On the surface Criterion’s latest may be yet another entry in the long running Need For Speed series, but if you pop the hood and look a little closer, this blistering racer has much more in common with the Guildford-based developer’s road rager, Burnout. And that’s a good thing.
Building on 2010’s excellent Hot Pursuit, Most Wanted thrusts you into the icy cool world of street racing on the highway and byways of Fairhaven, the studio’s latest ode to the American sprawl. There the goal is simple: tussle through the ranks of street racers in a bid to climb to the top of the ten most-wanted wheelmen/women in Fairhaven. There’s a disgustingly awesome line-up of four-wheeled monsters to get your hands dirty behind the wheel of, all of which are unlocked as soon as you boot up the game. However, there’s a catch – you have to scour every nook and cranny of this concrete jungle to find them all. Once you’ve found them, each set of wheels has its own races, which culminate in rewards such as Speed Points and upgrades.
Of course, winning isn’t always easy, you’ll have the hostile Fairhaven Police Department and rival racers jockeying for the chance to ram you off the road in true Burnout fashion. And nestled alongside all of this is an equally impressive array of multilayer modes, easily accessible through the latest iteration of the ingenious Autolog System, which pits you and your friends against each other by tracking and comparing every single flick of the wheel you make. Arcade racer of the year? You bet.
Reviewed by Sebastian Williamson