Posted October 1, 2012 by Zeth in Previews

Need for Speed Most Wanted: Hands On Preview


Need for Speed Most Wanted has been referred to as the spiritual successor to developer Criterion’s Burnout Paradise.  Picking up the pad and hitting the start button you can almost immediately agree with the statement – this is Burnout Paradise 2… oh with a few police cars thrown in it.  This is light years away from the Black Box crafted game of the same title from back in 2005.


Scanning down the different demo builds of the game you’d be hard pressed to spot a difference between the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions – although the PS3 versions frame rate seemed a little erratic at times.  Put them next to the PC edition though, the one that I spent most time with, and you can see a huge improvement in looks from the turbo-charged PC edition.


That said both the console and PC editions of the game looked and played superbly.  A super slick world whistled past at a more than alarming pace with frame rates sticking solid.  The sheer amount of detail contained in this open world racer was incredible.  For example instead of a flat textured shop sign you had proper awnings and signage.   OK a small detail but one that demonstrates the sheer dedication to detail Criterion are putting in to Need for Speed Most Wanted.


OK so shimmering cars and breakneck speed are all well and good; but what we really want is a game that plays as good, if not better, than it looks.  Thankfully Criterion  has continued its impeccable track record and produced what seems to be another world, and class, leading racing title.


The build I focused on allowed me to taste some of the open world single player goodness and then simply push the d-pad right to activate multiplayer (ala Burnout Paradise).  In single player I took to the streets, due to the early nature of the build no objective were in place in the section I played.  Instead I had the freedom to juice cruise like a suicidal maniac along the Need for Speed Most Wanted’s well groomed and amply stocked streets.

Car handling is similar to Criterions last Need for Speed outing, wh ich borrowed heavily from Burnout Paradise.  Everything is fast and super responsive with the cars turning incredibly well. It’s more arcade than simulation but it feels right and doesn’t appear to hold your hand too c loosely.   As before close calls, stunts, taking down drivers or driving at on-coming traffic all build your boost meter.  A quick press of the A/X button and the boost kicks in leaving you hurtling down the street.


Wrapping your car around a lamp post, sign or other vehicle at speed results in the almost trademark car damage slow motion animations that made the Burnout series such a joy to watch and play.  On all versions this looks superb but on the PC it looked stunning – the small details in the crumpling or break ing glass were just gorgeous.


Flipping in to multiplayer was smooth and trouble free even wi th this early development build.  Squaring up at the lights this brought back memories of hanging out with buddies and having a blast in Burnout Paradise.  The race started and off we went on a checkpoint based screaming engines and burning turbos all in operation.

What’s clear from my short time with Need For Speed Most Wanted is that this has been the inevitable melding of Criterion’s landmark Burnout franchise and EA’s ailing, once world dominant, Need for Speed franchise.  Fans of both titles are in for an incredible treat and just fifteen minutes of play has moved Need for Speed Most Wanted up to the top of my list of must have games this year.


Need for S peed Most Wanted releases from EA 30/10/12 (US), 01/11/12 (AUS) and 02/11/12 (UK) on PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS Vita, iOS and Android.



Zeth is our EU ninja and Editor in Chief. He's been writing about video games since 2008 when he started on BrutalGamer. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.