Revamp of Need For Speed: Most Wanted Announced at E3
Reinvention is the key when remaking a title so large as Need For Speed: Most Wanted which is one of the best selling titles (if not THE best selling title) in the series. Release is slated for October 30th, 2012 in North America and November 1st, 2012 in Europe.
Players who have been with the franchise for some time will be tempted by the offer of lobby and wait free entry to online play that is described as “seamless”. If this is the case, matchmaking in NFS:MW will be the most efficient of any racing game on the market and, dare I say, any game period. There was no further news as to how this was going to be achieved so we will have to wait, watch, and dive in as soon as possible.
Other features that are being touted as revolutionary to the series include:
A completely open world where the player is free to explore the map looking for secrets, take on challenges, make rivals and break them at their own speed. While other games in the Need For Speed franchise have had a free roaming world to some degree or another, it will be a nice change to be able to poke around the map without the constraints of ever-present invisible walls. Similarly, Criterion has had enough time to have hopefully ironed out the occasional physics pops that have sent drivers into walls or onto their roof without reason or action to cause in previous titles.
Taking down rivals is another feature that we’ve seen before in the series as well as in competing racing games. The only real big hope that we can all have in this department is that it will mean a little more than a few measly points added to score or a little tick of NOS being added to the tank. This feature has always added an additional twist to the difficulty of games and made the feeling of knocking another car around much more rewarding than it would have been were it not recognized and rewarded.
Challenging friends through both direct head to head competition and posting of scores has always been a mainstay for racing games. Who are you going to brag to and smack talk (without being reported) without this ability? Here’s to hoping that challenges can be issued, accepted and realized in one flowing online experience as we saw from hybrid racing/kart game Blur as well as being left in an inbox for friends to see when they sign in. If Criterion managed to pick up on this great feature, it’s inclusion would be beneficial to the overall multiplayer experience.
As always, we have what I assume to be the most loved feature in any free-roam game: getting into it with the local law enforcement. Previous titles introduced the scaling of police vehicles in response to how naughty the player has been. Speed and you’ll see a couple of everyday cruisers. Knock out a few cruisers and keep smashing up the area to encounter an upward spiral of pursuit vehicles that increase in weight, speed, agility, and durability. The biggest room for improvement here is that the AI behind those vehicles needs to get it’s act together and respond more accordingly to the actions of the player. When a three thousand pound SUV is on your tail and has the opportunity to take you down, it should try to do so, not shy away from the player’s wild swerve as if the cost of the paint job is more than the cost of the 30 wrecked cruisers in the player’s wake.
Special Launch Edition:
Double Speed Points – These points are what determine your ranking on the Most Wanted list. Simply put, the more you have, the more aggressively you will be chased by police, rivals, and the online community. Practically everything the player does in the game will earn Speed Points. Catch some big air with a sweet jump, get Speed Points. Knock out pursuing police and/or rivals, get Speed Points. Slap down a top race time to get yourself in the top slot, get Speed Points. I’m sure you understand where I’m going with this.
Custom Liveries – From what I gathered, these are unique symbols or decals. Unfortunately, not much more was available to draw from.
Pre-Customized Rollouts and Two Vehicles - Maserati GranTurismoMC Stradale and Porsche 911 Carrera S will be handed to Special Edition owners from the get-go. The Need For Speed franchise has used Porsche for as long as I can remember and every time I rolled in one, I swore I never would again. Maybe it was just me but I could never get the hang of them. The Maserati, on the other hand, I am very excited to drive. High end cars in games with smashing as a core mechanic always put me on edge and gets me more into the race for some reason. Never wanting to be touched but also not risking the chance of going full throttle into a wall.
Last item to cover is the introduction of Autolog 2. This system is designed to recommend challenges to both the multiplayer and single player experience via the player’s social network. I’m on the fence for this one as I don’t know whether it would cross the line between useful tool and annoying application that I block. Time will tell on this feature.