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NFS Most Wanted Trial Run

NFS Most Wanted

When did I grow out of the NFS Franchise? Or when did the NFS franchise grow away from me? I feel like I'm tired of all the grinding: I just want to race, I want to get somewhere fast... but maybe not so fast that the speed is the challenge. The controls are skiddish - smooth enough to be an enjoyful experience - yet not smooth enough to feel like the NFS games I played and loved, like NFS Underground. Not simple enough. Not so that you can maneuver the tracks and drift with ease, more so that you easily skid all over and grind past various obstacles in the process of overtaking over vehicles. More real? Maybe, but it also feels more wrong; more complicated. And apart from controls, there's the aspect of eternal grind, of overcoming many smaller obstacles to get to the big ones. Usually that's a cause for addiction, but there has to be a certain limit where the grind turns from rewards; perceptible progress to needless stalling and repetition. This somehow feels like the latter.

The game world reminds me of Burnout Paradise. The graphics are awesome. Just riding around is a blast for a while, but then it gets monotone. What's the point? I'd rather roam the city of GTA, where there's more to do than sit inside your car and drive. Not that the two games can be so easily compared, but that's the impression I get. Even if the sceneries are diverse and perfectly paved for roaming and racing, it's not enough. If you liked Burnout Paradise, you'll love this, but I get the same impressions here as I did with that game. In the beginning it's great, but the sceneries settle in, they lose their charm, they become a chunk of concrete and winding roads that lead nowhere.

Not only does the map remind a lot of the Burnout Paradise tracks, but also in how you can simply ride through a 'garage' to have your car instantly fixed up. The damage may be mostly aesthetic (oh, did I mention car damage is now visual?! That's a definite pro), but it's still there, and I like it. I like driving. I don't quite like the controls or how progress is bound to scattered events all over the city to which you need to drive (and how far between they are), and how small rewards in the form of car mods, etc, are unlocked with each race you win. They're doing their best to keep you grinding, but there's too much of it. Since when did the one unwanted aspect of RPG (the endless grind) take over all gaming genres?

As for soundtrack, it follows suit with previous NFS games and delivers a catchy; fast-paced mesh of tracks, though so far none stands out as particularly memorable. Not like say the Asian Dub Foundation track did in NFSU. It might be a great game overall, but I'm not up for the grind.

This was a quick review for the new version of Need for Speed - Most Wanted. 2012.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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