Need for Speed: Most Wanted PS Vita review
Does Criterion’s arcade racer translate well onto PS Vita?
Need for Speed: Most Wanted, developed by Criterion Games, is probably one of the best racing games out on the Playstation Vita to date.
Most Wanted plays off in a city called Fairhaven; an open world with multiple locations, shortcuts and objectives to complete. A departure from the norm, all the cars available through the game are available right off the bat. All cars have a specific location where they can be found, called a Jack Spot. Once a Jack Spot has been found the car is unlocked. Upgrades for the cars can be obtained through finishing races and meeting certain conditions in the races.
The goal of the game is to build up enough infamy to challenge and beat the top 10 most wanted drivers in Fairhaven. Infamy is earned by gaining Speed Points. Speed Points can be acquired by competing in races, losing police in high pursuit chases, triggering speed cameras, crashing through billboards or security fences, and finding Jack spots.
The police chases have multiple levels from one to six depending on how long the police chases take and how much damage you cause. The higher the level the more formidable the police force becomes, later bringing in SWAT teams to catch you. It is however unfortunate that when you get busted, nothing spectacular happens; you do not lose any Speed Points and you still keep the car you are driving. In the end nothing really motivates you to get away from the police, except for the fact that you won’t be awarded the speed points for the chase you just had.
Each top ten most wanted driver requires a certain amount of Speed Points to challenge, and it is up to you how you acquire the necessary amount. After challenging and beating a most wanted driver, you get their rank. After winning however, you have to catch them to gain and unlock their car.
The quality of the graphics is probably one of the first things you will notice when playing the game. With things like sparks flying out from under the car when hitting the curb, tyre marks on the street as you drift around a corner, the sun glaring in your eyes, to the dust coming up from the dirt as you drive over it; Most Wanted is an absolute pleasure to look at. The models of the cars are really well done, and your cars can even get damaged or totalled, depending on how fast you were driving when that tree jumped in front of you.
The soundtrack of Most Wanted is really good with a great selection of songs to keep you entertained while you speed through Fairhaven. The sound effects of the cars and the police scanner are also well integrated into the game.
Unfortunately, sometimes it feels like the game could have given more if it was run on a more powerful device. Traffic in game will never be heavy, with only a few number of cars on your screen at all times. Even the police chases feel a little underwhelming when only a very limited number of police cars are chasing you (which makes it very easy to lose the police chasing you.) It is also worth noting that since all the cars are available from the get go it makes it frustrating to change cars once you have found “the one.”
The Most Wanted controls scheme feels natural and fluid. You control the car with the analog sticks, with the right shoulder button to accelerate and the left shoulder button to brake. Most Wanted also offers a menu called Easy Drive. This allows you to access all your races, cars and upgrades while still driving through the streets.
Most Wanted has leader boards that allow you to challenge your friends by seeing who can drive through billboards the fastest, who can clock the fastest speed passing through a speed camera, or get the fasted speed in a race. If you beat a friend’s record, you will be rewarded with Speed Points.
Most Wanted is a great game and works very well with the Vita. The game is easy to pick up and play on the go, and is brilliant to play even if you only have a few minutes every day. With the open world to race in, and hundreds of cars to find, it is a game that will keep you playing for a very long time.