Every time a new racing game launches, the question I ask myself is whether there’s anything more that can be added to the experience that I had many years ago when playing Need for Speed: Porsche, the title I still see as the pinnacle of the genre.
The answer with the new Most Wanted, which was made by Criterion and incorporates quite a bit of DNA from the Burnout series, is clearly “Yes,” mainly because the team understands why players are interested in this type of game and then goes to great lengths to make the experience as simple and empowering as possible.
Need for Speed – Most Wanted combines events that pit the player against other racers in a variety of events with police chases that can trigger at any time and include some of the most adrenaline-filled moments in gaming this year.
The world of the game is beautifully built by Criterion and filled with a lot of side events, from banners that ask to be broken through to jumps and speed traps, designed to make the entire city feel alive and interesting.
The Autolog feature is effectively used to tie them all together into a unitary progression system and create deep rivalries between friends and strangers alike.
The game straddles the line between simulation and arcade really well and does a much better job that Forza Horizon to create an interesting if not at all believable gaming world.
It’s also purely focused on the cars, the real stars of any Need for Speed game, and eliminates the “cool” elements from previous games in the franchise in order to focus exclusively on the actual competition and the beautiful way you can steer and crash a high performance vehicle.