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10 Years Later: Revisiting Need for Speed Most Wanted

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

Need for Speed Most Wanted, developed by Blackbox and published by Electronic Arts, was released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox. Inspired by the gameplay and success of its 2005 counterpart, Most Wanted was created as a successor rather than a sequel or remaster. Produced with most gameplay involving racing, it still had an open world. In 2012, Criterion Games launched a new Need for Speed Most Wanted game. 2012's NFS Most Wanted striped out the story mode and the menus and focused solely on adrenaline-fueled racing. It was progressing through the game-involved events against other street racers and taking down the ten most wanted racers. Now that it's been out for ten years, how does it hold up? I downloaded Need for Speed Most Wanted on EA Play to find out.

VIDEO: Need For Speed Most Wanted Gameplay

Intuitive Menu System

The intuitive menu system made it easy to navigate the game. The Race and Car Selection screens were replaced with an easy-to-use menu system that allowed players to easily select their next race or customize their car without leaving the driving screen. This streamlined approach allowed players to focus on the action of racing instead of navigating through menus. EasyDrive was designed to replace traditionally bulky menus and race and car selection screens. This approach was intended to make racing more accessible and fun for players of any skill level. In addition, EasyDrive allowed players to quickly find and access the features they wanted without needing prior knowledge of the game's mechanics. By reducing the burden of knowing how to play Need for Speed, most wanted, players could focus on racing and have a more enjoyable experience. Finally, the menu system in Need for Speed most wanted was designed so that it would be easy for players to navigate regardless of their familiarity with video games or racing games in general.


True Arcade Style Gameplay

Need for Speed is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed racing game franchises. Gameplay styles vary from game to game. Most Wanted has rich gameplay, an open-world environment, and, most importantly, high-speed action that keeps the players hooked. The gameplay of Need for Speed Most Wanted is authentic arcade-style gameplay. Players experience every moment behind the wheel in this game like a high-paced action movie scene. They get to steer the car with precision and make huge drifts at blinding speeds. Players can also perform nitro and takedowns to make races feel fast-paced and competitive. The Police add an element of suspense to open-world driving and races. They patrol the roads in police cruisers that will chase players if they try to overtake them too quickly or recklessly. This gameplay makes it a must-play game for any racer out there.

Unique Car Unlocking System

Need for Speed Most Wanted is a game about car customization and car racing through an open-world place called Fairhaven. The player can unlock cars by driving them up to them and using the "Unlock" button on their controller or keyboard. This makes it easy to switch between vehicles without finding a safe house or going through a car selection screen. Not all vehicles could be unlocked, however. See a BMW, Dodge SRT Viper GTS, or Porsche Carrera S? Drive up to it, and now it's yours!

In most cases, these cars were hidden in hard-to-reach places making an unlock even more rewarding. The downside is that players had difficulty swapping them after they were opened. This is where a car selection menu would have been welcoming.

GALLERY: Need For Speed Gameplay Pictures

Epic Burnout-Inspired Races

After creating the critically acclaimed Burnout Paradise, Criterion Games wanted to create a game that would capture the same high-octane thrill of their beloved franchise. This is why they hired creative director Craig Sullivan to helm the project and bring in elements from their beloved Burnout franchise. This resulted in Need for Speed Most Wanted having some of the most intense and exhilarating races ever seen in a video game. These races are even more thrilling by including police chases, making any race feel like an epic Hollywood blockbuster chase scene.

Even so, Most Wanted is a true gem on its own. It has the high-octane thrills of Burnout with officially licensed cars. Use events to takedown Most Wanted racers like Razor and are the first to the finish line to claim their vehicle. This makes it different from other racers on the market today. Overall, Most Wanted is a gratifying experience for racing fans.

Aggressive Police You Don't Want To Mess With

The police system in Need for Speed Most Wanted seems inspired by Grand Theft Auto's wanted system, which features multiple tiers of difficulty. The cops in Most Wanted are a relentless police force and will not give up the chase until you are either captured or destroyed. They will also call in reinforcements if they feel they are losing the pursuit and seem better at aggressive driving than you are. This can make for some very intense chases that can simultaneously be both exhilarating and frustrating. In most cases, it is best to avoid the Police altogether unless you have a top-tier car and want to test your racing skills. Once you get out of sight, hiding from the Police is a challenge. The Police are pretty good at patrolling and rediscovering you.


Huge Open World Map

Need for Speed Most Wanted was a vast open-world game back in 2012. It had a ton of locations to explore and unique cars to unlock. While the size is impressive now, it was a marvel back then. The size of the world made the gameplay feel dynamic and varied, from downtown cities to mountains and forests. Each area had unique cars and challenges, making the entire map worth exploring. The online features are limited, but there is a multiplayer option. The lobby may not be too busy these days, but finding a friend or two you can cruise the streets with is a fun way to enjoy Most Wanted. Overall, it's a great open-world racing game with tons to do.

Graphics That Don't Look Dated

Regarding graphics, Need for Speed Most Wanted has aged well. The game features quality reflections and shadows, detailed textures that add realism, and cars that look great when they get wrecked. The game offers quality reflections and shadows, high-resolution textures, and v-sync support on PC. These features help keep gameplay smooth and fluid. Players can also adjust most settings to suit their preferences. Console players can admire the gameplay, but PC players can enjoy the gameplay and graphics. I was even able to set the resolution to 1440P and 1620P. A 10-year-old game with 2K resolution support is a nice bonus.


An Awesome Soundtrack To Cruise To

Need for Speed Most Wanted's soundtrack features a wide range of genres, from rock and rap to hip-hop. Many songs featured in the game have become popular hits, if not already famous. One such song is 'Still Alive' by electronic music group Deadmau5 and Panic! At The Disco, an electronic-style track about persevering through difficulties. EA shows its AAA status with its ability to license the most famous cars and music on the planet.


High stakes and no brakes-allowed street racing are a staple of the Need for Speed series. Need for Speed Most Wanted is still a great game ten years later. It features incredible graphics that have aged well, a fantastic soundtrack playlist, and hours upon hours of gameplay. Fighting through events and moving up the most wanted list is a rewarding experience. The arcade racer created by Criterion Games is vast and full of things to do. At the time, it was the best NFS game to come out since the Need for Speed Underground series and is still one of the best Need for Speed games to date. I highly recommend this game to any racing fan or anyone looking for a great game.


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