(PlayStation Vita)

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (PlayStation Vita)

Game Review

Need for Speed: Most Wanted Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Nathan Michalik

Portable octane

Need for Speed: Most Wanted takes place in the beautiful city of Fairhaven where the most notorious street racers call home. As you attempt to make a name for yourself, you’ll have to climb your way up the list of most wanted drivers by earning speed points. To do this, you’ll have to prove that you have some serious chops behind the wheel by outpacing your opponents, shutting down the location's most skilled drivers, and evading intense police chases.

Upon launching the game, you’ll be thrown into your first event. This one-on-one race will help to get you accustomed to the controls, without forcing you to endure a boring tutorial. After the event is finished, you’ll be free to explore the city of Fairhaven without any real restrictions.

From everyday cars such as the Ford Focus, to exotic supercars like the McLaren MP4-12C, Need for Speed: Most Wanted has a vast selection of vehicles to please even the most captious petrol heads. Each of these vehicles feel different, as some handle with precision, while others are simply built for ramming into pesky cops. It's worth adding that whichever automobile you select, the sound effects are absolutely staggering. From the roar of the V8 engines, to the pop of the exhausts, the game really captures the feel of driving a high-performance sports car.

Even better, you’ll have access to nearly all of the packaged cars from the moment you boot up the game. As opposed to tossing you into a sluggish everyday ride at first, and forcing you to unlock all of the vehicles that you actually want to drive, all you need to do is find the car that you want to commandeer on the map and jump into it. These ‘jack points’ are scattered all over Fairhaven, and prove to be extremely addictive to find.

Another notable addition is the ability to customise each car's performance to your liking courtesy of unlockable upgrades. For example, in a race that takes you across the mud, you might want to switch to a short gear transmission and off-road tires to get a head-start over your opponents. Other events will demand similar tweaks, which can be made on-the-fly using the title's Easydrive menu system.

Sadly, the ability to change the visual appearance of your vehicle is not present in this release. Driving through a repair station will randomly change the colour of your car, but that is as far as the visual customisation goes. It's not a deal breaker, but we reckon it would have been nice if you could pimp your current ride with body kits and custom paint jobs.

Throughout, the controls feel extremely responsive and smooth. It’s immediately apparent that a great deal of care was invested into making the game accessible for all players, and not just for wannabe boy racers. The title resists the temptation to implement any superfluous touch controls, mapping the majority of the gameplay to the standard buttons.

For as enjoyable as the core racing is, though, the police chases fall flat. Even when the difficulty of the events spike dramatically, the cop chases constantly remain far too easy. Despite being armed with spike strips, tactical SUVs, and massive roadblocks, it takes very little effort to avoid the law, which is unfortunate.

However, the multiplayer more than makes up for this minor shortcoming. Naturally, the excellent Autolog makes a return, allowing you to track the progress of your friends within the game. The system keeps records of everything from race times to speed points – it even decorates breakable billboards with the avatars of your friends. Obviously, this form of asynchronous multiplayer works brilliantly on the Vita, as it's constantly presenting you with new goals to tackle on the go.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted also boasts a standard multiplayer suite, which constantly rotates objectives as you compete. Events include standard racing, destruction derby, and jump distance challenges, all providing plenty of variety as you race around Fairhaven with friends.

Even more impressively, the Vita version of the game compares favourably to its PlayStation 3 counterpart. Minor adjustments to the graphics, traffic density, and online lobbies are the most notable tweaks, but other than that, the cars, map, and events (with a few Vita exclusive missions) are virtually identical to the home console release. Aside from the lack of traffic affecting the balance of the aforementioned police pursuits, this is a shining example of how Vita ports should be handled.

Conclusion

Need for Speed: Most Wanted's impressive selection of vehicles and vast open world should satisfy your high-speed hunger. With an impressive multiplayer suite, slick gameplay, and stunning visuals, this racer is a real treat. If you're a fan of the genre, Criterion's latest deserves a place at the top of your personal most wanted list.

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User Comments (11)

Savino

#1

Savino said:

Its really impressive when you put side to side with the ps3 version..

Sure, light and effects were cutted down, but the game is intact!

MartinB105

#3

MartinB105 said:

Is this broken like the PS3 version, with only a behind view that feels awkward and a bumper view that's far too low to actually see anything?

No hood cam makes the game practically unplayable to me and puts it down to a 5/10. Such a shame, as I loved Burnout Paradise.

NathanUC

#4

NathanUC said:

@MartinB105 While I personally don't consider it broken, yes the front cam view is a bit awkward to use as your camera is around the license plate instead of the hood. The game plays extremely well from an overhead view in my opinion.

Galvatron

#5

Galvatron said:

Great review - I bought this as a day one release and playing it in tandem with AC: Liberation was a blast.

I was initially disappointed with no proper in-car review but that dissipated once I got the Lamborghini Aventadour. Immediately grew accustomed to the bumper view, and always raises a smile when hitting nitrous to Strange Talk's Cast Away track :-)

Makes me think of Outrun's drift mechanics whilst Magical Sound Shower plays!

9/10 is bang on the money, Galvatron_1976 will be claiming those billboard pictures soon now that I've completed the single player.

Mordresh

#10

Mordresh said:

Awesome review for an awesome game ;)
This game is what the Vita is all about, console experience on the go!

ObviouslySheik

#11

ObviouslySheik said:

I think this is the best racer currently on Vita. Some people complain about less traffic, but I think it's a good balance. I hate it when I'm in a race and I T-bone some random car that came out of nowhere. And as for the cops, I find that it's easy to get rid of them when I'm trying to make them mad, yet it's hard to lose them when I really don't want them around.

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