Arcade racers are a generally appealing experience that most gamers can agree upon. Whether its the manic glee of MotorStorm or the automotive pileups of games like Split/Second, theres a competitive charm about the genre that puts the emphasis less on how cars feel--leave that to the Gran Turismos and Forza Motorsports of the world--and more on bragging rights and trash talk.
Based on our time playing it, and the content EA has showed off, we have plenty of reason to believe that Need for Speed: Most Wanted may end friendships. Frankly, thats a fantastic reason to be excited for it. If nothing else, it evokes the fierce rivalries of Burnout. We expect to hear four-letter words flying around like so many pieces of scrap metal and car tires after a wreck. Here are nine reasons to be excited to play it.
The last reboot was great
You need look no further than 2010s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit to see just how stout the newest games have been for revitalizing the Need for Speed name. Despite well-meaning misfires like NFS: Pro Street and Undercover, the franchise was in a rut until Criterion started stepping in to implement a new approach to the series. Whats the new approach? Rebooting Most Wanteds cop-evading, blacklist-climbing fun as a crash-tastic open-world experience.
Most Wanted 2005 was a darn good NFS game
Before the series began slipping around 2007, there was the original Need for Speed: Most Wanted. It was a fine racer that helped launch the Xbox 360, and made big waves as a last-gen title when it dropped in 2005. With its emphasis on teasing the police and racing around in authentic rides, there was plenty to like about Black Boxs game. The new Most Wanted will capture the high-intensity cop chases and the blacklist (a list of top rival cars that youll need to take down), all within a new environment.
Autolog 2.0 finds new ways to heighten the tension
Criterions take on leaderboards in Hot Pursuit marked not only a sea change (or is that road change?) for how the developer sparks competition between friends, but also got other developers onboard the program, as seen in Shift 2: Unleashed and SSX, which both used its approach to elicit envy among you and pals to rack up high scores. Autolog is designed to incite even more rough rivalries between you and friends. In Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Autolog 2.0 will offer up more points challenges, a new interface, and extra content. Even more importantly, the update will give you more customization over your in-game feed, so if you want to downplay the activity of one friend and heighten your beef with another, there are plenty of options to build the tension, your way.
After all these years, Criterion can wreck real cars!
Unlike the Burnout games, in which placeholder names and fictitious vehicles made up the road wreckage, Most Wanted features real-life vehicles and brands. Make no mistake; this licensing deal is a huge milestone for the developers brand of mayhem. Whether its an Aston Martin V12 Vantage, a Porsche 911 Carrera S, or a Chevy Camaro ZL1, youll be able to mangle these gorgeous vehicles and take all the spoils from your friends. Its the right dose of authenticity and realism in a game that doesnt need to be too realistic, lest it get creepy--you are after all, looking to violently wreck other cars.
Its open world, like Burnout Paradise
With the new Most Wanted, you can drive around Fairhaven City, get into whatever trouble you see fit, and if you lose an event, you can easily stumble into another one nearby and find something else to get into. The layout of the city has been designed with lots of vehicular mayhem in mind, from event to event. Sound like another amazing racer from earlier this gen?
Its multiplayer is competitive, like Burnout Paradise
Besides the use of Autolog to connect you with friends, you can check out our E3 preview for a glimpse of just how viciously competitive races can be. You can look forward to drift and takedown challenges, plus other content that'll cause you to lose friends and alienate people--at least, until the next round of races. Factor in the modes on hand with the rivalries fostered with Autolog 2.0, and this could be a very potent combo.
Criterion is making every version, including the handheld one
Its important to note that Criterion is also working on the PlayStation Vita version of the game. Aside from the CloudComplete feature, the studio has announced that while certain elements havent fully crossed over, its pretty darn close to the PS3 game. In that sense, you may be able to anticipate a smooth crossover from your race at home to an intense (and handheld) Autolog challenge on the bus. The idea of a nearly seamless NFS experience is an enticing one, and knowing that the team is on the Vita version makes it a more appealing pick-up.
With Most Wanteds CloudComplete feature, you can start your progress on one platform and continue on another. Whether thats starting a game on the PlayStation 3 and continuing on the Vita, or perhaps jumping over to the PC game, your ranking and levels are unified across every version of the game. Other EA games have implemented a degree of unified cross-platform rankings, but not on this level of full stat-tracking and progression.
Criterions commitment to post-launch DLC is proven
Burnout Paradise had a solid years worth of free downloadable content that changed the game from a stout racer in its own right into one of the finest titles of this generation. And thats before the paid content like Big Surf Island or Cops & Robbers, which came along after the games first anniversary. While there havent been any announcements made for Most Wanted just yet, the precedent set by Paradise has us eagerly anticipating what new challenges this game may thrust upon us, paid or free.
Are your Needs fulfilled?
Thats a few reasons why we cant wait to uncover more about Need for Speed: Most Wanted. Got other reasons why youre riled up to play Need for Speed: Most Wanted? Let us know in the comments, but leave off anything about hoping to see people flung from their car wrecks. Thats just disturbing.