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NFS: Most Wanted, Reborn as Burnout Paradise 2
on October 30, 2012
The premise behind NFS: Most Wanted is this: In Fairhaven City, there are 10 drivers who are the "Most Wanted". Take them down, you get their car. The goal: Become the most wanted driver in Fairhaven City.
Ok, so the story's lame, but you didn't have one at all in Burnout Paradise either. That's not really important to racing fans, as one look at NFS: The Run's reviews will tell you. What DOES matter are the cars, how do they control, modes available, upgrading possibilities, and multiplayer. Again, this is a review in process, so I can address all of these outside of multiplayer at this time.
- It's really hard to pin down the driving controls in this game at this early stage. We're not talking Gran Turismo level of difficulty, but it's also not as easy as the original Burnout Paradise, or even Blur. Think the controls in Ridge Racer Unbounded, but MUCH less touchy, and you're getting in the right ballpark. My best guess: If you're familiar and have played the NFS series, you'll be at home here.
- As for the cars, no more going through ranks 1-20 to unlock. Every car in the game is available at the start. Now the danger of this, of course, is that you'll find one you fall in love with and really have no need/desire to find all the rest (Why would you bother with the Delta Lancia when you can drive/upgrade a Porsche, for example)? All you have to do is look for the cars with an badge above them, choose the car and it's yours to drive. It's definitely a step in the right direction away from what a "typical" racing game would force you to do (aKa Gran Turismo, forcing you to grind for money to buy them).
- As far as single player is concerned, I am a little worried that the modes are a little on the bare side. The various events in Burnout Paradise were diversified and had cars to match them. In NFS: Most Wanted, it's pretty much limited to races, evading the cops and maintaining a certain speed through the course. In short, it's got the potential to get old in a hurry. However, you'll probably be too busy seeing if you're beating your friends, smashing billboards and the like to be worrying about that.
- Each car gives you the ability to upgrade various functions, such as tires, transmission, boost, etc. This is done by earning Speed Points, which you pretty much earn doing anything in the game. Now of course, for the completionists (like me), it will be fun going through and upgrading every car fully, giving an vast array of options for attacking different races (example: lightweight chassis give you more speed and are better for fast races, but suck when trying to go against the cops. Off road tires help you on those races, but you lose grip on pavement, etc). It'll be fun seeing online who gets the perfect combinations to set the best times.
And for now, that's it. As I get experience in Multiplayer, I will update my review, but it definitely seems to be at least as good as Burnout Paradise's, which is a testimony as to why there is still a good online community existing in that game 3 years after release.
Bottom line: NFS:MW takes it place alongside the other racers on the PS3 (GT5, Burnout Paradise and NFS:HP) as the best you can buy. There is an incredible amount of depth and layers in this game to unwrap and discover. Criterion, you did it again!
**UPDATE #1 31 October 2012**
Multiplayer is definitely as diverse as in Burnout Paradise if not moreso, given that many of the cars (including the ones you receive from pre-ordering) are only able to be used in Multiplayer. Players who invest the time in the various races/race layouts with the proper cars/mods will have a definitive, FAIR advantage over those who do not, but given the chaos that is traffic in this game, there's a chance a person ending up in last can still make up ground for a good finish. Outside of the racing events, there are also ones that involve getting away from the cops (wreck your friend=them getting busted and disowning you) as well as who can drift the most, get the most air, break the most billboards, etc. in a certain time frame. While the single player, for those who dump a ton of time into it and find their favorite cars, probably has a short life span, when you start talking about multiplayer, and get a few friends who have this game, and the replay value goes through the roof as you try to "top" your friends to be the "Most Wanted".
If anything, multiplayer has reinforced my opinion that this quite simply is one of the best racers on the PS3, the best one released in 2012, and deserves your purchase.
***Update #2 10/31/2012
I'm seeing some questions about how this compares to NFS:Hot Pursuit. Keep in mind, Criterion's goal was to make this game a "spiritial" successor to Burnout Paradise (released in 2009). In terms of gameplay, NFS:HP and NFS:MW are different in terms of modes as well as scope (open world, explore at your leisure vs. rigid routes), but similiar in that you can wreck the cops when you are being pursued. The cops will use spike strips and roadblocks, no EMP or helicopters that I've seen. Your cars do have "mods" which can offset the roadblocks and spike strips (much like you had in HP for the racer). Online is much deeper IMHO vs. Hot Pursuit, even when you consider the DLC that EA/Criterion have released over the life of NFS:HP.
My verdict is NFS:MW will ultimately be much deeper and have more replay value then NFS:HP. But both are OUTSTANDING games in their own aspects.
Also, in another simularity to NFS:HP, NFS:MW will allow you to utilize your own soundtrack that you have on your PS3. I think you'll definitely want this as there's nothing memorable about the soundtrack I've heard so far from the game, and some of them are downright annoying. Why ALL racing games don't have this as an option I have no idea. It definitely enhances the enjoyment of the title!