Average User Score: 5.8Nov 12, 2012First off, I loved both the original NFS:MW and Burnout Paradise, so this amalgam of those two franchises must be truly amazing yes?First off, I loved both the original NFS:MW and Burnout Paradise, so this amalgam of those two franchises must be truly amazing yes? Unfortunately this is very far from the case. This new NFS:MW is probably the most disappointing game I have played in a long time. It borrows only at a very high level from the above two franchises (Police chases from the former, open world layout of the latter) but fails to implement any of the sense of fun or progression that exist in either of those (superior) titles.
I'm sure in multi-player this game starts to make sense, but this is also its undoing. It comes across as a game world designed wholly for you to race around with your on-line friends but with absolutely no content for off-line players (bar smashing billboards lifted straight from Burnout Paradise), think Quake:Arena off-line appeal as a point of reference.
Whilst the graphics and frame rate are excellent, the handling and AI is truly appalling. None of the cars have a natural weight or feel to them and all feel like they have four flat tires, such is the waywardness of their handling. Slightly squiffy handling can be overlooked if the game still manages to be fun (this was the case with Burnout Paradise), but even here NFS:MW fails on this basic requirement. The game just feels aimless with no sense of point or progression. There is no story, just a leaderboard of faceless "Most Wanted" drivers to beat. If you're coming to this game with fond memories of the (intentionally) cheesy rival cut-scenes from the original NFS:MW then you are in for a major disappointment here.
Probably the biggest crime (ironic, considering the title!) this game commits is the removal of car ownership! Yes that's right, this is probably the only racing game where you don't get to build your own virtual garage of bought / won cars. Sometimes trying something new is the way to reinvigorating a tired genre, but there is a reason why no-one has gone down this route before. If you remove the need to earn money to buy cars (or races where you win cars) then you remove one of the main points for playing a racing game. With the whole game essentially "unlocked" right from the beginning, once you've had a little burn around the map and completed a couple of races your quickly find yourself becoming bored. It's like the developers took on board the "endless grinding" comments about GT5 and thought "we'll do the exact opposite of that", when in fact what is required is a halfway house (as implemented by every other racing game). The fact that the police and competitors fully embrace rubber band physics, even the chases / races aren't very enjoyable.
This brings me on to my other complaint of this title, the police chases. They're just not very interesting. In the original NFS:MW you would actively search out police and incite them to chase you because the chases (especially as they ramped up in scale) were truly fun and as enjoyable as the races. This is not the case with this latest incarnation where the police chases just act as an annoyance that get in the way of you racing.
Resident Evil 6 was something of a disappointment (mainly due to clunky AI, controls and camera angles and total lack of scares or puzzles) but at least had a sense of fun. This is just not the case with NFS:MW. It's a racing game with dodgy handling, rubber band AI and absolutely no sense of progression, achievement or fun.
NFS:MW biggest problem though is that Forza Horizon already does everything (bar the police chases and considering how poorly NFS:MW implemented them this isn't a real issue) that NFS:MW does, but does it much better. Open world environment, CHECK. Fabulous graphics and silky frame rate, CHECK. Wide list of cars both past and present, CHECK. Superb handling that can be tailored to suite, CHECK. Diverse selection of race events, CHECK. On-line racing, CHECK. Ability to purchase / win and customise cars, CHECK.
With Forza Horizon the developers have taken all the elements from the best racing games, thrown them into a pot and cooked them up into a lovely tasting concoction that satisfies on (almost) every level. With NFS:MW, Criterion have taken Burnout Paradise, stripped out all the offline content, tacked on police chases and ended up with something very underwhelming.
All that's left to say is that with Black OPS 2 out tomorrow, my copy of NFS:MW is going to help fund its purchase. All I'm hoping is that NFS:MW trade in value hasn't been dented too much yet by other disgruntled players.… Expand