Review by OmegaMewtwo
Damn near the most fun I had playing a game I don't usually play!
Not too long ago, I submitted a review for this game on the GameCube. I gave the GC version a good shelling and sang the praises of the XBox360 version in comparison. I can say - after having officially beat it and wanting to try it again - that this version of the game is, without a doubt, the best version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted out there.
I will say a few bad things about this game, though: One is that the story of this game isn't fresh. You enter a pseudo-LA as a street racer who has already made a name for himself elsewhere and instantly run into the police, one of the many enemies you'll face in your climb up the Blacklist..... But this story - while not original - will yank you in and not let go. Why? You'll be seized by a sense of injustice when one of the races you run in the pre-game ends dishonestly. And the fact that some of the Blacklisters as well as the crook himself call you up to taunt you makes this game that much more engaging. I find myself wanting to run a couple races, two hours later I'm another spot up on the list and another boss car richer. This all combines to make this game attention-grabbing and the elements of "leveling up" your cars gives a feeling of an RPG to this title - a BIG thing for me!
The challenge doesn't slope up super-slowly, nor does it ramp up ridiculously in a few stages. In fact, except for one part near the middle of the game, the challenge of the tasks you must accomplish in order to face the next rival ramps up very smoothly. Even raking in huge amounts of bounty on a single pursuit becomes cake near the end. The pursuits themselves are white-knuckle action from beginning to end, and you'll get a real workout from the sheer amount of adrenaline that comes from being chased by 25 Corvettes - even if it IS on a TV screen
The graphics are eye-popping and VERY detailed - down to the cracks on the asphalt as you barrel over it at 200mph. The city is rendered very well and the passing of a typical day is a nice added touch. One small complaint is the rainstorm that seems to break out at around 4PM doesn't seem to cause any traction loss at all..... Ah, well, curse of the nit-picker.....
Even if it doesn't have the Autosculpting of NFS: Carbon or ProStreet or thousands of vinyl layers like Forza, customizing your own street rod is VERY easy and allows for dozens of combinations. You can take ANY of the 32 cars in the car shop and make them look like a rally car. And the array of cars is wide for only having 32, from Audis to Lamborghinis, from the tiny Lotus Elise to the intimidating Porsche Carrera GT, there's a good selection in here. The right body kit, paint job and vinyls can make even passive cars look totally aggro - and that's part of the fun!
The music may be a bit repetitive - even if you put the music on random - but the sound quality as a whole is totally spot-on. From the police officers bullhorns to the whine of the car's engines, from the screeching of tires to the thumping of collisions, all the sounds are where they need to be and totally believable. You will instantly fall in love with the jet-engine-like whine of the Gallardo as it gets up to speed!
Gameplay is, as it is in all games of this genre, fast and furious. During the course of this game, you will be doing stunts only seen in the movies: Flying through a billboard, eluding a total armada of cops, sliding under - You heard me: UNDER - the bed of a truck at 150MPH a la "The Fast and The Furious", it's all here and more. If you have fantasies about doing that, this is the game to have!
Replay value is totally there. Maybe you want to pick a different car as your starter, maybe you want to clear this game without buying a single car from the shop, maybe you want to beat the game without using a boss car, it's up to you. In fact, you may want to play through multiple times just to ensure you've seen all there is to see and experienced all there is to experience.
Overall, this is a solid title for the XBox360. Combining an engaging story, a wonderfuly-rendered environment, lots of fast exotic cars, spot-on sound, a huge amount of customization options, white-knuckle thrills and a managable challenge ramping, this game is the best non-RPG I ever played. This game gets a VERY solid 9 out of 10.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Need for Speed Most Wanted (US, 11/16/05)
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