Need For Speed Most Wanted
What the 2012 release of Need for Speed: Most Wanted says is that Electronics Arts (EA) is currently out of ideas for the Need for Speed franchise, but the Need for Speed franchise still has a lot to offer fans. Going back to what was one of the most popular, if not the most popular, Need for Speed game ever, EA gave Criterion developmental control of rebooting the title. This proved to be a fantastic idea. Seeing as there are only so many things you can do with a game in the racing genre, especially when you throw realism into the equation, it is understandable that EA is out of ideas for new titles after trying to produce a new title every year. With no ideas left for what to do for a new title, EA simply took an old favorite and asked Criterion to put a new spin on it. Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2012 is the awesome love-child of Burnout Paradise and the original Most Wanted, and has set the tone for things to come from the Need for Speed franchise.
The reason the 2012 reboot of Most Wanted is so good is because it doesn’t try to remake the old game. One of the fastest ways to send your game into the Ratings Outhouse is to remake an old favorite and do it wrong in the slightest. To avoid such failures, Criterion takes minor but key traits from the original Most Wanted, but centers the game around competing with friends while offering an open world online multiplayer. Like a familiar fragrance on someone new, Most Wanted ’12 reminds you of the original game, while having an identity of its own. Criterion continues to build off of the capabilities and success of Autolog, a feature established in the Hot Pursuit
remake which allows friends to keep up with what each other is doing in the Need for Speed world while offering rewards for besting each others’ times in events. Autolog combines with the things that made Burnout a hit, like driving a car off of a ramp and through billboards that act as side objectives. Changing cities from Rockport to Fairhaven, a larger and more interactive map, the focus in Most Wanted ’12 is no longer on hiding from the cops, but now escaping from the cops means navigating through the playground-like format of the city. Eliminating the checkpoints and implementing a measurement of average speed, the change of Tollbooth races to Speed Run races is another way that the new Most Wanted sticks to the things that made the original great while changing it enough to give the game an identity of its own. This may seem like a small change, but it’s actually a pretty huge change. Fairhaven is not only larger, the city is designed to have players tear through the busy streets of the metropolis as opposed to the original’s smaller size which brought most chases primarily to the highway. EA may have run out of ideas for new Need for Speed titles, but they certainly haven’t run out of ideas for making a great racing game, and it most certainly shows in Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2012.
The decision to reboot Need for Speed: Most Wanted was a fantastic idea by EA and Criterion. The game has not only bridged the gap between current and the next great Need for Speed title, but has also given fans a title that doesn’t replace the original, but sits next to it in one’s game library quite nicely. With EA’s new partnership with Criterion, the franchise seems to be on the brink of presenting another groundbreaking original game some time in the near future. With the rise of popular Xbox 360 exclusive, Forza, and the end of Midnight Club seeming to have come shortly after the release of Midnight Club: Los Angeles, it will be interesting to see what EA has in store for its popular franchise. Criterion not only seems to have a firm grasp on the direction EA wants to take, they seem to be enjoying the responsibility. Long live Need for Speed.