|Developer(s)||EA Black Box|
|Series||Need for Speed|
|Platform(s)||Nintendo DS,Microsoft Windows,PlayStation 2,PlayStation Portable, Xbox,GameCube,Game Boy Advance,Xbox 360, PlayStation 3|
|Release date(s)||November 25, 2005|
|Genre(s)||Racing, open world|
|Distribution||CD, DVD, GameCube Game Disc, Game Boy Advance cartridge, Nintendo DS Game Card|
Joel: Awesome – we’re back on the racing games! I especially like them because Liam’s rubbish at them so they are almost guaranteed wins, though after 22 hours that might not be the case… What’s to say about NFS:MW? Well, according to Wikipedia it’s the ninth release in the franchise, which sounds about right. I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with this series – I played a few of the really old ones on PC through and they were alright, if a little arcade-y. The series got a massive overhaul with NFS:Underground which was awesome and horrible at the same time. Pros included Lots of cool cars, lots of customisation options, a pretty large city to roam about and I think it was the first game I played with a decent implementation of a drag race system, where winning was based on decent gear changes and well-timed use of nitrous. The cons however were that you were forced to bolt ridiculous neons and hilariously large spoilers to your car in order to progress, not to mention hideous car paint. The physics were at times infuriating, often resulting in you getting what became affectionately called “nubbed” – this was where your car might clip a tiny nub of scenery and come to a dramatic screeching halt, or flip over or something else equally ridiculous. Anyway, I seem to be talking a lot about the wrong game. The follow-up, NFS:UG2 was basically the same game. I quickly grew to hate it. Then, however, came this, NFS: Most wanted.
After a pretty decent graphical overhaul, a soundtrack featuring rock giants such as Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Killswitch Engage and Mastodon and the removal of Drift mode (I hate drift racing in games… so much) and some physics upgrades we were given a pretty decent game. The premise is reasonably simple: escape the five-o in progressively faster cars whilst they become smarter and more aggressive. There is of course a “story” featuring some melodrama and a little deceitful twist at the end, but as with most of the NFS games, the plot is paper thin and largely irrelevant. Major publications gave this game very decent reviews and rightly so – it is indeed pretty decent.
So I think I’ve got a pretty good chance of coming out on top here. But the pressure will be on as we’re quickly running out of games and if Liams predications are correct, I’ll be a bit behind overall here. Still, we’ll have MarioKart Wii in a couple hours so that should be OK.
Liam: Shockingly I actually quite like this game, although if you have been reading my reviews on the previous driving games you can probably understand why. To me, games like Forza and Grand Turismo are for driving enthusiasts… purists who really care about weight to power ratios and torque. If these games are the anoraks wet dream The Need for speed series (not all of the games in the series, but generally) is more like Top Gear. In fact I am waiting for my caravan destruction mini-game.
NFS:MW is pretty indicative for the series and includes the high octane arcade thrill that fans of the series will recognise. This game was also a launch title for the xbox360 (and I used to own a copy some time ago) and has been recently rebuilt and released. The games plot is awful. Some guff about beating a series of other street racers to win back the BMW you lose in the opening few minutes of the game.
In my not so humble opinion there are two reasons why this far superior to many other driving games:-
1, Visuals. The game looks stunning. We will be playing the PS2 version which is graphically less impressive than the xbox360 version which was a launch title for the console but is still a massive leap forward. The game is slick, colourful and most importantly fast. Neon signs whirl past your screen, reflecting off your paintwork as you whip through checkpoints at breakneck speeds. When you brake, you don’t ease onto the break pedal before slowly pulling away. You use your handbrake, going sideways round the corner revealing the shiny broadside of your suped up motor – complete with lurid graphics and neon under-lights. This all happens subconsciously as you concentrate on getting round the tracks but this bombardment of stimuli (aided by a pumping soundtrack) really keeps you on your toes.
2, Pursuits. One of the main mechanics of the game, as you would expect from a street racing game, is that the fuzz occasional get a bit peeved with you dicking about on the public highways and decide to try and stop you. This leads to a Smokey and the Bandit style cat and mouse chase complete with destructible scenery to smash up following police cars. Massive fun!
I think in a straight point to point race I will probably struggle. I am a dab hand at the more creative games though. Speedtrap being my favourite where you set aggregate speed records at various traffic cameras. We don’t know exactly what we are doing with this game yet but I really hope we get a bash at this.