There are a stack of driving games on the market, so competing for the attention of fickle men in a crowded market is a tough ask. The latest Need for Speed title does a pretty good job at it though, delivering a cracker game!
If I’m honest with myself, there is no doubt I’m classified as a “casual” gamer. Time doesn’t allow for the controller to rest in my hands as often as I’d like. So when it comes to some of the big name racing titles like Forza or Gran Turismo there is one thing that frustrates the hell out of me – unlocking cars.
It seems like I’d need to play the game non stop for weeks to get access to some of the cool cars you get to see in the preview videos or the opening titles of the game.
So as I sat back and threw Need for Speed Most Wanted into the XBox 360 I was ready to check out the normal things – the graphics, the gameplay, the vehicle control and reality.
Man, was I blown away. Thrown into the game ready to drive after a seemingly long and frustrating introduction with narration through the basic instructions I was really impressed with something very simple. Free Play.
One of my favourite free play games is Grand Theft Auto. You walk around, you jump in any car and drive like a madman – or drive like a granny – either way the choice is yours.
In Need for Speed Most Wanted I can drive anywhere I like, accept the race challenges put to me and enjoy the stunning graphics and vehicle realism on offer.
But wait, what’s that on the side of the road? A BMW logo? I drive over to it, park next to it I press the yellow ‘Y’ on my controller and that’s my car. No challenges to complete, no races to win – you find the car, you “Jack” the car.
Yep, there are races. There are points to win. There are upgrades to get. All the normal racing challenges you’d expect.
You earn speed points throughout which unlock more and more of the “Top 10 most wanted drivers” who I expect will be tough to beat!
However if you never accept those races on offer there are still fun things to do and points to earn.
In just a few hours I’ve driven 15 of the 41 cars on offer in the game. Fords, Chevys, a Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsches, Audi and loads more. The simulation experience isn’t fantastic, you only have two driving view options (behind the car or in the bumper) but there has been a stack of work gone into the look of the cars, the sound of the cars and the driving feel of the cars. Each one has its unique driving feel.
To enjoy the free time you can take part in police chases, crash through billboards, race past speed cameras, all of which is recorded in your driver profile and displayed within the game so you can beat those times or achievements now and then.
I don’t think I’ve had this much fun with a brand new driving game in such a short period of gameplay in a very, very long time.
Need for Speed Most Wanted is available on Playstation, XBox, PC and PSVita – I’ve been playing it on XBox but need to get my hands on the PS3 version so I can feel the experience behind the wheel of my Logitech G27 and then on PSVita while I’m out and about.
I couldn’t recommend this game more.