Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
Buy On
  1. Play UK
    Nov 30, 2012
    Easily the best arcade racer of this generation. [Issue#225, p.76]
  2. Oct 30, 2012
    Competitive types will adore proving themselves superior to their friends while doing all of the above. I think it's safe to say that no matter which type of gamer you are, you'll find at least some aspect of Need for Speed Most Wanted to completely lose yourself in.
  3. Nov 10, 2012
    Ready for another exhilarating gaming experience? Need for Speed Most Wanted is your answer. Going back to the franchise's roots which made it the classic it is today, this is an unmissable instalment in the series that you must play. It's time for your next dose of adrenaline.
  4. Nov 8, 2012
    This is a whole new, uber-improved racer that will change your view on the Need for Speed franchise for the better. Best enjoyed with eye-drops as you won't want to blink.
  5. Hyper Magazine
    Dec 17, 2012
    Great multiplayer and a huge sandbox to play in make this a wild and crazy ride. [Jan 2013, p.64]
  6. Official PlayStation Magazine Benelux
    Nov 12, 2012
    Need for Speed: Most Wanted is everything but a simulation racer, but it still feels a lot less arcadey than Ridge Racer or the classic Burnout games. It makes takedowns a bit more risky, since you risk losing control over your car, but also more satisfying. [November 2012, p.86]
  7. Oct 30, 2012
    At times Most Wanted elicits the hungriest of addictions, feeding on the player's desire to beat more and more friends. While a few gamers might find the ride too fast or too arcade-y, racing fans of all shapes and sizes will find hours and hours of fantastic rivalries.
  8. 90
    The online features are vast and should keep you busy for quite some time.
  9. Oct 30, 2012
    With an innovative and engaging asynchronous and traditional multiplayer package baked into their top-notch open world framework, Criterion has created a modern standard for arcade style racers.
  10. Oct 30, 2012
    It's undoubtedly one of the year's most exhilarating experiences.
  11. Oct 26, 2012
    Once again, Criterion still manages to stand out and offer something fresh, setting a new standard in open-world driving games with - that word again - a seamless feast of quality. [Dec 2012, p.98]
  12. Oct 24, 2012
    Sometimes while playing Most Wanted I was confused what to do next due to the sheer volume of opportunities. I was even frustrated at times when seemingly out of nowhere, a civilian car clogged up the last turn of a particularly high-tension race, causing me to eat metal instead of grabbing victory. But part of the beauty of this game is that there is no such thing as an unfair ending. Whether you're dominating your opponents or barrel rolling your way through a race, you're getting what you wanted – a game, that win or lose, goes all out getting there.
  13. Oct 31, 2012
    Another must-have in the Need for Speed series. A serious candidate for the most wanted racing game of the year.
  14. Oct 30, 2012
    First and foremost, "fun" was the order of the day when Criterion sat down to make this game. The user-friendly, extraordinarily streamlined presentation, slick technical elements, and emphasis on freedom is all conducive to that little yet all-important three-letter word: F-U-N.
  15. Nov 27, 2012
    Most Wanted is definitely aimed towards those players who normally don't play racing games. The game doesn't feature the exhaustive customization options of game's like Gran Turismo; instead Criterion successfully delivers a beautiful looking and fantastic adrenaline packed racing experience.
  16. Nov 12, 2012
    When played alone, Need for Speed: Most Wanted feels too large and too empty, a game devoid of compelling content and one that doesn't provide enough reasons to play. When played online, however, it is instantly transformed into a far more vibrant, manic and exciting place to be.
  17. Nov 12, 2012
    Criterion Games proves once again they know how to make successful racing games. After a pleasant Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, the British video game developer offers a new version of Need For Speed: Most Wanted, bringing some Burnout elements to the IP. The title puts the leveling features aside, focusing on an experience players will enjoy instantaneously thanks to a new open-world universe and enough difficulty to hold them spellbound.
  18. Nov 10, 2012
    It might not be as good or as lavish as Hot Pursuit, but Criterion surely offered another great addition to EA's legendary racing franchise.
  19. 85
    Most Wanted begs you to play it, to explore Fairhaven, to take your skills online, and to become the best racer in this open-world setting. It's a perfect addition to the franchise and keeps you strictly focused on driving and competing.
  20. Nov 6, 2012
    A great race game, which definitely puts EA's Need For Speed franchise back on the map.
