Had high hopes with this one especially when it is the spiritual successor to the best Need For Speed game ever made, Need For Speed Most Wanted! Add to that Criterion previously gave us both, Need For Speed Hot Pursuit and Burn Out Paradise, my hopes were sky high. These guy did know how to make good arcade racing games and it was evident from how well polished their previous games were.
The first thing you’ll notice about NFS MW is that there’s no story element like its predecessor. Its all laid out straight to you. In most games you start from scratch and making your way up the food chain completing races and objectives being rewarded with hot new wheels. Not so with MW; every car is unlocked right from the beginning. You can hop into any of these cars parked randomly and burn rubber. Finding all of em is a challenge though and you can truly get off the track while searching for these beauties. Imagine you are cruising in your newly acquired, customized Aston Martin to the race destination and you see a Lamborghini Diablo parked somewhere, you quickly pull over next to it and pops into the Diablo. Well you just lost your way to your race-destination for Aston Martin and might have to redo it all over again. I was indeed like ‘a dog chasing cars’, when I got hold of a new one I never knew what to do next with it other than cruise around some more searching for my next ride. It breaks the linearity a bit but what it actually does is that it takes the challenge away too. Imagine unlocking new cars in the old MW winning races and all, well that kinda challenge is truly missed here.
Criterion has added ‘Easydrive’ in MW. Basically its just a menu that you can access on the go. You can customize your current car, set waypoints to new races and so on….AND IT SUCKS. Imagine accessing an on screen menu when you are doing 200 mph onto oncoming traffic dodging cops. Of course that’ll lead to some spectacular crashes sequences. And other thing is that you have to do these customizations every time. The point is Easydrive is only practical in theory. Oh by the way those crashes are complemented by brilliant and absolutely stunning graphics. Paints scrapped, glasses shattered and body damaged, Criterion that one real good. The attention to detail is just jaw-dropping, cars looks authentic, the paint gloss and HDR almost blinding you when you are jaunting through the seashore.
Gives you points for everything be it jumps, crashing, speed cams, near missing oncoming traffic and you are rewarded for almost everything you do pitting you against your ‘Autolog’ buddies. Ah yes ‘Autolog’ is back too, making it a truly social affair. Thumbs up for the truly great innovation since Hot Pursuit.
A racing game needs to be fluid and MW never felt even remotely fluid. I don’t know if its just for the PC, this game definitely has control issues and it never felt like I was playing a Need For Speed game known for its fluid controls. Due to this I didn’t even complete the campaign, I just couldn’t get my fingers to do it with almost all the cars straying away from my inputs. I hope they come up with a patch asap. And due to this – a big thumbs down for MW. Apart from gorgeous graphics and random cruises, and if only it weren’t for the awesome but tough cop chases (thanks again for the controls) I wouldn’t even be even revisiting Fairhaven. Evident from all this there is only one conclusion: This game is made for consoles and not for the PC! Shame on you EA/Criterion.