Application Review: Need for Speed: Most Wanted

[IMG]Electronic Arts | 1.7 GB | $ 6.99

Last year, Electronic Arts published Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed. This game, although it didn’t have the crispest of graphics, still impressed me with its track-focused racing. This year, NFS decided to go back to the cop-dodging ways. And with that, Most Wanted was brought back. 

Gameplay

The developers really up’d the ante when it came to the gameplay and overall feel of NFS. Yes, it’s not perfect, but comes close. You begin as a racer who is on their way to top the most wanted charts. You participate in various events that have you get behind the wheel of the most exotic cars on this planet by racing head to head, going through time trials, and driving hot cars from A to B.

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Become the most wanted racer by beating those on the leaderboards.

You begin the game driving a roaring Challenger down a tutorial race in which you take the win. Your journey begins from there. You’ll take the Challenger for a few races, then eventually upgrade for better muscle cars like an SRT Viper or buy a new exotic like Pagani. There are plenty of cars in the game, many that are scary-fast with sleek designs (and others that your grandma wouldn’t mind driving). There are also many NFS Edition cars that come and go with time. They are simply redesigned versions of the in-game cars with better stats.

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There are many cars throughout the game that you’ll unlock along the way. NFS Edition cars can really come in handy, despite the costs.

With each vehicle, you have limited customization options. You have choice of a few paint schemes, as well as 2 modifications you can make. Mods improve the stats of your car, and aren’t permanent. For some reason, you can change the entire chassis on your vehicle, only to have it morph back into the old chassis you had before the race started. Then you pay another 3k to buy a new chassis. Obviously this is a way for EA to try to get you to pay more cash for upgrades.

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I upgraded my engine, after the race, it jump out and ran away.

The racing aspect of the game itself is very well developed. Cops show how pesky they are when their Suburban sandbags you into other cars. The police privileged enough to drive a faster Charger or ZR1 chase you down and jerk you off course. You can take them down by slamming them back where they came from or burn off some nitro to get away. Whatever you do, watch out for roadblocks and spike strips.

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That Charger is no match for the size and power of my Challenger.

The idea of nitrous, police, and fast cars gives the game a fast pace to it. You’re evading the police while trying to overtake of your opponents in the race. At times, the police will help you out to take out your opponent for you; in others, they’ll take you down. The races have many twists and turns, and although all vehicles do predetermined actions in each race, the experience still changes each time you take the wheel.

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NFS has a really fast feel to it.

Two control schemes allow you to tame the wild beasts of the road: tilt and touch controls. The touch controls require some adjustment, you swipe left or right on the left side of the screen to turn. In both modes, you touch the right side of the screen (or whole screen) to brake. No accelerate option is given, the game does it for you. It’s kind of sad to see manual acceleration control taken away, it’s something that I really would have liked to have.

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The touch control scheme is nice to have, but I’d rather like to be able to tell my car when to accelerate.

Despite a couple of caveats, the game runs beautifully and is immensely fun. The fast paced, cop-slamming races really become a nice thrill. Swerving through traffic and layers of police cars makes it even more exciting. It really is just a amusing arcade racer.

Gameplay: ★★★★½

Graphics

If there is one thing that I noticed right away with Most Wanted, it was the graphics. The graphic abilities have been improved ten-fold in NFS MW. Detailing on signs and billboards are so clear you can literally read them out. The course is marked clearly though, so there is no need to do so. Lighting and blur effects bring the game’s graphics to another level of depth. This is a game where you can literally let the nitrous rip (no matter how unrealistic it is to do so) and the sparks fly.

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The graphical nature of the game is immensely detailed.

Like any NFS game, a nice damage model is included as well. Unlike something like the Gran Turismo series, you can rip bumpers off the vehicles in the race. You can trade paint with the car next to you. The car exiting the race can literally look like it just went through a demolition derby.

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Loose bumpers can eventually trim right off.

Graphics: ★★★★★

Audio

Audio queues become a huge part of NFS. Massive sound effects from the engine’s rev all the way up to the grinding of the paint right off your car can be heard in great detail. Passing vehicles whoosh through the Doppler effect while sirens drown the entire race. We also find that you have intercepted every police message sent across the vehicles. These give warning to where roadblocks are placed and when a spike strip will be planted which also has a sound effect of it’s own.

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You don’t just see the sparks fly, you hear your Challenger scraping the Camaro.

Audio: ★★★★★

Replay

After you finish the races with a podium finish, you aren’t done. You can beat the game without winning every race, just the important ones. That said, you have the chance to go back, finish the previous races with your new armada of vehicles and wipe the floor with your Veyron vaporizing the Ford Focus and Lancia Delta. In addition, a little achievement board is really all you get post-game though. Online gameplay could have been incorporated somehow to add some sort of replay. Heck, I would even accept a randomly generated arcade race.

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I finished first here, but if you didn’t, you can re-race after you beat the game with a car that isn’t as wrecked.

Replay: ★★★

Value

There is a lot of value behind the game. The gameplay itself is pretty long. I know I’ve spent a couple hours on it so far… I haven’t unlocked half of the available cars yet, then again, I haven’t spent too much cash either. The gameplay, graphics, and audio really make the game stellar; the replay takes it all away. For 7 dollars, I do expect some sort of replay.

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Graphics are a real selling point of the game.

Value: ★★★★

Final Thoughts

I was impressed with the gameplay of NFS Unleashed 2, and with the new NFS Most Wanted, the graphics were the real surprising. Never have I seen an NFS game for iOS have great graphics. Until now. The gameplay is a lot of fun, despite having a few downs, the graphics are up to date, and the audio queues really bundle together to create such a great game.

Overall Score

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Need for Speed: Most Wanted

† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
All accessories, applications, themes, tweaks, or other products were purchased by iFans at their respective prices unless stated otherwise.

 

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