Criterion made it very clear: “we do not make other people’s games.”
This is evident from the second we saw footage of Need For Speed Most Wanted. If anything, it looks and feels like this was everything Burnout Paradise should have been: open world racing with constant objectives, races, missions, and total carnage. It also looks nothing like the game of the same name that launched in 2005.
Oh, and the world is incredibly easy to navigate too, unlike Paradise’s City.
That being said, I did have an issue with the game, but let’s talk about the positives first. The game looks stunning, even in an early stage, with the damage of each car standing out. At times I was debating if the game looks even better than Forza, though that verdict will be decided when both games launch later this year. Currently, for the record, I’d give a slight edge to Most Wanted.
Looks, however, aren’t everything, as Forza’s handling runs circles around Most Wanted. Sure, it’s a different genre of racing and once you get used to drifting and breaking around every turn like you’re in Fast and the Furious things get a little better, but in it’s current state, I found it very difficult to get used to. The developers on hand touted how the game handles like a Criterion game, but I’m not buying it quite yet.
Is the game fun? Well, yes, but thanks to my dislike of the controls, it’s far more fun to watch than anything. I’m sure given time I’ll be enjoying the offerings, especially the drop in/drop out multiplayer with uses a meet up system where players will head to a random location on the map while the game determines whether they’ll race, attempt high speeds, or other objectives. As mentioned before, the city is incredibly easy to navigate and everything is fair game, from smashing billboards of other EA developers, to taking down other racers after you finish, helping to protect your lead in an objective.
Need For Speed Most Wanted has been made with one goal in mine: total chaos. Criterion has certainly met said goal with flying colors, but the handling just isn’t quite there for my tastes. I don’t doubt that they’ll be able to fine tune everything in time for launch later this year, but you’ll have to excuse my cautious optimism.