Need For Speed: Most Wanted Is Basically Burnout: Paradise 2, Thank Goodness

One of my happiest discoveries at E3 a couple of weeks ago was that this fall's strangely-named Need For Speed: Most Wanted could and maybe should be called Burnout Paradise 2.

This fall's racing game comes from Criterion, the EA-owned studio that made the Burnouts, including the magnificent, open-world Paradise, before apparently getting the assignment to make new Need For Speeds in years neatly divisible by the number two. In 2010 they releasesd the cops vs. racers Need For Speed Hot Pursuit, which was as beautiful and blazingly fast as Paradise but abandoned an open-world drive-anywhere layout for a more conventional level-by-level series or races.

The new Most Wanted, which bears the same name as the very good non-Criterion Need for Speed from 2005, is a return by Criterion to open-world racing games. You will drive around a metropolis called Fairhaven, looking for races and challenges, while the time it takes you to drive down any of the city's roads is instantly compared to that of your friends, Paradise-style. Every piece of pavement is potentially a ramp to the top of some new leaderboard.

Paradise had some of the best online gaming systems ever, ditching matchmaking lobbies and just grouping friends into the same open-world on the fly. As soon as players were linked, they were competing for speeds an times and were being coaxed by the game to converge at one spot on the map to initiate a multiplayer race. The new Most Wanted functions similarly, though there is now the option to either have a computer-controlled "playlist director" or a player themselves dole out the challenges for the joined racers. A bar across the bottom of the screen shows the next events in the queue, indicating that, say, a head-to-head race will be followed by a speed test or a test to get the most air. In public games, the game will control that; but in private games, a player can run their best playlist. Gamers who are joined in games still have to drive to meeting points to initiate each challenge, and the developers still haven't determined if or how they will punish players who refuse to converge to kick off the next event.

As players compete, they'll earn speed points, which unlocks new cars or parts. Thankfully, however, the game seems more about the actual gameplay of competitive driving than of car-shopping. The developers gleefully encourage players to try to ram into each other to derail their efforts to score top speeds in timed challenges. They want players to feel like they're always in some sort of racing contest. And here 's something interesting from one of the creators who showed the game at E3: "With our handling, players are able to 'dance' with their cars." Sounds good to me!

Criterion is an extraordinary racing game studio and a consistently, pleasantly cheeky one. One more carry-over from Paradise: the game's city is filled with billboard you can smash through. The twist this time: the billboards show the names of other EA development studios such as DICE, BioWare and Visceral. Smash through them and they're replaced with Criterion signs.


    would be nice if they add all the nice customisables
    like cosmetics, shouldnt really be a big issue/too hard, remember the old days of need for speed 2
    could make it like a end of game unlock even just for nostalgias sake

    If this has the same driving engine from NFS:Hot Pursuit , the customisation of NFS Most wanted plus the open world depth of Burnout paradise - Oh lord take my money!

      This! Paradise 2 with licenced cars! GIVE IT TO ME NOW

      Probably the same driving model, but the engine has been changed to Frostbite 2 I believe.


    Super pumped! Burnout Paradise was/is one of my favourite games of all time. Even before trophies came out on the PS3 I was very close to 100% it.

    I hope they have a checkpoint system like midnight club. I got tired of constantly checking the map in paradise

    I'd really love to see Underground/Underground 2 levels of customisation come back to the NFS Series. I could spend hours in the game just pissing about building cars.

      Neons, giant subs in the boot, vinyls and decals everywhere, customised instrument panels... *dreamy sigh*

    Any racing game by Criterion is an automatic purchase for me - NFS: Hot Pursuit was absolutely brilliant, and I've loved the Burnout games since back on the PS2.

    I have to admit I preferred the individual race structure of NFS:HP to the more open world of Burnout Paradise mainly because you could just pick your race and go rather than have to drive halfway across the map to get to it. But I think they may have actually changed that in Paradise with a later patch that let you jump straight to an event without having to drive there? Can't remember, though... haven't played it for years.

    One thing I loved about Burnout Paradise was the amount of post-release support it got, both paid and free DLC. Things like adding in motorbikes, day/night cycle etc etc in addition to adding whole new areas of the city etc. I really thought they set a standard for post-release support on consoles with that game. One that they sadly failed to live up to with NFS: HP :(

    personally, getting this is dependant entirely on the crashes. if theyre as cinematic / epic as they were in Burnout Paradise, then yeah. I'm 100% getting this. coz with me & driving games, crashes happen a damn lot, so they'd better be enjoyable.

    open-world driving + awesome crashes is a great combination.

    Without customization then I will not buy.

    This sounds AWESOME!!!!

    One thing I will look out for is the amazing SP story that underwrote the original NFS:MW.

    not awesome. Most wanted 2 would have been cooler.

    Up until undercover the storybased NFS's kicked ass.

    Silly question? but does it have the destruction like burnout when you have major crashes?

    Well they've finally done it. Ruined need for speed, turned it into burnout. The original most wanted was the best nfs game, and is what need for speed is and should be about, free roam realistic street racing with smashs and police chasing, not game where a car turns instantly and can drift round corners at 300mph

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