As is Need For Speed’s fashion of releasing new titles and sequels every year, this year we have witnessed NFS launching a sequel to Most Wanted, a title that is considered to be the best and the most visceral NFS game ever made.
Unlike the Hot Pursuit series, the Most Wanted ’05 didn’t really bother with damage or physics. The main goals were to take down the Blacklist and escape from the cops however possible. Most Wanted allowed users to ram through road-blocks, heavily customize a lineup of top brand supercars in its era, and introduced in-game clips that featured real actors interacting with you. Developed by BlackBox, the Most Wanted ’05 was a game that even a non-gamer would enjoy. It definitely was the best car racing game ever made, and, safe to say, is the best even in today’s standards. Even after 7 years have passed since its launch, we’d still play that game and enjoy terrorizing the streets in gleaming, noisy Blacklist cars that we won.
So the big question is, does the Most Wanted 2012 live up to the great reputation of its previous title?
Click past the jump to find out our answer to the above question.
Being the sequel to the famous Most Wanted ’05, this game has some big shoes to fill. This time Need for Speed has relied on Criterion, known for the Burnout series, to take up the challenge of creating the game. So let’s find out how different Criterion’s approach to the title is compared to Blackbox’s approach.
If you have played Hot Pursuit ’10 and The Run (Criterion’s other titles), then the gameplay of the MW ’12 is, in a way, predictable. Inspired by the Burnout series, the game pays less attention to real-time physics and more attention on how the player can take down any car that is bugging. Here is an example of how much the developers have concentrated on real-time physics. During one of the races where we were driving a Bugatti Veyron SS, in a corner, we drifted at over 147 mph. Now, if this feat was attempted in real life or in a simulation game, then start paying your debts and convey to your family members that you love them before attempting so (in a simulation game you’ll end up restarting rather than ever finishing the race). But, we don’t really care because the fun one enjoys while playing arcade games of this sort, is absolutely over the top. And the NFS MW ’12 doesn’t disappoint in that aspect.
The game is slightly unusual in terms of general gameplay, but it’s unusual in a good way. In MW ’12 the player doesn’t unlock or buy vehicles. Instead the player must find the cars in the big open city of Fairhaven. And for a lineup of many brands, that might be a daunting task. For some cars, the player must search every nook and cranny while some cars are easy to spot on plain sight. While this approach allows the eager player to try out a fancy exotics right from the beginning of the game, it is to be noted that when you select a race, you will only have to race with the car that you’re stuck in. There’s no option of choosing your particular, favorite car to smoke that race event. This approach may have its fair share of fans as well as haters. We think it’s a good approach as it prolongs the game and gives us the opportunity to race every vehicle in the game’s lineup.
The game features 10 Blacklist members that you have to beat if you plan on progressing through the game. Each Blacklist member holds keys to super-exotic cars that can be yours if you beat them. To add to that visceral and exciting experience, beating a blacklist member is not enough to take hold of his keys. You should obliterate him. After the race, if you have won, the game requires you to take down the blacklist member in the worst way possible so that your deserve the keys to his exotic. Word of warning, if you beat the guy with the Bugatti Veyron SS, beat it with a really a fast car as it’s an even tougher task taking him down. Though we miss the movie clips of Razor threatening in MW ’05, this doesn’t disappoint.
How can we forget the cops? The force that helps us enjoy the game more by troubling us. In the MW ’12 the cops are as determined as MW ’05 and Hot Pursuit ’10. At the commitment of a crime, the car chasing you will be the favorite Ford Crown Victoria . Upon constant evasion, the Police Force will upgrade to the beefier Dodge Charger SRT 8s and the Ford Explorer that’s used as a ramming toy. If you’re good enough, the Police have another treat for you. The Dodge Chargers will slowly back off and in their place comes the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. Add to that, roads blocked and spike strips laid by heavily armored S.W.A.T. vehicles. Now this is the action we’ve been waiting for. Upon constant terrorizing, the bounty will increase, like in the MW’05, and at a certain point makes you eligible to take on Blacklist members.
Then there’s the Autolog, a portal that allows the player to challenge other online players to races and the best place to redeem bragging rights. This time it is integrated more into the game than ever before with recommendations not in some hidden menu.
So that was all the pluses of the Need for Speed MW’12. Now let’s take a look at its negatives.
First off, customization. There is absolutely no sort of customization to the look and design of the car. No huge spoilers, flaring fenders and large rims that were seen in the MW ’05. However, you do get to customize the performance of the vehicle, from tires to nitrous to gears to body style.
Like in the Run where the player had to pass through a gas station to fix the vehicle, MW ’12 also has a similar treatment. At a safe speed you pass through a gas Station and viola, the car is fixed with a new paintjob. Sadly, we cannot choose the color. So, if you are particular about that, you’ll end up going to and fro the station till the desired color is sprayed on.
Not for us, but for some people, they might find the aggressive A.I., bad. In most races, every opponent will be aiming to knock you down in a harsh way, which adds to the fun, challenging and visceral experience.
Last but not the least, the damage. In MW ’05 the player can simply ram through any road block without a single scratch, which was absurd to a realist but pure fun for the rest. Sadly, in MW ’12 the cars actually get torn up badly at the mere contact of a well set-up road block. Even the Ford Raptor SVT, which was seen tossing away cops into the horizon in the game trailer, doesn’t really provide the same justice in the actual game.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics is where the MW ’12 outshines any car game that is on the market today. It has all the visual eye candy one would expect from games of today’s standards. The level of detail is absolutely immaculate, which looks really astonishing when you play the game on a nice, vivid panel.
Leaving car detail, aside, Criterion has also focused on the environmental aspects, such as traversing on mud or water.
The UI of the game is clean and neat without too many menu options. Upon start of the game, you’ll be greeted with the car you drove last whilst displaying the player stats. This is a good departure from the overcrowded menus of various other titles.
In the Audio department, Need for Speed has done it again. Mixing a good set of tracks (and some bad ones) and the songs really stimulate your game. And let’s not forget the orchestra from the lineup of exotics in the game. As car enthusiasts, we wouldn’t say they are accurate although they’re satisfying to the ears.
For those of you who haven’t played MW ’05 would find this game thoroughly visceral and fun as its definitely the best game the NFS has launched over the past couple of years, but for those who have, would find this game tad little disappointing. It doesn’t come up to the fun, the challenging and the exciting gameplay of the original Most Wanted, but Most Wanted 2012 is fairly close. We would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for some thrills and fun that Need for Speed is famous for bringing to the table.
Great lineup of exotics, muscle cars and hot hatches
Aggressive A.I. that adds to the visceral experience.
Autolog for great multiplayer races
Not as good as NFS Most Wanted 2005
Lack of visual customization