Need for Speed Most Wanted (NFSMW) is yet another version of the popular Need for Speed game from EA. More frequent than the yearly update of Fifa, the latest version promises more speed and greater action than any previous version.

Like other versions from the series, NFSMW relies on you racing and upgrading cars to become the leader of the pack. The main crux of the game is the career mode and its here that you’ll spend most of your time.

The game starts with you turning up in town, looking to score some races and win some kudos. A couple of races down the line however and things aren’t looking too good as a rigged game costs you your gleaming Beemer and you’ve got to start at the bottom of the pack with a Fiat Punto or Golf GTi.

From here it’s the usual NSF stuff as you spend time driving around town looking for races to earn cash and competing in challenges to get notoriety. To help you on your way you’ve got access to a GPS system that directs you on-screen to any destination you’ve selected and comes in handy when tracking down races you’ve found on the world map.

Where the game differs from previous outings is the inclusion of the police force; cause too many offences and they will come after you. The longer you survive the chase the stronger the numbers they will come until eventually you can either find some cover or you get busted. Getting busted hurts because rather than just start you back at the beginning, you’ll be fined for all the offences you’ve committed. A short stint of fun can easily rack up into the thousands.

Gameplay is just as strong as ever and if you’ve played any of the Need for Speed titles before you’ll feel right at home. We especially like the fact that finishing a race rolls you straight into the free roam mode without the need for load screens and it certainly gives it a more free flowing feel.

Complaints? The lack of traffic on the races is very noticeable, and it would have been nice to see more of it to duck and dodge around.

Additionally although there are shortcuts to find and alternative routes to take in the race, you are pretty much restricted to the course that is laid down in front of you. It’s really the only thing missing from the game to give it that true free form flow and one that we hope will be included in the next edition, no doubt launched early next year.

The final criticism is that races are far too easy to complete and there is no real realism as regards to driving over different surfaces or in different weather conditions - the rain may look impressive, but it won’t effect your driving. Likewise, damage physics are token and mundane with no real attention to how many times you crash or how badly.

Verdict

While Need For Speed Most Wanted is more of the same, its more of the good same. Personally we still prefer the crash and smash of EA’s other street racing series Burnout, but that isn’t to say what is on offer here isn’t any good.

There is plenty here to keep most street racing fans happy, although we wish we could have kept that gleaming BMW longer than the initial three races - its certainly brings you down to earth racing the Punto after a nitrous filled BMW 8 series.

Finally if you are looking for a more graphically lush version - think about picking up the Xbox360 version instead.