Need for speed: Most wanted makes its intentions clear from the start.You are a rookie racer in the city of Fairhaven and your goal is to reach the top of Fairhaven’s Most Wanted list by taking down the city’s most hostile racers. On the first boot there is a small cut scene that introduces the player to the city and then leaves it up to you to decide on how to progress through the game. There are two paths of progression in the game.
In the single player the emphasis is on exploring the city of Fairhaven.This is done by finding new cars, getting shot by speed cameras, participating in single player events and smashing thorough the security gates and billboards. New cars are scattered throughout specific points in the city that the game calls jack points.Every time you find a jack point its location is saved in the Easy Drive menu. Changing to the car is as simple as navigating to it in the menu. The games fastest cars are reserved, however, for it’s boss fights, the Most Wanted Races.There are ten races in total and each one is unlocked after successfully completing the last. There is no currency in the game, there is however a Speed Point system which is used to determine the Most wanted player amongst your friends(the one with the most speed points).The customization is limited to attributes of the car, here is no physical customization.All customization is done with the help of mods.Mods are earned by progressing through the race events. Each car has five races which must be completed to unlock all of the mods for that car.Then there are pro mods that can only be unlocked by completing certain milestones for that specific car.
The other important part of single player is exploration.The game keep tracks of everything you do in the single player campaign by the much hyped Autolog system.Every action, be it the time taken to complete a race, number of gates crashed, the speed at which the speed camera is triggered, the height through which a billboard is smashed, is tracked by the Autolog and compared against your friends.Autolog recommendations then notify you of the areas that you are lagging behind in.By beating these recommendations you gain SP or speed points which add to your total speed points that you have already earned in the game. This makes the entire game highly competitive and enhances its replay ability.
One point that I find pertinent to mention here is that during the races the game expects you to follow a fixed line.Though a bit disappointing it works a lot better than Burnout Paradise by displaying markers along the track.
The cops play the role of a spoil sport, initiating a chase whenever you exceed the speed limit near their patrolling car.This may seem counter intuitive in a racer but works out wonderfully. The intensity of a chase is determined by heat levels higher the heat level, more desperate are the cops to catch you. At lower levels simple chase suffices but at higher ones they are not hesitant to deploy rhinos and spikes. To escape cops the heat level has to be lowered and to do this it is important to stay out of their search radius. If done for a sufficient period of time you loose the cops and are free once more. Paint shops provide a quick way to escape cops. If you are out of the search radius and get a paint job it results in an instant cool down,in addition to repairing any damage incurred on the car, and hence an escape. Cop chases add spice to the exploration of the city.
The Multiplayer mode is independent of the single player mode in everything except the speed points and exploration progress (speed cameras, billboards and security gates).To progress through multiplayer you have to participate in multiplayer events. These events are very diverse.In addition to simple races there are specific challenges (jumping, parking, takedowns, drifts etc) and team races that make the multiplayer so much fun to play. Thankfully the multiplayer community of need for speed is great and I never had any trouble in finding online matches.
Criterion maintained throughout the development that vita version would be the same as the console counter parts and for the most part they were accurate. What you get is an amazing reproduction of Fairhaven on the handheld. There are some sacrifices that had to be made however.The traffic density is reduced in vita (I find this very fortunate and in my opinion this makes the game a lot more playable) and the detail of the city is somewhat reduced. These are hardly noticeable since most of the time you will be too busy racing to notice any difference. Just to sweeten the deal there are ten tracks that are exclusive to the vita version.
Criterion took a bold decision by re-imagining one of the most popular franchise in the history of video games. This could have been a disaster if it were not carefully planned but the developers handled the job extremely well. The city of Fairhaven is carefully crafted. The tracks are varied, locations are a sight to behold and most importantly they are fun to drive on. The game can be a bit too tough at times but once you understand how to drive the cars in an efficient manner(drifting around the corners) and learn to use to boost judiciously(not just burn it off on a clear road) you are sure to succeed. The game is packed with content. With so many different cars to choose from, all of which handle differently, a beautiful city to explore and an addictive multiplayer option you can’t go wrong.