Need for Speed: Most Wanted - A Criterion Game - PS Vita User Review
Super Gamer Dude
Need For Speed Most Wanted for PS Vita has visually stunning graphics and is basically the same as the consoles versions but now playable on the handheld Vita.
Where to start, first the graphics.
The graphics in this game are amazing, you could think of it as a portable PS3 version, nice and slick and on a par with other top Vita titles. Every inch of detail on the car is there, clearly visible and defined like it should be. Even the sparks flying from a blown tire or a collision are rendered with realism, and the background and scenery are also very well balanced and do not seem repetitive. The buildings have also been created with much detail and the car impacts and racing are about as real as any I have seen.
If I had to criticize the graphical aspect slightly I would say that the intros pixelation could have been improved, and the problem is probably largely due to the fact that the graphics were taken from the original console releases, and perhaps space was an issue. There were other times when there was a little bit of a pixelation problem, mainly during the cutscenes, but apart from that this is one solid game in the graphics department.
The over handling is like any other car game, for me it seemed pretty simple to be able to move the cars during the gameplay, and I had no real issues with the overall controls used in the game.
The multiplayer is where the game really begins to shine. However, unlike the versions released on the consoles where you could play up to 8 people at any given time, there is a restriction on the PlayStation Vita. On the PS Vita you only get to play in stages and you only have a limit of 4 players which can be playing in any given race. This put aside, I had an immense amount of fun just playing with 3 other users. I would imagine the reason for this restriction is that 8 cars on such a small screen would hinder the overall quality and look a little crowded. These small limitations are not really much of a problem.
So there you have it, without a doubt the best by far on the PS Vita in relation to a good old racing game.
Super Gamer Dude
Although Need for Speed Most Wanted is yet another installment of the long running Need for Speed series this is its first outing on the PS Vita system and the designers have done their utmost to make such a transition worthwhile.
The first question that players are almost certain to ask concerns the graphics. Rest assured that although the graphics are not as good as those on the console versions they are still quite effective and players will not be disappointed. The system puts up quite a spectacular visual show when the game is first powered up showing just what the Vita is capable of. There are some minor problems such as pixelation in the oncoming car headlight beams and a similar problem in some of the poorly lit areas, but this sort of problem is also encountered in other games and does nothing to detract from the overall quality.
Another problem with the relatively small Vita displays, though not really a graphics quality problem, is that too much needs to be crammed into a small space limited by resolution. The maps for navigating the large game world are a little too small to read easily while trying to drive at the same time. That is a shame because there is so much to see in the games arena that lots of time can be spent just looking around and becoming familiar with the different areas and the racing possibilities and the map is useful here. Another aspect of the lack of screen resolution is that some fine detail that would be visible on a larger screen is lacking here, bur overall there is more than enough detail on the vehicles to make them interesting.
No matter how good or poor the graphics, within reason, it is the game which matters. The mechanics of the game itself is pretty much what you would expect from Need for Speed. The cars handle well and give a good feeling of realism but some might find the controls a little touchy. There are all the expected no holds barred competitions where you can write off other cars, or anything else that gets in your way, while breaking every traffic law, except parking in a restricted area, on your way to achieving the epithet of most wanted.
The menus are sensibly thought out and items on the menus can be accessed via the touch screen facility. The basic ideas of the game are just variations on a racing theme with competitors to beat and the law to stay one step ahead of, and it would be a disaster if a racing game presented poor racing action. The developers have been in the game long enough to have got the racing fundamentals pretty much sewn up.
The multiplayer mode provides the most competitive excitement in a racing game, as nothing compares with a competitor with a brain instead of an AI. There is only provision for 4 players compared with 8 on the consoles but that is enough to put an edge on the races. Between races the players can roam around at will but when the next race starts there is then another sort of race by default to get to the start point quickly. There are the usual trophies to be had and upgrades to be earned but this stuff is the staple of any competitive game. There is of course an autolog which keeps track of your racing achievements and broadcasts them inviting suitable matches.
The list of available cars is impressive and includes Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4, Ford Mustang Boss 302, and Subaru Cosworth Impreza STI CS400, Porsche 911 Carrera S, BMW M3 Coupe and many more. Some top rated cars for a top rated game.
Better on multiplayer.
Super Gamer Dude
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 nauseam. 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.