Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
Buy On
  1. The addition of the cops returns the series to its roots, while keeping the gameplay mechanics and large city of the Underground games will make it accessible to fans of those games.
  2. You will fall in love with the police-chases immediately, and you are still offered the great racing aspects that you already know and love.
  3. An exceptional racing game, with stunningly awesome graphics and a solid gameplay, albeit somewhat lacking in the A.I. smarts.
  4. Official Xbox Magazine
    Great blend of the series' best bits: customizable cars, high-octane races, and cop chases. [Holiday 2005, p.86]
  5. It'll fulfill all your outlaw tuner desires, with the added bonus of not making you look like a complete fool when you take it for a spin.
  6. 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.
  7. 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. If you haven't found any of the recent NFS games to be juuuust right, Most Wanted is the one to own.
  8. 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.
  9. It skips the commercial appeal of the Underground games and offers a game filled with intense races, great FMV cutscenes and number of cool cars.
  10. This is a better overall game than the "Underground" series, with more depth on the pavement and in the garage. The presentation factor has also gone up tenfold, along with a serious improvement in graphical quality.
  11. There are some suitably impressive graphics on offer and the career mode is probably one of the most impressive seen in the series to date.
  12. The return of the police is an excellent addition to the game, too bad that they are not available for online play.
  13. 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.
  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 amalgamation of the open-city concept of the Underground games with the police chases of Hot Pursuit make for a sort of "best of" of the NFS history.
  17. 85
    As a current-gen game it's stunning. The Xbox version is notably impressive, and even moreso when you see it side-by-side with its sibling on 360.
  18. 85
    One of the best racing games of 2005. It feels so polished and the presentation is really high class.
  19. The actual racing hasn't changed too much, but the ever-present police make this game a whole lot more interesting.
  20. Most Wanted brings the police back in force, and the game benefits greatly from it.
  21. Pelit (Finland)
    A decent enough racing experience. The police chases are excellent fun, but where is the proper civilian traffic? [Dec 2005]
  22. The police aspect in this game makes it refreshing and "new."
  23. We're not claiming Most Wanted to be the best urban racer money can buy, but at least your get your 40 quid's worth out of this one, instead of some mediocre old night-time racer with an over-hyped modification element welded onto the bonnet. Good effort. [Official UK Xbox Magazine]
  24. NFS: MW is still in the business of immersing you in the world of illegal street racing and it does a decent job of that.
  25. 80
    The Xbox version, in addition to being considerably better-looking than the PS2 version, also supports Xbox Live online play for head-to-head racing, though seemingly must-have features, like co-op racing or the ability to play as the cops, didn't make it into the online portion of the game.
  26. The addition of smart and relentless police pursuers has reinvigorated this popular driving series.
  27. The pursuit mode stands out as the best feature, which sadly is not incorporated into multiplayer, which not coincidentally is the weakest aspect of the game.
  28. 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.
  29. 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]
  30. 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.

Awards & Rankings

#60 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2005
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 38
  2. Negative: 3 out of 38
  1. Mar 22, 2015
    Most epic racegame on console ever, period.

    great gameplay great contemporary, and daring, soundtrack (still listen to it nowadays
    Most epic racegame on console ever, period.

    great gameplay
    great contemporary, and daring, soundtrack (still listen to it nowadays sometimes, and that's 2015)
    great graphics.
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 13, 2014
    Probably the top tuner game out there today. I have not found another game that has customization like this and has the fun level of thisProbably the top tuner game out there today. I have not found another game that has customization like this and has the fun level of this game. Sure NFS2 had a huge and better world map, but it had no cops, and this is where NFSMW2005 strikes the jack pot as the best need for speed game ever (imo). The cops are hard, they arent going to give you the right to drive over their city recklessly, so you'll need to be able to destroy the vehicles they target at you. Wreck them, ram them into walls, blow them up via gas tanks, and other fun destructive things. The control of the cars is rather tight, and you won't be able to turn 90 degrees without slowing down a little bit. This game actually has A STORY, and it's one of the better stories of this franchise, and I feel like the characters used are all pretty cool and fun to race. The car selection is a decent amount (at roughly 30 stocks), though it could be improved if it were to be remade in the current times. I feel like this game is the top of EA's work, and should be crowned as the king of tuner racing games and possibly a chance at one of the best racing games of all time. Finish the story? Well you have a bunch of secrets and challenges to play, so that helps greatly to extend the replayability.

    Gameplay: 10/10
    Story: 9/10
    Music: 9.5/10
    Presentation: 10/10
    Length: 9/10
    Overall: 10/10
    Full Review »
  3. Oct 28, 2013
    The best car racing game ever made for shore. The current need for speed most wanted in 2013 is a terrible version of the this originalThe best car racing game ever made for shore. The current need for speed most wanted in 2013 is a terrible version of the this original despite the many years that have past and how far other game series have come.The way the races are set up and the menus are quick and easy to go through. Driving in the open world is actually a real world simulation. Switching with the pad to the map to see where your going is easy and awesome to switch to find a hideout when cops are chasing. The sound track is large and good. The modification of cars that are actually affordable to the common man is awesome with bodykit shaping and real world mag wheels and tires with even extra customisation of the standard rims. I loved the very first pc game of need for speed by Electronic Arts with the Lotus Esprit and Ferrari F40. I liked playing Burnout on x box with my five year old nephews with the slow mo car crashes but even they got bored after watching the slow mo crash for the 50th time just like I did and just wanted to keep driving. This is one of the last great Electronic Arts need for speed games. Aiming for a gap in a roadblock and crashing through with slowed down gameplay not a cut scene is awesome then flicking to a map to find a cool down spot is best fun ive had in a game and when you modify the car it sounds and acts just like a real car would. I know because have a supra. Drifting takes alot of skill but when get good points build up on screen I'm very dissapointed with the 2013 Electronic Arts/ Burn out collabaration its a shocker compared to the xbox version I think I know why. Car companys now discourage modification with the loss off warranty for nissan gtrs and even the car manual has a picture of a gtr with a bodykit with a red cross over it and most other manuafacters today are the same these days it sad and pathetic The police in the 2013 version seem to be much more effective and its packed with alot more adds. The worst thing is everytime you crash its the burnout slow mo for 10 seconds and then your reset in another place its pathetic and almost the whole 2013 game made me angry.. This original xbox need for speed most wanted is nothing like that and thats why it is awesome. Full Review »