  21. Playstation Official Magazine Australia
    Nov 28, 2012
    Take Burnout Paradise's massive open world, strip out the wild, physics-defying, cabin-crushing crashes and insert a generous handful of the world's hottest or most iconic motors. This is Need for Speed that only Criterion could create. [Christmas 2012, p.83]
  22. Playstation: The Official Magazine (US)
    Nov 20, 2012
    Goal-oriented gamers needing a concrete beginning and end will be let down, but if you're easily engrossed with multiplayer and exploration, Most Wanted is certainly a blast. [Holiday 2012, p.78]
  23. Nov 6, 2012
    Need for Speed: Most Wanted deeply tries to be original, but its open structure ends up to be a little bit too repetitive. Luckily, there's a lot of fun to be had in multiplayer.
  24. Nov 6, 2012
    Need for Speed: Most Wanted is a hybrid that combines Criterion's long-living Burnout-franchise, i.e. fun gameplay, fast paced action and exceptional driving, with the mechanics and elements that made the original Most Wanted so great in the first place, making for one of the best racing-games this side of 2010.
  25. 80
    Even though it doesn't reach the class of Forza Horizon, Most Wanted is an open-world game in the truest of senses. You have to look for the fun to find it. But since there is so much entertainment scattered about Fairhaven, this should be no problem. Those wild and nerve-wrecking police pursuits alone, which regularly develop their own zany dynamics, would be a decent raison d'être for any racing game.
  26. Oct 30, 2012
    Need for Speed Most Wanted does a great job at what it's supposed to - the cars feel good, the game looks pretty and the multiplayer is phenomenal. Some curious decisions hurt more than they help, and I'll never get used to the LSD inspired intro videos, but overall it's evidence that Criterion are getting ever closer to nailing that balance between arcade and simulation racing.
  27. It's achieved a vicious racing experience that thrills so much more than it frustrates, and it's pushed vehicular multiplayer forward significantly, setting the bar so high it's hard to imagine who can better it.
  28. Oct 30, 2012
    A successful blend of Need For Speed and Burnout that lacks a little in personality, but certainly not in terms of content or online action.
  29. Oct 30, 2012
    If you're not big on multiplayer, there's little reason to pick up Most Wanted over, say, heading to the bargain bin for a copy of Burnout Paradise. If you're willing to invest a few hours to learning the game's quirks, however, and are at all interested in racing against your friends online, this suddenly becomes one of the most recommendable arcade racers to come along in the past few years.
  30. 80
    Need for Speed: Most Wanted is a solid arcade racer, and although it feels a bit thin when it comes to single-player content, it more than makes up for it when you head online with your friends.
  31. Oct 30, 2012
    Doesn't beat Forza Horizon, but that doesn't matter with a great Autolog and lots of challenges to take on.
  32. Oct 31, 2012
    Criterion and EA deliver an entertaining online racer that won't go down in genre history as a revolutionary step in the Need for Speed franchise evolution however. A well done online experience saves an otherwise soulless game.
  33. PSM3 Magazine UK
    Nov 26, 2012
    A decent game stymied by the setting. [Christmas 2012, p.86]
  34. Oct 30, 2012
    It's not quite the smooth, finely tuned speed machine it could have been, but Need for Speed: Most Wanted is still an exciting racer.
  35. Nov 10, 2012
    The latest Need for Speed release has its share of slip-ups, but it's mostly able to sideline them and deliver a fast, fun open world racing game very much like Criterion's classic Burnout Paradise.
  36. Nov 7, 2012
    Need for Speed: Most Wanted has a number of flaws that prevent it from reaching the same heights as Forza Horizon or Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. But at the same time it has some great ideas of its own to make it entertaining. I would've wanted Criterion to work more on the sense of speed and removing the graphical bugs, but besides that Most Wanted is a great racer that will give you a good time both online and offline.
