Need for Speed Most Wanted – Quick Look and Mini Review

With the recent release of the new Need for Speed Most Wanted (2012 game) both Mike and Nick give their first impressions of the game and its multiplayer features. We both played the PS3 1 hour demo available for Playstation Plus subscribers. Please note we did run into technical issues with the recording, we tried to minimize the issues as best as we could.

From the short amount of time Nick and I (Mike) played the game, we were both impressed despite our initial hesitations during last week’s Fraxial Show. Upon launching the game, the first thing that came to mind was Criterion’s Burnout Paradise. This title released early in 2008 was a complete re-imagination of the Burnout series with many new features including a large open map and streamlined multiplayer mode. Not only was Paradise well regarded upon release, the long term support with major updates and free content kept players in the game several months after it hit the shelves.

Why is Burnout Paradise so significant in this latest Need for Speed title? To answer this, we must go through a quick history lesson of the NFS franchise. The first two titles were generally positive, however it was only after the successful release of Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit in 1998 that the franchise became universally recognized. The success continued through the three following releases which brings us to the 2002 title, NFS: Hot Pursuit II. Now depending who you talk to, some will agree that this is the peak of the franchise while others will ignore the two following NFS Underground titles and state that NFS Most Wanted (2005 game) was the last good release.

At this point in time the Need for Speed franchise started its slow decline. With two releases essentially re-hashing the previous one (Underground/Underground 2, Most Wanted/Carbon) followed by an awkward attempt at realistic simulation with Pro Street, players had started moving onto other series such as Burnout, Forza and Gran Turismo. Of course this ties in perfectly with EA purchasing Criterion in 2004 who released the following three games with great success;  Burnout 3: Takedown (2004), Burnout Revenge (2005) and then Burnout Paradise (2008).

By this time EA realized that their prized racing franchise was declining due to overworking Black Box Studios. This inevitably led us to the 2010 release of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit by Criterion Games which was regarded as a savior to the series. Unfortunately a year later we got a massively disappointing followup with NFS: The Run.

Come June 2012, EA had handed off the Need for Speed franchise to Criterion so they could continue development of the next title. With them in the lead, we essentially received what many fans were asking for: Burnout Paradise II.

We would love any feedback on both the Quick Look video and Mini Review on the website, please let us know what you think. If all goes to plan, we should be releasing a video next week based off of the Mini Review above.