Need for Speed Most Wanted Review

Developer: Pocketeers Publisher: EA
Release Date: November 15, 2005 Also On: DS, GCN, PC, PS2, PSP, Xbox and Xbox 360

The GBA versions of Need for Speed Underground 1 and 2 were already pretty impressive achievements. Now Pocketeers are taking it one step further with Need for Speed Most Wanted. So, what did they improve? Pocketeers have been known for their impressive 3D graphics (impressive for GBA games). Most Wanted is no exception. The cars look absolutely stunning. The tracks are also some of the most beautiful 3D structures we have seen on the GBA.

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Of course, there are some shortcomings. Textures and objects are repeated quite often. This is not much of a problem since every section of the tracks look different, you always know where you are. The next problem is the low resolution of the GBA. It sometimes makes it hard to see which direction the next corner is taking. You have to get to know the tracks and sometimes use the map to help you navigate. One problem has been solved, though: In previous Need for Speed GBA games, the traffic was pretty annoying. In Most Wanted it does not cross at intersections any longer and you can see it from a distance most of the time that is just enough to evade it. Traffic now adds excitement to the game instead of making it frustrating.

The sounds in the game are pretty good. Every engine sounds different, you can even hear when you upgraded it. Unfortunately, the music is a little annoying. There are only one or two tracks and they sound pretty boring. It does not really harm the game but it also does not add anything to it. You can still upgrade your car like in Underground and it is something you need to do to be able to compete in the career mode. You can also upgrade your car visually but instead of choosing bumper, spoiler etc individually you only get a few complete body kits.

So, what is the game play like? When you first start it, you will think that the tracks are designed way too boring. This is not the case. It is only your car that is slow. Later when you have upgraded your car or bought a better one, all 10 tracks provide a nice challenge with many alternative routes. Some of the tracks are really long and they are also playable backwards so there is enough variation. There are a number of different gameplay modes like lap KO or point to point where you only drive a section of a track. These are also combined in tournaments at times so there is enough variation when you play through the chapters of the career mode.

A new addition to the game is the police. When you are too fast or crash too often, they will try to catch you. They are nice eye candy and add a little challenge but most of the time they are not much of a threat. The police are not really aggressive enough. The only mode where the police becomes interesting is the new barricade mode where you have to slip through the police barricades that are all over the track.

Need for Speed Most Wanted is certainly one of the greatest racing games the GBA has seen. One problem is that it is a little too easy. The game only becames challenging in the last few races. Still, it is one of the most impressive games the GBA has seen and should be part of every collection, especially since the DS version of Most Wanted (not made by Pocketeers) seems to be worse than the GBA one.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.5
Written by Ortwin Review Guide

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