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Need For Speed Most Wanted 2005

Platform(s): GameCube, Nintendo DS, PC, PSP, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360
Genre: Racing
Publisher: EA
Developer: EA

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PS2 Preview - 'Need for Speed Most Wanted'

by Hank on Oct. 6, 2005 @ 1:30 a.m. PDT

Need for Speed Most Wanted delivers a unique, fast-paced and gripping ride in the racing genre as players build up their Rap Sheet and street cred to move their way up the Black List to become the most wanted racer on the streets. Players will go head-to-head with the top drivers on the scene as well as strategically evade more than half dozen cops at any one time. Add in a dynamic open world, new gameplay and customization as well as tuners, supercars, muscles and sports cars and Need for Speed Most Wanted will be on every gamer's "must-have" list.

Genre: Racing
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Games
Release Date: November 16, 2005

Everyone probably remembers the first Need for Speed and how it was the best PC racing game at the time, but several years after release, it has slowly faded into the background. Need for Speed: Underground came around and revived the franchise, but in this rendition, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, EA has decided to mix new and old in order to create an incredible experience.

Unfortunately, the American muscles cars are still not present in this iteration, but at least they brought back most of the police vehicles, which means that the Corvettes are back! Aside from this snazzy re-introduction, the gameplay is quite similar to NFSU.

Like NFSU, the sensibility of the car controls is still too high; if you steer a little too much to the left or right, the vehicle swerves like I've had a little too much to drink. The only difference in the configuration of the face buttons is that there is a new use for the circle button: the Speedbreaker. The effect is much like The Matrix's slow motion "bullet-time," which allows the player to adjust the car slightly, based on one's surroundings. It's very useful when trying to evade the cops and during drag racing when you need to evade oncoming traffic, but I cannot see how well it would do if this were to go online.

Unfortunately, online play was not available in this preview build, so I can only speculate as to which multiplayer modes will be available and whatnot. Need for Speed: Most Wanted may not allow free-roaming as much as Midnight Club, but there is more than one path to get to your destination, and several hidden passages can help to shorten your lap time.

There are three modes of gameplay in the preview build: Tollbooth Time Trial (tutorial), Sprint Race, and Blacklist Rival. Tollbooth Time Trial just lets the player get acquainted with the map and understand the controls. The real fun begins with Sprint race, when you face three other opponents and try to reach the finish line before the other racers. There is one catch, though: once your car passes the finish line, let's just say it's not the safest road to drive on because an infinite amount of police officers will be cruising around, looking to end your joyride. Avoiding them isn't easy, and the more damage you cause, the more "rep" your racer builds, which eventually allows him/her to face members of the Blacklist. Blacklist is essentially drag racing from NFSU, and you race against a renowned rival (the same catch as Sprint mode, complete with cops, also applies here).

It seems that EA Games is trying to create a more story-driven title so that one has to move up the ranks and build "rep" in order to face off against more reputable players. From the limited material on the press build, it's difficult to tell how much of an impact the story will have on overall gameplay. Will it be too arcade-y like NFSU, too much of a racing sim, like GTR, or will it strike a good balance between the two extremes?

On the whole, Need for Speed: Most Wanted is looking pretty good; the cars are really detailed, and the environments look similar to those in Burnout Revenge. From the select tracks available, the music sounds pretty good and fits the game well. In fact, one track even features sirens, which practically pays homage to the "Most Wanted" portion of the title. This game retains most of the good aspects of NFSU and finally re-adds the presence of the cops. While the game may not feature anything shiny and new, Need for Speed: Most Wanted will surely be a fun time.


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