  37. Nov 7, 2012
    Just an average kind of a racing game. Criterion has meddled the things that work to no avail. Has it been an order from EA or have they been trying to take the series apart to prepare a market for a true Burnout comeback? A conspiracy theory? Maybe, but nothing changes the fact that the Most Wanted game is dull as dishwater.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 524 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Oct 30, 2012
    Horrible. I give it a 1 because the graphics are good. Other than that the game is absolute crap. There's no feeling of leveling up. You areHorrible. I give it a 1 because the graphics are good. Other than that the game is absolute crap. There's no feeling of leveling up. You are handed everything. No buying anything. No customization. Stupid camera angles. The cars feel like you're driving 20 ton dump trucks with cheese for wheels. You can't even pick between an automatic or a manual transmission anymore. The run was a bad blow to NFS. This game has killed the series for me. Time to go back to midnight club where I can at least have some fun and have a personalized car and stuff. Full Review »
  2. Oct 30, 2012
    Been playing this for a few hours now and I like the vast majority of the game thus far. The graphics are very nice and the cars look perfect.Been playing this for a few hours now and I like the vast majority of the game thus far. The graphics are very nice and the cars look perfect. Most Wanted 2.0 also has many more cars and a more interesting variety, which is awesome. The take-down system from the Burnout games is well implemented and makes racing much more interesting. The streamlined menus are easily accessed from the D-Pad for swapping cars, parts, and managing events. However, Criterion's makeover falls short in a few disappointing ways for me, in no particular order: 1) No manual transmission!?!?! That was one of the few pieces of enjoyment I got from racing games, being able to downshift in anticipation of turns and having the added challenge keeps every race fresh; not in this game though. 2) No customization. Basically a cornerstone of NFS was the customization. You can't even pick the color you want it in this one... (aside from zipping through a drivethrough to repair and recolor it randomly). You unlock part upgrades by getting 2nd or 1st in a race and there's basically 2 options per part and allow you to tweak the stats slightly and get a pro-version of that part for completing certain challenges. That's it. No performance dymo, no tuning, just plug and play. 3) No car progression. What I mean by this is you don't save up for that special car you've had your eye on and then make it your own in this game. (In fact there's no currency at all.) You get 5 events to do with each car and then its essentially done, and you move onto the next car and rinse and repeat. That was something I (and I think a lot of people) really enjoyed doing in NFS games was building your baby from the beginning. Sure you might go through 3 or 4 cars on a play-through but you always had that goal to go for. Without being able to progress a car like in NFS Underground 1 and 2 and Most Wanted 1.0 it really takes away from the game by making it too much like the Burnout's. 4) There is no consequence for getting Busted. As you may remember from NFS Most Wanted 1.0, if you go busted you had some options. Using the tokens you got from Blacklist members to get out of jail free or add impound strikes could save you from paying those hefty fines which increased the more mayhem you caused. In this, you go back to the police station. That's it. No money in the game for them to take away, no way to lose your car. Just go back three spaces. Really makes pursuits completely pointless by doing it this way. Just finish a race with cops on you? Just stop and save yourself 5 minutes of trying to evade, it doesn't make a difference if you evade or get caught; sad but true. 5) In NFS: MW 1.0 they had a plot for us for why we were trying to go back up the Blacklist and had some little plot twists and deception going on which was a nice touch. Here in 2.0, the nice lady voice tells you about the list and that you should be #1 and to have fun. I'm not sure what I would ask from Criterion in this department...but it just feels like they should have done...something. *** IN SUMMARY, this doesn't feel like a NFS game as much it feels like a Burnout game and while the game does a lot of things right and it would play fine for a game on its own merits, this just doesn't live up to the original. If anything I just want to play the first one more now, but give it a go and try it for yourself. It's not a bad game by any means just not as good as it could have been by keeping the core and building around it, instead of trying to smash two franchises together in a somewhat disappointing way to both NFS and Burnout fans. Full Review »
  3. Oct 30, 2012
    Nice graphics, but this is a super cheesy game. I played it for 30 minutes or so before I was so sick of playing it, I turned it off, put itNice graphics, but this is a super cheesy game. I played it for 30 minutes or so before I was so sick of playing it, I turned it off, put it back in the case, and promptly traded it in for Forza Horizon. There are numerous problems with this game, but it starts with the driving mechanics. Never have I driven a game where when you let off the stick in a turn, and the car keeps turning in that direction, even though you're not in a slide. It actually has some sort of mega-over steer. At the very least the car should let up in the turn, but it doesn't. Coming out of most turns you are required to counter-steer just to get the car to straighten out, which results in over-correction. I understand the idea of having to counter steer when the back end of the car is sliding out, but that's not what's happening in this case. It's completely unrealistic, and absolutely no fun. You can get used to it, but it's a terrible way to start out a game. The next thing that drove me NUTS is that every time you smashed into a wall or a car or anything else, the whole screen changes to a 3rd person view and says "CRASHED", all slow motion, but then just drops you back into the car right where you were. What's the point in that? Even if it's a minor enough crash that in most games you could just continue driving, in this game it must make a BIG deal that you crashed, even though you didn't really "crash". Stupid. Next, is how stupid police chases are. There's no reason to get away from the cops, as you don't lose anything by getting caught. There's zero incentive to get away. Next is the lack of manual shifting. This reminds me of Burnout where every car had 847364923 gears, and it just kept shifting and shifting and shifting. Stupid. You can't choose car colors, or make the car special, which is what was so great about the original NFS Most Wanted. The map is the size of a rural crap-hole town with 500 people living in it. I know millionaires with bigger garages than this city (maybe a bit of an embellishment, but you get my point) This is just a barely upgraded version of Burnout, which was another game I played for a few hours, got bored with, and traded in. I play a LOT of driving games, and I'm disappointed I wasted my time with this, and even more disappointed that I didn't just buy Forza Horizon instead. Good riddance, and NEVER again will I purchase a Criterion pile-o-crap driving game. Full Review »