The last two games in the Need For Speed franchise have been something truly “unique” to put it nicely. Named Need For Speed: Underground and Need For Speed: Underground 2 respectively, EA chose to stray from the NFS gameplay norms in delivering something to really appeal to the mainstream. Without a doubt, movies like Fast and the Furious and tv shows like MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” were undoubtedly inspirations with the Underground games. They both featured stories of you being this “unknown, wannabe racer” that had to work his way through the ranks to gain respect on the streets. In the meantime, you “upgraded” your vehicle with everything you were able to unlock. This could’ve been anything from your engine’s performance to the very exterior look of your ride.
However, there were two major things missing in both games. One was visible damage. What do I mean by that? Well, let’s just say that crashing into any given obstacle on a track at 200 mph head-on would never warrant you seeing any kind of visible physical damage to your car. Now that’s a bit strange isn’t it? The second is the absence of cops! Now I don’t think anyone could really understand why this happened to be the case, since one of the core gameplay features of NFS has been those cop chases. But in both Underground games, they all seemed to be stuck to their high rising stools at the donut shop. In other words, the cops not having been present in either game could almost lend players to assume that what they were doing wasn’t illegal!
Need For Speed: Most Wanted seeks to go back to its roots while still maintaining some of the aspects from the Underground series. There will be at least 40 playable cars in the game, although a good number more are expected to be in the final version. In terms of actual models, a good number of car manufacturers are being represented here. They include Porsche (Carmen S), Mazda (RX8), Toyota, Chevrolet (Corvette), Ford (Mustang GT), Lamborghini, Cadillac, BMW (GT4) and Volkswagen. Thankfully in this new NFS installment, SUVs will no longer be making an appearance, but don’t be expecting to see any Ferraris either.
But to make racing all these cars a little more exciting, EA chose to hire a custom builder to actually modify the normal appearance of these vehicles JUST for the game. Each model will be different from their real life counterparts, and their unique appearance should make driving them more enjoyable in the actual game. All the vehicles can also be painted to your liking and aesthetically modified to really look like that souped-up ride that you’ve always wanted. However, with these visual enhancements come differences in how each actually control. It seems based on the demo that the cars don’t “feel” like they normally might in real life. The turning sensitivity seems more intense and just how they control overall appears to be a bit different. It is supposedly easy enough to get used to, but only we can be the deciders of that. Why EA would even think to modify how the cars actually control is a bit strange, which lends you to think their infamous “arcade” elements will be very evident here.
Now we have the actual racing modes that are known to exist at this point. They are currently comprised of three different special types of races: toll booth, sprint and drag. They all seem to increase in difficulty from start to finish of that particular list. The actual racing of the game is complimented by a 30 frames per second rate, with civilian, cop and opponent cars gracing your television screen.
Then we have the game’s straight racing and pursuit racing. You can actually play the main game however you please, but eventually you will be forced to take part in either of the two previously mentioned. The actual racing is comprised of the three different modes explained before, while pursuits encompass variations of cop chases. These can include point-to-point, time-based, speed trap races and more that we don’t yet know about. A brand new feature being introduced to the NFS franchise in this game is Pursuit Breaker. This isn’t meant to be confused with EA’s NBA Street Breaker system, but the ideas are somewhat similar. How the Breaker system works in this game is basically as a tool for you to use in thwarting cop pursuits. You can basically use destructible objects such as water towers to slow down or completely stop cops from chasing you. Doing so successful will earn you some nice points!
Need For Speed: Most Wanted also features a story, but it’s not quite as expansive as the Underground ones were. It really isn’t the core of the actual game either, but there still is one there to experience. The beginning of the game will set up the story through about a 6-9 minute long FMV. Of course, you’re the “new guy” in town, and you’re very much interested in becoming the baddest racer known around. To do this, you must defeat all the racers in the city that are currently on the “black list”. Your new adversary happens to be Sgt. Cross, the city’s sheriff, who’s determined to put a stop to all this illegal street racing. He basically wants to ban the whole deal altogether. During actual races, you’ll be able to earn yourself bounty points which you can in turn use to enter new races, buy new vehicles or modify your current ones to your liking. Car modifications will include exterior and performance enhancements, but they too aren’t keys to the overall game’s experience. That is a good thing since the racing is what you should be focusing your attention upon.