The Need for Speed series has always been a high contender for the best racing game on the market. There seems to be a never ending flow of Need for Speed titles hitting our shelves semi-annually, keeping us all on our toes as they include new features and ideas that seem to just tip the finishing post against street racing games such as Burnout and Outrun. This year, we will be seeing the release not only of the XBOX 360, but also Need for Speed: Most Wanted (NFS: MW), the latest title from EA.
We saw the first in-game footage of NFS: MW at Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference, and it looked fantastic. As you would expect, EA have taken full use of the 360’s graphical power, making this latest title look stunning.
They tell us that the game will again feature a high level of customisation, a lot like the type we see on NFS: Underground 2. Illegal street races and high speed one-on-one’s will most definitely feature again. The major twist this time around is that these street races no longer take place in the dark, street lit back-alleys during midnight. NFS: MW will feature daytime street races in some of the fastest and most powerful cars on the planet. Because it’s daytime, you’re almost definitely going to be encountering cops. The high level of car customisation means that you can quickly sneak into your local body shop and change the look of your car, getting rid of the cop’s pursuit on you.
This new feature of implementing cops brings us back to NFS: Hot Pursuit. If you remember, this fantastic title offered you the chance to actually play as the cops and strategically pursue AI racers. Is this going to be possible in NFS: MW? Well, we’re not 100% sure, but EA have mentioned in their features list that the game will include all new gameplay, incorporating strategic cop pursuit and skill-based evasion techniques. Sounds good to us!
As in NFS: Underground 2, we’re going to be seeing open road, open world tracks in NFS: MW. Mastering the changing environments, destructible scenery and sneaky shortcuts will ensure that you beat the best street racers around, and work your way to the top of the blacklist. Another interesting addition to the NFS series is the Rap Sheet. This sheet will register record breaking race times, street challenges, and out-foxing an escalation of police cars with clever tactics and sneaky moves. We’re not too sure what your earn in return for getting a good rap sheet, but we’re guessing it will unlock secrets and extras to the game.
Microsoft actually slapped in a playable demo of NFS: MW on the E3 floor this year, and many were taken back by how good it was. It wasn’t a particularly long demo, but it featured some pretty amazing stuff. The footage shown at Microsoft’s E3 Conference was indeed in-game graphics, as that same footage was then made playable via the E3 Show floor. The demo featured a 2 minute Drag race, with the player taking control of a modified BMW. The Drag race was very similar to the ones featured on the NFS: Underground series, but this time you have complete control of your cars turning, instead of simply changing lanes with a tap of the button. It’s up to you to make sure you’re out of the way of the traffic by controlling your car freely as if you were racing — whilst still making sure you shift up a gear in good timing.
There isn’t a huge amount of detail out on this game so far, and it will be interesting to see how it pans out. With the addition of police, this game could turn out to yet again be one of the best racing titles around. With the game taking full advantage of the XBOX 360’s power, we’re almost definitely in for a treat!