At a glance...

Previewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Release Date
Andrew Rouse PlayStation 3 Electronic Arts Criterion Games 1-8 (Online) 2nd November 2012

Need for Speed: Most Wanted preview

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is a game that I'm really hoping will allow me to re-live some of the pure driving craziness which characterised Burnout Paradise. After my time playing a short demo on the Gamescom floor today, it's looking likely that it will do just that.

Our preview started with a straightforward race. Beat your AI opponents through all the checkpoints and across the finish line. The correct route is marked on the map and the frequency of the checkpoints ensures that any deviation is not profitable.

The car handling moves away from the unusual handling of NFS: Hot Pursuit and feels much more similar to Burnout Paradise, albeit a little looser. With a quick touch on the brake at the right time, the car will drift smoothly around the corner in a highly improbable but extremely satisfying and controllable way. Guiding the car through tight spaces proved to be more of a challenge and it did take me a little while to get used to the feel of the steering, resulting in several crashes and a rather pathetic 5th place in the first single player challenge.

NFS: Most Wanted

NFS: Most Wanted

The second event started off with me being chased by several cop cars with the challenge being to evade their pursuit. Evading capture works in the same way as previous Need for Speed games. First, break the line of sight from any chasing vehicle, then get a certain distance away from your last known position without being spotted. Pursuing vehicles are shown as red dots on the mini-map and a blue circle shows the area you have to leave to successfully get away.

With the second challenge complete we were able to use the Easydrive menu (which last appeared in Burnout Paradise) to join a multiplayer match. This consisted of several competitive challenges, the first of which was to drive to the starting location. We then competed to set the fastest speed through a speed trap, to be the first to complete a checkpoint race and to pull off the longest jump over a highway. After each event, players were awarded points based on their position, which contributed to a wanted ranking with the player who had the most points at any point being designated the "Most Wanted".

I did notice a few niggles around the multiplayer challenges. When gathering at a challenge start location, there's no marker to tell you how large the starting area is. While waiting for other players to arrive, the starting area becomes a field of carnage with players still able to perform Burnout-style takedowns on each other and frequently moving outside the designated starting zone making it sometimes difficult to get everyone ready to start the event.

Overall though, Need for Speed: Most Wanted seems to be bringing together a perfect blend of arcade racing, car chases and multiplayer madness which could possibly be even better than Burnout Paradise.

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