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Need For Speed: Most Wanted PlayStation 2

Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £39.99

Need For Speed: Most Wanted, an introduction.

The popularity of the Need For Speed series seems to know no bounds. As I was just completing this review it's been announced that the game has just become the Christmas number one in the sales charts here in the UK and by the looks of it, it will be in the number one position for a few weeks more at least. No matter what direction the series takes the fans in, they always seem to lap up the latest release and Need For Speed: Most Wanted is certainly no exception.

What's the game about?

The game offers a Career mode, a Challenge Series mode and a Quick Race mode. The game begins with events that occur shortly after you arrive in Rockport City. You'll race against the cronies of a guy called Razor who happens to be 15 th on the road racers blacklist. After beating Razor's cronies you'll get to take on Razor himself. Unfortunately before the race Razor calls the police and warns them of the event. He's also seen to it that your car has been sabotaged so you've no chance of winning the race. The end result of all this is that you lose you car to Razor and the police arrest you. When you're released you'll find that Razor has made his way to the top of blacklist and in order to get your revenge you'll have to defeat all of the other 14 drivers below him on the blacklist. Of course you'll also have to get a new car too and as you'd expect the only cars you can afford at this point are rather poor.

What's good about the game?

The best way to describe NFS: Most Wanted is probably to say that the game is an amalgamation of the previous titles in the series. Not only do you have the long-term challenge of purchasing cars and equipping them with the best parts you can afford, you'll also have the thrills of avoiding the police as they try to break up the races you take part in. It's kind of a blend between the Hot Pursuit and Underground games and it makes for a very enjoyable experience. In order to challenge the 15 drivers on the blacklist you'll have to meet certain requirements. You'll have to win a certain amount of races and achieve milestones (which include some spectacular police chases). On the subject of police chases, they are a whole lot of fun and it's great seeing the number of cars on your tail increase and the police taking more and more severe measures to stop you, including roadblocks and such like. The police chases are very enjoyable but you also have the usual races, circuit races, sprint races etc. to undertake and once again they are enjoyable. When you're done with the Career mode you can then take on the Challenge series, which offers a variety of race and pursuit challenges to keep you occupied. It's also worth mentioning that the game has over 30 licensed cars from manufacturers such as Ford, Porsche and Lamborghini.

What's not so good about the game?

The biggest disappointment has to be that there is no online mode in the PlayStation 2 version. There's more than enough single-player content here but even so it would have been great to have taken part in online races. Another problem is the frame rate which doesn't seem capable of remaining constant. This can make handling far more awkward than it should be when racing at high speeds. The game is also a real mixed bag for deaf gamers and this also takes something away from what is otherwise an entertaining experience. You'll also notice at the beginning of the Career mode, after you've been released by the police, that AI is rather weak in the early events. The AI does improve as the game goes on but to begin with it just doesn't have anything to offer, which makes the events a little uninspiring.

How does it look?

Graphically the game is quite good and the car models certainly look respectable. It's also a nice change to be racing in daylight after the past couple of NFS games have all featured night races. As we've just mentioned though the frame rate struggles for consistency and this is problematic at times. The game has some decent blurring effects, particularly when you use the nitrous. The damage modelling is fairly simplistic though but in a game such as NFS: Most Wanted this isn't really a big deal.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

NFS: Most Wanted is pretty disappointing for deaf gamers. The cutscenes in the game are not subtitled. This is very disappointing as they deliver the story and it basically means deaf gamers will be missing out on events that explain the purpose behind the career mode. Once you've gone through this early part of the game, the dialogue tends to be delivered by voice and text messages more than anything. Whilst the text messages aren't going to give you any problems it's good to see that the voice messages are also displayed in text. The game visually notifies you when you have a message. There's also visual notification that the police are after you, which of course is a big help. In fact the game makes good use of icons and gauges to relay information.

Final thoughts.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted is definitely one of the better games in the series to date. It's great to see the police chases being reintroduced to the series and it adds a real edge to the experience that's been missing for a while. Frame rate problems and unsubtitled cutscenes prevent the game from being a wonderful experience but even with these problems there's more than enough here to justify the asking price. In fact once you get your teeth into it, there's little surprise that the game is number one in the UK sales charts this Christmas.


Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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NFS: Most Wanted is a very enjoyable addition to the series. It's great to see the return of the police chases but the frame rate and support for deaf gamers could have been better.