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Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012 video game)

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Minimum System Requirements

CPU: Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHZ or Althon X2 2.7 GHz
OS: Windows Vista (Service Pack 2) 32-Bit
Video Card: ATI RADEON 3870 or higher performance / NVIDIA GEFORCE 8800 GT or higher performance
Sound Card: Yes
Free Disk Space: 20 GB

Recommended System Requirements

CPU: Quad-Core CPU
OS: Windows 7 64-Bit
Sound Card: Yes
Free Disk Space: 20 GB


Two years ago acclaimed British developer Criterion took a stab at one of Need for Speed’s most established imprints: Hot Pursuit. The results were fantastic; it was a game that pushed the arcade racer forward in new, exciting directions, providing unprecedented levels of connectivity, and was a major shot in the arm for the series.

Thankfully, following on from the disappointment of last year’s entry The Run, Criterion is back in the driving seat, turning its perfectionist’s gaze towards another title from the franchise’s past. This time it’s Most Wanted receiving the makeover and the results occasionally approach the sublime.

The first thing that impresses you about Most Wanted - and there are many highlights to choose from - is the sheer quality and craftsmanship of the game. It’s evident in most aspects of the game. It’s been constructed with a fastidious attention to detail. You’ll emerge from winding tunnels into blinding light; flecks of dirt and blades of grass will cling to the screen should you choose to go off-road; the music quality will dip and static will accumulate on your Sat Nav when you venture underground; the warm sunlight skims off rainwater that has pooled on the uneven, cracked tarmac. They’re all little touches – testament to time and energy – but when they all combine, as they frequently do, the result approaches something quite sublime. And you’ll still be able to appreciate it all tearing down the highway at 150 miles per hour.

You get the impression that Criterion is rather proud of its achievement. Each race is prefaced by an introductory video,which showcases the city it has built from the ground up.Some are surreal vignettes in which police cars fall from the sky or perch on the ceiling of car parks like flies; others are snapshots of the city itself, showcasing its urban beauty.

Things in the distance don’t bear up to the same scrutiny but it’s a more than acceptable tradeoff, since every side of Fairhaven – every sewer and flood drain, bridge and road – is accessible to you right from the beginning, without a single intrusive loading time. This is open-world gaming at it’s most seamless. Different sections aren’t crudely welded together with lengthy loading times. You’ll only be pulled out of it when you change cars, enter a race or switch to multiplayer and it never takes more than a few seconds.

But this is a driving game of course, so inevitably it comes down to the cars. And in keeping with its sandbox aspirations, you're able to drive nearly every one of its 41 vehicles right from the start, from the mundane Lancia Delta to the most desirable Aston Martin V12 Vantage. To drive them you don’t have to win races or accumulate points or buy tokens; you just have to find them. Some are hidden on rooftops or down back alleys; some are hiding in plain sight.

When you find a new car it’s equipped with stock components: basic tyres, a basic chassis and transmission, and no nitrous exhaust. You upgrade your car by accumulating Speed Points, which you earn by transgressing the law, setting off speed cameras, bursting through billboards, evading the police. But the fastest way to net some serious Speed Points is by entering street races.

Each car has five races open to it, ranging from easy to hard. The races themselves are fairly varied: there are straightforward circuit races, sprint races and Speed Runs, in which you’ll have to maintain an absurdly-fast average time while weaving in and out of traffic. Place well in the races and you’ll receive perks such as off-road tyres, a reinforced chassis (so you can burst through roadblocks), or different gear sets, depending on whether you want a higher top speed or faster acceleration.

Modding is easily done via Easy Drive, the game’s persistent on-screen menu. It lets you upgrade your car using the D-pad, change your car and set a route to new race. It again furthers that open-world feel. Criterion is smart enough to know that nothing is more antithetical to the open-world experience that it’s trying to create than drilling down through a series of static menus.

In addition to straightforward races, there are also Ambush events in which you’ll have to evade the boys in blue. Part of the fun of Most Wanted is antagonising the authorities. Initially you’ll feel restricted to the roads and highways of Fairhaven, but the races show you different sides to the city. There are two ways in which you can lose the fuzz: keep on running for the horizon and hope they can’t chase you or break the line of sight and hide under a bridge, like Ryan Gosling in Drive.

But police interference isn’t limited to Ambush events. They’ll get involved in most races, attempting to ram you off the road or into oncoming traffic; dropping stingers right in front of you; or blocking entire intersections. As your

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I was excited to play this game when they've announced it but after I saw video of the gameplay I was really disappointed. As other people said, the first one was much, much better and probably the best game that NFS came up with.

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