Need for Speed has always been about driving really fast cars in beautiful real-world locations. Unlike boring driving sims, where the focus is on making perfect corners and minimizing your lap times, NFS eschews realism for pure action, raw speed, and visceral sensation. The latest edition in the series, Most Wanted continues the tradition.
In Most Wanted, you not only need to build a reputation by competing in tons of street races and completing lots of specific events, you need to do it while you avoid arrest by the police in a large, completely open city. The living, breathing metropolis includes a multitude of shortcuts through shops, parking lots, moving traffic, and even off-road locales.
You’ll need to learn all the shortcuts in order to avoid arrest. There are also dozens of Crashbreakers—obstacles that you can use to shake even the tightest pursuit—spread throughout the city. Crashbreakers can be anything from exploding gas stations to a collapsing water tower.
There’s a wide variety of race types—everything from Knockout, where a racer is removed from the race after each lap, to checkpoint-style speed runs. In addition to completing races to advance, you’ll have to achieve certain milestones, such as blowing through speed traps at an insane speed, or evading the police after a six-minute chase. It’s a helluva lot of fun.
The setting for NFS: MW is really the real star of the show, unlike other open-world games like GTA or Midnight Club, EA didn’t sacrifice the graphic detail of any particular portion of the city in order to have a larger city. Different areas of the city have a different look, allowing you to tell exactly where you are at any time, just by the color and tone of your surroundings. Best of all, unlike other open-world racing games, you don’t have to drive across town if you don’t want to; the game includes shortcuts to all the races and events you need to compete in.