Racing game fulfills a need for fun, not a 'Need for Speed'

Special to the ManifestoFebruary 28, 2013 

The new Need for Speed: Most Wanted from Criterion bears the same name as a 2005 title, but it's not a remake. It's more like another sequel in the Burnout series.

PHOTO COURTESY GAMES PRESS

  • VIDEO GAME REVIEW

    'Need for Speed: Most Wanted'

    About: The latest title in the long-running racing series.

    Players: Single, multiplayer

    Pros: The visuals and soundtrack are terrific for this title, which focuses on arcade-style races that are less realistic than games like Forza and Gran Turismo.

    Cons: The gameplay gets repetitive. With its focus on multiplayer and lack of story, it's not a great title for solo gamers.

    Availability and price: $59.99 on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U; $49.99 on PC; $39.99 on PS Vita. Also available as downloads on iOS, Android and Kindle Fire.

    ESRB rating: E10+

    Manifesto's rating: 8/10 (Xbox 360)

    Metacritic rating: 8.4/10 (Xbox 360)

You might think you would confuse the recently released Need for Speed: Most Wanted with the 2005 game of the same name.

But you would be more likely to confuse the game with a Burnout title because of its almost cartoonlike racing at times.

I certainly did during the first half-hour or so of starting the game. I kept thinking I had put in the wrong disc and was playing what seemed like the 83rd edition of Burnout rather than the 97th edition of Need for Speed.

Except for the words on the in-game menus and box art, developer Criterion made no effort to conceal the fact that this game is a spiritual Burnout sequel.

In fact, it's not even a remake of the 2005 Need for Speed. It's an entirely new title with new modes, social connectivity and mostly online interactions.

That's either very welcome or quite disappointing depending on what type of racing fan you happen to be.

I'm disappointed because the 2005 edition of Most Wanted was one of my all-time favorite racing games. I absolutely loved the storyline of how you became the actual "most wanted" racer out there on the streets by slowly climbing your way to the top.

I was so excited to relive a bit of that with this game, but sadly, there isn't much of a plot here. Go to X, grab car Y, compete in race Z. That's about all you're going to get.

But if you're a diehard Burnout fan, you'll love it and its more arcade style of gameplay. It's a time-killing game with plenty of exciting crashes and cartoony effects rather than the more serious feel of Most Wanted. It's pretty much a Burnout pig with Most Wanted lipstick.

Multiplayer is a primary focus in this Most Wanted, so if you're a solo-centric player, I wouldn't recommend picking this up. But if you love racing online against your friends and random strangers, this game has a lot of depth. It'll keep you coming back for race after race.

At its core, Need for Speed: Most Wanted is a fun arcade racing game. If you're in the market for this style of racing that offers less simulation and is more action-packed, it's a good purchase.

But if you were looking for another entry in the amazing Most Wanted series, look elsewhere, or perhaps break out that 8-year-old disc and relive some of the best races ever created digitally.


VIDEO GAME REVIEW

'Need for Speed: Most Wanted'

About: The latest title in the long-running racing series.

Players: Single, multiplayer

Pros: The visuals and soundtrack are terrific for this title, which focuses on arcade-style races that are less realistic than games like Forza and Gran Turismo.

Cons: The gameplay gets repetitive. With its focus on multiplayer and lack of story, it's not a great title for solo gamers.

Availability and price: $59.99 on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U; $49.99 on PC; $39.99 on PS Vita. Also available as downloads on iOS, Android and Kindle Fire.

ESRB rating: E10+

Manifesto's rating: 8/10 (Xbox 360)

Metacritic rating: 8.4/10 (Xbox 360)

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