliage. There are buildings you can hide in, but it’s a pretty large map. If you haven’t played the game for an extended amount of time, you’re probably not going to know where they are. It’s the same with the side roads and short cuts.

There’s also no way to blend in with people. It’s nearly impossible to maintain a speed limit. You can’t coast. You can’t cruise control. Either you’re speeding or you’re stopping. I’m fairly certain all racing games are like this, but if I don’t want to initiate a police chase, I’m going to want to follow the speed limit. There’s also no punishment for getting busted. This makes my view along the lines of me not wanting to go on a 3 hour-long cop chase so I’ll just get busted and get back to whatever the fuck I was doing.

I get the whole trying to be realistic and shit with this game, which is why I’m not completely complaining about the change of daylight. What I will complain about is the sunset. Why the fuck can’t the guy driving a 200 thousand dollar car invest in a pair of fucking sunglasses.

In conclusion, this is by no means a “bad” game. The world is seamless and nice to look at, the cars are fast, and the races are hardcore. With that being said, it’s just another racing game. If you’re into that kind of thing, you’ll probably enjoy it. I probably wasn’t the best person to do the review. Louis is the car lover of our team, but he’s been busy enjoying Assassin’s Creed III.

What were your opinions on Need for Speed Most Wanted and what do you think the pull is for games that seem to be exact replicas of another?