Need For Speed: Most Wanted Xbox 360
Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
Need For Speed: Most Wanted, an introduction.
Before the Christmas break we reviewed the PlayStation 2 version of Need For Speed: Most Wanted and it is fair to say the game fully deserved to be top of the Christmas sales charts. Here we have the Xbox 360 version of the game. Essentially it's the same game, however, as you'd expect it looks much better than the PlayStation 2 version. However, whilst being a great game it does retain some of the problems that the PlayStation 2 version had.
What's the game about?
The game offers a Career mode, a Challenge Series mode and a Quick Race mode. Unlike the PlayStation 2 version, there's also an online mode that offers circuit, sprint and drag races for you to enjoy. 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 fifteenth 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?
Graphically the game is very impressive. The car models are not quite up to the quality of those in Project Gotham Racing 3 but nevertheless they look great. 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, complete bounty challenges and achieve milestones (which include some spectacular police chases). On the subject of police chases, they are a whole lot of fun and it is 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?
Like the PlayStation 2 version of the game, there are frame rate problems. This can make handling far more awkward than it should be when racing at high speeds and this is especially so with the Xbox 360 version as when your car's at top speed it feels much quicker than on the PlayStation 2 version. 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 the 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 early events a little uninspiring.
How does it look?
Here we come to the part where the Xbox 360 version stands head and shoulders above the current generation of consoles such as the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The car models, textures and environments are all sharper and more detailed. You'll also notice much better motion blurring and rain effects in the Xbox 360 version. As we mentioned earlier though, the frame rate isn't as smooth as you would expect and this is a little disappointing. Still when playing the game in high definition it does look very good. It also makes you wonder how good the Xbox 360 games will look when developers have had enough time to get to grips with the system and have managed to make good use of the systems capabilities.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
NFS: Most Wanted on the Xbox 360, like the PlayStation 2 version, 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. You won't be aware of the Police radio chatter as it's not subtitled and this does take away some of the atmosphere for deaf gamers. The rather basic tutorials for the milestones and bounty challenges aren't subtitled either but there are some text instructions that give you the gist of what's being said so it's not too bad.
As we said at the top of the review, the Xbox 360 version is practically identical to the PlayStation 2 version and as such is a very enjoyable game. You're also getting far superior graphics and online races too and if you own an Xbox 360 and haven't yet picked up a copy of the game, this is the version to go for. Unfortunately it does show the tell-tale signs of being a launch title and the frame rate isn't as smooth as it should be (although frame rate issues were a problem on the PlayStation 2 version too). Even with this minor problem though and the lack of subtitles in the cutscenes, it's still one of the better Xbox 360 launch titles and a great addition to the Need For Speed series.
Overall Game Rating: 8.2/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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Need For Speed: Most Wanted is definitely on one of the more enjoyable games in this long running series. However, frame rate issues and unsubtitled cutscenes are problems that have disappointingly been carried over from other console versions.