Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
Buy On
  1. It offers things that both Underground and Hot Pursuit lack. Nice visuals and an amazing array of tuners and exotics to choose from could possibly make this the “most wanted” racing game for the Playstation 2 this season.
  2. A game that’s easy to pick up and hard to put down, with a substantial amount of realistic action crammed into every high speed pursuit you engage in.
  3. 90
    Making a name for youself by climbing the game's Black List, aka series of bad-ass mo-fos you must beat, is good fun.
  4. 90
    Need for Speed has its game down to a science at this point. [Jan 2006, p.82]
  5. It's a shame that the multiplayer options don't include a cop pursuit mode, but that's a minor omission in a one-game-fits-all package.
  6. But the thing that makes Most Wanted stand out is the incredible pursuit aspects. If the reason why the cops were left out of NFSU is because they were planning Most Wanted, all is forgiven.
  7. Wanted's story won't win any awards, and the game would still be tremendous fun without it, but it gives your racing added significance.
  8. The painfully overused 'gangsta-speak', the cop with a grudge against you and Josie Maran trying to pop your hood the whole time are all completely unnecessary, although not particularly obstructive, adornments. Otherwise though, this is everything you already love about Need For Speed plus the pigs.
  9. The return of the police is an excellent addition to the game, too bad that they are not available for online play.
  10. Most Wanted has all the makings of a great game, but its otherwise solid gameplay is tarnished by the lack of an online segment.
  11. 85
    The game holds at a solid 30 FPS on all systems, and while the sense of speed isn't as palpable in the first hour or so of play, just wait. Win a few cars, upgrade them, and before you know it, you'll be smoking.
  12. PSM Magazine
    With the fuzz back in the mix, the chases are higher octane then ever, and Hollywood-style "pursuit breakers" scattered around let you do things like knock over a water tower to block them. [Holiday 2005, p.83]
  13. 85
    The nod back to the cop chase mechanics of the Hot Pursuit games is certainly welcome, plus it's interesting to see that the vaunted "open" gameplay of the last two games has been dialed down by a more forcibly linear structure to keep things interesting.
  14. Game Informer
    While I yearned for a little more in a few areas (difficulty curve and graphical polish in particular), the overall experience lies somewhere between the first "Underground" and the second...meaning it's easy fun, but not genre-defining. [Dec 2005, p.148]
  15. It’s been missing for a while, but the simple inclusion of the police catapults Most Wanted into one of the best racers in recent history.
  16. The actual racing hasn't changed too much, but the ever-present police make this game a whole lot more interesting.
  17. The story mode has really nice hooks in it that will keep players wanting to keep playing until they know what happens in the end.
  18. A decent gem in a genre so diluted by horribly rushed games, or other games that maybe already done what this game does.
  19. Pelit (Finland)
    A decent enough racing experience. The police chases are excellent fun, but where is the proper civilian traffic? [Dec 2005]
  20. Most Wanted brings the police back in force, and the game benefits greatly from it.
  21. 80
    Adding cop chases back to the franchise, retaining the free-roaming world setup from "Underground," and introducing the Speedbreaker are all welcome items.
  22. 80
    The PS2 version is, unfortunately, the least graphically impressive of the bunch and does not support online play, unlike the Xbox. But no matter which platform you're playing on, Most Wanted is still a hell of a value for the money.
  23. It's not as pretty as last year's game, but this refined Underground still delivers the goods: fun, fast racing.
  24. While the actual races aren't that interesting, the cop chases are fantastic.
  25. The addition of smart and relentless police pursuers has reinvigorated this popular driving series.
  26. AceGamez
    The police chases are excellent, with clever little turns and weaving in and out of traffic often rewarding you by losing your tail. These high speed chases are made all the better by the consistently high graphical standards, with the cut scenes given a computerised feel in order to make the transition between storyline and gameplay unnoticeable.
  27. 80
    If you think you can simply drift around the corner, given a certain speed and angle, without touching either the handbrake or regular brake, well, you are going to be sorely mistaken this time around.
  28. Official Playstation 2 Magazine UK
    As an urban racer, Most Wanted is at the top of its game. But for speed and thrills, Burnout Revenge still rules the arcade racer roost. [Christmas 2005, p.82]
  29. 77
    The only thing stopping it achieving a better score are the aforementioned niggles coupled with some below par AI. Their computer-controlled abilities switch from laughably amateur to 'one mistake and its race over' Terminator-style brutality in a matter of moments which seems more than a little unfair.
  30. Yes, it's strange to be able to damage cops but not have a scratch even when they hit harder than Ike Turner.
  31. A solid, fun racer, but its repetitive single-player events and limp four-player online multi (Xbox only) sap its power. [Jan 2006, p.120]
  32. The controls are solid, the storyline is at least entertaining, the cop chases are fun, the graphics and sound are both well done and polished, and the time it’ll take you to finish it makes it worth a purchase.
  33. Fans will overlook the average graphics, slow down and terrible draw rate, but other gamers with frown upon this as well as the lack of an online mode. Having said that, the cop chases add a huge fun factor to the game.
  34. It's definitely a step in the right direction for a series we were getting well and truly bored with. So if you can forgive it a slight feeling of wooden-ness, Need For Speed Most Wanted is a really slick racer with stacks for you to do.
  35. The story mode does provide a challenge and will last most around the 15 hour mark, however once that’s past the game has very little to offer largely because of the fundamental online options.
  36. games(TM)
    It’s a nice, clean package that delivers enough hi-octane chases and enjoyment to warrant a purchase. [Christmas 2005, p.121]

Awards & Rankings

#19 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2005
#6 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2005
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 158 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 9 out of 158
  1. Sep 17, 2011
    Most Wanted is the best NFS game and one of the best Racing game ever. Very good graphics, story, audio, and much more.Game offers manyMost Wanted is the best NFS game and one of the best Racing game ever. Very good graphics, story, audio, and much more.Game offers many licensed cars. Town in MW is entirely open and You can driving at ease. Police missions is very good and satisfying. You must end races and have bounty to play with boss. My rate is 10/10, one of my favorite games. Full Review »
  2. Apr 14, 2018
    the gold age of need for speed saga, and the best need for speed in the history, the mod comunity is still updating his graph after 13 years
  3. Mar 22, 2018
    Ótimas músicas,grandes carros modo história com atores reais,grande customização no carro ,sem dúvidas um dos melhores Needs já feitos.