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Wanted: Dead Or Alive
In Need For Speed: Most Wanted, you're a street racer with a lot of attitude and a total disregard for the law. There's a backstory about a girl named Mia, a police sergeant by the name Sgt. Cross, and an entire police force that would love to see you behind bars. Oh yeah, there's also a gentleman named Clarence Razor Callahan who would love to have your wheels. Other than that, the game consists of racing, eluding police, and getting faster and faster cars. If you're looking for more storyline aka Grand Theft Auto, you'll be sorely disappointed. NFS:MW's appeal isn't about the storyline, but its not boring either.
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Its How You Drive Your Car That Matters
The racing in NFS:MW is what really counts. To say the game is challenging is an understatement of epic proportions. This game really forces you to learn how to drive at a very fast pace, with the police trying to throw up roadblocks and knock you off the road. Then of course there's the other drivers who would just love to slam you into a building at high speed. Add a little nitrous oxide, and you have one very exciting racing game.
The gameplay here consists of racing through the town of Rockport City. You race against other drivers - and a limited amount of time - for pink slips, money (via side bets arranged by Mia), and an increased reputation as a street racer. There are also other unlockable items, such as car parts and upgrade possibilities. One factor that makes this more difficult however, is that you are the most wanted street racer (hence the name), and how many cops appear depends on how much damage you do or how many laws you break. The infractions can consist of something as simple as speeding all the way up to ramming a police vehicle. Make no mistake - these cops are very upset and get more so the more laws you break.
The Pursuit System of this game creates a very challenging atmosphere to race in. If you break more laws, blow up more gas stations, and send other cars flying, you can definitely bet that the police cruisers will come from every possible direction. There's also a Speedbreaker interface in the game, which provide the equivalent of bullet-time. This can be truly useful for drifting around those spike strips thrown across the road or making a harsh turn to evade the pursuit behind you.
There are three distinct modes of play in this game as well: Quick Race, Career Mode, and Challenge Mode. Quick Race is just what it sounds like, as is the Career Mode. The Challenge Mode however, consists of some interesting challenges you must master. You will be driving vehicles ranging from unmodifiable Career cars to traffic vehicles, like a huge cement truck or a police cruiser. There is also an online component to the game, which is something worth checking out if you'd like human opponents.
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A Thing Of Beauty
The vehicles used in this game are definitely a thing of beauty. The game is full of realistic - and recognizable - street racing cars, which you can then customize in various ways. Not only can you touch up the exteriors however, but you can also touch up the engines so that they purr like a kitten or roar like a lion. The game also utilizes a "blurring" effect while racing to further enhance the feeling of intense speed. It may sound odd, but the effect is done just right and fits in perfectly. The background visuals are nicely done, and the smallest details of both roads and buildings are noticeable.
One noteworthy aspect of the game is the cutscenes. These are actual live-action videos, complete with real actors and CGI effects added to the vehicles. The final effect is a polished product thats exhilarating to watch.
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Listen To That Engine Roar
When you are playing a racing game, you want to feel the rumble of that intense power flowing through your veins. After all, a racing game should be about power, speed, and exhileration. NFS:MW brings all of this and so much more. The cars sound extremely realistic, particularly if you are lucky enough to have a 5.1 or better speaker system. Behind that intense roar of the engine, the game then adds a nice selection of music hand-picked to race to. Each tune is more than adequate for getting your heart pulsing, making you wish you could hop into your own custom Corvette and tear out onto the freeway. There's just not enough to be said for how well the music and sound effects blend with what is by all accounts a fun racing experience.
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Bring Your Wrench
This game is by no means new, so pretty much any system you are running should be more than adequate. What should be mentioned however, is that you are really doing yourself a disservice if you play this with anything less than 5.1 speakers and a decent graphics card. Alot of work has gone into making this an enjoyable game, so you should do what you can to feel it all. Here's the bare minimum of requirements:
- Processor: 1.4Ghz or better
- RAM: 256MB
- Graphics: 32MB DirectX 9.0c-compatible card
- Sound: DirectX 9.0c-compatible card
- Hard Drive: 3GB space
- OS: Windows 2000 or better
On a 64bit OS with 64bit hardware, a 512MB graphics card, and a 5.1 surround sound system, this game performed admirably.
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Drive Into The Sunset
Overall NFS:MW is a successful addition to the Need For Speed library of games. The cars look and sound great, they drive fast, and the thrill of eluding the police while racing through traffic is not to be missed. The cinematics in the game are spectacular as well, drawing you into the storyline. More could have been done possibly with the story, but its not so much of a detraction as to be a true negative aspect of the game. As far as the racing goes, you won't find too many more challenging racing titles out there that compare. Bring your skill, check your rearview, and hit the nitrous. Those sirens that were right behind you just disappeared in your dust.