Humans have almost no presence in the Criterion-made world
Humans and cars have a weird relationship in the video game world; one cannot exist without the other, yet a limited number of virtual experiences have managed to convey the way they relate to one another well.The Need for Speed series solved the problem at first by eliminating humans altogether, mostly because of technical limitations, but as the series evolved and computing power improved, they began making appearances in the titles that Electronic Arts released, with mixed results.
Nobody minded the shadow behind the wheel of the car, which was supposed to be the player avatar, but soon, Need for Speed was inundated with voices, motion capped actors and storylines associated with them.
They all diluted the quality of the game and fans did not appreciate the fact that they needed to pick up narrative details while they only wanted to defeat another opponent or run away from another police car.
The Run, the title that EA launched last year, was the epitome of this trend and the game tanked despite having a premise that promised an interesting experience.
Criterion took a hard stance at the other end of the spectrum and pretty much eliminated humans from its reboot of Most Wanted altogether.
There’s a spectral female voice that offers some details about the game mechanics and the policemen are pretty chatty when they try to take you down on the highway (their fury at being outwitted and outraced is quite comical), but other than that, the game focuses on the cars.
And this is part of its charm, because the various brands of mainstream vehicles and the more exotic concepts included are gorgeous on their own and make perfect stars for a game that does not take itself too seriously yet manages to give soul to the machines through speed.