Rule the roads of Criterion's open world
Need for Speed: Most Wanted is an open world racing game developed by Criterion Games and published by Electronic Arts. In Most Wanted you play as an anonymous hero determined to be the most infamous and savvy driver to ever rule the streets of Fairhaven. This means beating out the competition, outperforming other racers, and maneuvering at breakneck speeds through a cluttered city - all while keeping a step ahead of the cops.
Own the street and embrace infamy
The nineteenth title in the Need for Speed series, Most Wanted is available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, Wii, iOS, and Android. (The Wii version, Need For Speed: Most Wanted U, released one year later). EA's 2012 remake is a love letter remake to the original Need for Speed: Most Wanted made in 2005.
Most Wanted is a fast-moving game, even by comparison to other racing games. Online play is an endless playlist of competitive events where you'll quickly pick a car and jump right in. Even the starting line isn't just a place to spin your wheels; you can ram into other cars to force a better start position. Cars aren't just about speed and handling in Most Wanted - they're about personality.
An open world racer
Need For Speed: Most Wanted puts the bulk of its focus into exploring and navigating through its open world. Fairhaven is a beautiful map, with winding streets, death-defying jumps, regal architecture, and grungy side streets. The contrast is especially noticeable when speeding between the placid beach and the cramped Industrial District. The branching paths pave the way for memorable non-linear racing, inspired by Need for Speed: Carbon.
Fairview's visual variety also lends itself to well-placed jumps and tight shortcuts. The replayability is enhanced by the variety of cars, each of which finds its strengths in different environments. The alleyway that slowed you down and lost you the race early in the game might be the key to winning in a vehicle with superior handling.
Compete in different event modes
Need for Speed: Most Wanted offers four types of game modes: Sprint races, circuit races, speed runs, and ambush races. Speed runs are the most fundamental, going from point A to point B as fast as possible. Sprint and circuit races place you on a generated course, with the latter requiring a set number of revolutions. Lastly Ambush races are about evading the police as quickly as possible.
The titular most wanted races are the most memorable: Circuitous, high-octane routes with police lying in ambush. Winning these provides the opportunity to chase down rivals, stealing their place in the top 10 and rewarding you with their car. The stakes are high in these fast-paced scenarios, and make for some of the game's best moments.
Compared to other racing games
Similar to EA's Burnout Paradise, Most Wanted has its fair share of realism, bringing in licensed cars and a focus on urban handling. It's far less realistic than a game like Assetto Corsa, however, favoring cinematic flair over immersion. Still, the result is a hybrid experience that brings together the winning elements of arcade racing with a masterfully-rendered open world.
Gameplay and customization
The core of a good [racing game] is the gameplay. There's just enough variety in the vehicles to keep the experience fresh, and each feels different enough to make players question their decisions. Drift controls are intuitive, and using the handbrake (which you'll be relying on heavily) feels immersive and logical. Winning events provides new customization options such as tire configurations, improved chassis, and the all-important nitro boosts.
Become the star racer in an open world playground
EA took note of what the fans of the original 2005 Most Wanted wanted to see, and made it a point to model their races in the same style, integrating police to boost the mayhem and tension up to eleven. Like Burnout Paradise, Most Wanted takes place in a big open world and features competitive online play for those daring enough to try their hand.
Crash damage is now streamlined
The biggest change from EA's other racer, Burnout Paradise, is that the 2012 Most Wanted has the car crashes removed. While this may disappoint some, it was done to speed up the experience and focus on the race more than the spectacle. Cars will still sport damage received, however. The multiplayer experience has also been more streamlined, offering drop-in/drop-out via the Easydrive menu system.