I still play Burnout Paradise, it’s one of those games I can just dip into, play a quick event and be done with it. I was beginning to miss the wonderful work of Criterion and to be honest when I first heard about NFS Most Wanted I really wasn’t that bothered by it. That all changed when I heard it was Criterion were behind the wheel. The game is set in the city of Fairhaven, where you can cruise around the mountains, or take in the sights of the city. If you look hard enough you’ll find the dockyards and construction sites for you to practice your skills around in your high-priced cars.

Can you become the most wanted driver?

So what is the main aim of NFS Most Wanted? Well, you want to be the most wanted driver, the only way you can become that is by winning races and earning speed points before taking on the 10 deadliest drivers in the city to become number one. You’ll need to earn a fair few speed points to slowly unlock the chance to take on these racers. Earning the points is fairly easy.

As you drive around Fairhaven you’ll find some of the greatest cars in the world, drive up to them, press Y and the car is yours. Each car itself has a series of five events to unlock all of its modifications, which include nitrous boost, different chassis configurations, body types, transmission loadouts and tires. The events range from easy to hard and will also send speed points your way if you finish in the top three. There are 65 cars to unlock so you’ll have plenty of racing to do. When you don’t feel like racing you can smash billboards & security gates (feel familiar) or even try to get caught on speed cameras going as fast as possible.

There are 65 cars to unlock

The cars take a bit of getting used to, if you go into the game driving like you would in paradise city you’ll be watching a lot of Slow Motion crashes, the cars feel a lot weightier and you will need to master the art of drifting. Criterion always excels when it comes to the way cars handle and this year is no different. I love the sense of speed the game creates and there is nothing better than hitting top speed whilst trying to negotiate traffic, the slightest mistake will cost you the event. Some people will get frustrated with the constant crashing but it ends up making you a better driving, striving not to make the same mistake the next time (and inevitably crashing somewhere totally different).

The other racers are unforgiving too, they all want to be top dog

The other racers are unforgiving too, they all want to be top dog and will happily ram you off the road when they get the chance, again you really notice the weight of the cars as they hit you but it makes for some great racing. We can’t have all this unlawful racing going unnoticed though can we? Not if you are a member of the Fairhaven Police Force you can’t. You’ll see the force patrolling the city as you make your way to different events, just make sure you aren’t driving like a mad man when they are nearby or the chase will be on. If you fancy giving them a hard time then you can have some good fun, with pursuits going on for as long as you want. The police aren’t as strong as they were in Hot Pursuit, though you will still come across spike traps and roadblocks and the more you keep going the higher your heat rating goes up meaning faster cars and stronger roadblocks will come out.

The only downside to all this is that once you are caught there is no punishment, you are just sent back to the car’s spawn point and you carry on as normal, at the same time it can be really annoying to be really close to an event only to grab the attention of the police accidentally and ending up having to evade them. Thankfully Most Wanted EasyDrive system is a useful feature that comes in to play. Controlled via the D-Pad or via Kinect’s Voice control you can easily access the cars you have found, as well as set waypoints to the different events such as the 10 most wanted drivers once you have unlocked them. Autolog has also returned so you’ll always be in contact with your friends who have the game, you’ll have the opportunity to see how they are performing in races, the speeds they clock going through speed cameras and all sorts of interesting stats.

The game looks stunning

Need for Speed Most Wanted is completely connected to the online world and there are lots of things for you to do there, I’d love to tell you all about it, unfortunately EA failed to supply us with an Online Code so we were not able to review that portion of the game.

The game looks stunning, from the cars to the water effects on the road every detail is there and Fairhaven is a great city to drive around, the soundtrack accompanied the game brilliantly, the game is a bit more sterile than Burnout Paradise but I still enjoyed my time with the game.