Review by bbears

Reviewed: 08/08/06

Need for Prozac: Most Frustrating!

INTRO: I have been a on again off again NFS fan. One the original PS1 it was probably my favorite racing title. The series was recently revived by the Underground titles which had a heavy emphasis on modding. So this is a sequel to those games, right? Actually it attempts blend Underground with the older Hot Pursuit titles by using an incredibly cheesy storyline.

GRAPHICS: Actually NFS: MW is one of the best looking games on the 360. Amazing clarity and detail make all the cars and environments look great. There is also a lot of cool effects like rain on the camera and glare form the sun. But being realistic here, it is racing a game in a generic city. Although there are lots of landmark there isn’t much distinguishing factors from course to course. So basically I’m saying there isn’t much depth but what’s there looks great! The crazy physics system is also tons of fun to play with (as long as you don’t question its logic).
Score 8

SOUND: One thing EA always does well is have a great soundtrack. Whatever genre you like EA has got you covered. And of course you can customize the track to play the songs you want as well. The cars themselves sound very realistic and all the expected sounds of a racing game are here and sound great too. In fact the cars actually sound better here than on any other racing game I have played. The voice acting even is pretty good, despite being cheesy.
Score 10

CONTROLS: Although it might take a little bit, once you master the controls NFS is a superb handily game. The analog controls are really tight and responsive. Which is a very good thing because later on in the game difficulty sky rockets and so its nice to know the controls are one thing you don’t have to worry about. The one real problem here is that depth perception in game can be troublesome. Mainly when changing lanes on the interstate.
Score 9

STORY: I can’t tell if the it’s meant to be funny or not, but it is definitely unashamedly cheesy. Actors are superimposed into the virtual world for the cut scenes. Basically your this big time racer trying to become number one when the current top guy trashes your car and you end up in jail. So guess what? Now that your out it’s time for revenge!
Score 5

GAMEPLAY: Now let me explain why your going to need that Prozac... Now that your out of jail you need a car to race so you buy a bottom end stock car to start. And in a very simplistic fashion unlock performance parts to make your car faster and customize the look of your car, as you progress the game. Also more cars become available as you go and you can have more than one car at a time in your garage. There are 15 racers (levels) on your way up the list to be number 1 and get your car back. The car list is the best part, it ranges from a Golf GTI to Porsche Carrea GT. For me getting better cars was more incentive to play than the actual progression of the game. And the racing part is even fun too! With great controls going through the 5 to 10 races on each level is fun and never gets that repetitive. The races differ from Sprint, Drag, Tollbooth (time attack), Circuit, and Speedtrap (highest cumulative speed total). Drag races are the only frustrating race because the depth perception problem in game when changing lanes at 120+ on busy streets. Now the bad part... the police chases. Every level requires that you achieve some many points in these chases and complete certain objectives, i.e. last 10 minutes or hit 30 cop cars. This is where that crazy physics system comes into play as you launch cop 50 feet in to there if you hit them in the trunk, but get stopped cold if you hit them in engine. The chases start out simple and have an escalating alert levels like GTA. These alert levels stay attached to the car you use during the chase but go down if switch cars frequently. The chases get tough in latter part of the game as your forced to evade for 8 to 12 minutes, and if you lose you get no points and have to pay outrageous fines, which keeps you from putting money into your car to make these chases a success. Oh, wait a minute, no money? Bye bye car. And yes there just happens to be a lightning quick autosave (only time I have cursed an autosave). And it is not a matter of skill you WILL lose these chases. Literally, you will have 15 cars, a helicopter, 3 armored SUVs, dodge spike traps, road blocks, and even invisible spike strips randomly in middle of the road. Only superhuman reflexes and smart use of the slow motion “speed breaker’ will save you. Not to mention the lost time trying last 12 minutes and then failing SEVERAL times. So yes this game is very fun, but it is also very much hard. And cheap. I hate to call a game cheap since we have graduated from the NES days, but how else do you explain an AI racer you just took out catching up to you in 10 seconds when he is 20 seconds behind you?
Score 7

REPLAY: The ‘story” mode will last you 10 to 20 hours depending on skill, and yes lots of luck. After that there is 60 something to complete to unlock special cars and features. These also feature pursuits, so I avoided this part. There is a lot of unlockable cars and stuff to explore once you beat the story mode. The best part (and redeeming factor) is the online multiplayer with rankings and leader boards, taking your ride(s) online for battle is great fun.
Score 9

BOTTOM LINE: If you have patience and like high end cars then this game is worth it. But be warned if you are the casual gamer or are timid of racing games, stay far away. Also the problems don’t show up until late in the game so if you rent make sure its is an extensive one.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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