Need for Speed Most Wanted has the weird position of sharing its name with a title from earlier in this console generation, but being a spiritual successor to an entirely different title from that generation. The original Most Wanted was one of those titles that bridged the gap between the PS2 and the PS3 by being released in very slight variations on both systems. It was a fun and silly title that used live-action actors to depict its tale of street racers and the police.
The latest Need for Speed Most Wanted has absolutely nothing to do with that game, though. Developed by Criterion, the game pulls almost all of its core gameplay elements from Burnout Paradise, with a few major tweaks. Just like Burnout: Paradise, it takes place in an open world where both the traversal between races and the racing itself happens. Also just like Paradise, it has a massive amount of leaderboards to compete with friends on, this time supplemented by the autolog system that EA has become so fond of.
Most Wanted's multiplayer is also very similar to that of Paradise, in that it simply dumps people into the world and allows the host to choose events, which consist of crazy challenges instead of the usual point-to-point races. For example, one event requires to park yourself on the wing of a plane and stay there. The players compete in the event, then drive on to the next one. This mode really shines in how it encourages players to be complete dicks to one another. If you are taken down during a multiplayer event, you are automatically disqualified, encouraging constant violence between players and creating an extremely hectic and fun experience.
All this said, the game absolutely falls apart when it comes to the single player. Solo play shifts the game's focus to its wide array of cars. As you drive around in the world, you find new, extremely expensive cars just sitting on the side of the road for you to hop in. Each car has a set events that you have to win in order to unlock upgrades and get "speed points" which allow you to race AI drivers on the "Most Wanted" list.
While the system is not inherently flawed, it quickly grows repetitive. The races that initially seem to be car-specific are actually repeated ad nauseum. Not every vehicle has the exact same races, but they pop up enough times to make the task of earning points a grind. The addition of cops to the Burnout Paradise equation feels out of place at best, and the difficulty of escaping from them with very little reward make them utterly pointless at worse.
Whether you should get Need for Speed: Most Wanted depends on what you want out of it. If you are looking for a fantastic multiplayer arcade racer, by all means, pick it up. However, if you are looking for a good solo racer, you should probably look elsewhere.