Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005 video game)
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|Need for Speed: Most Wanted|
Cover art featuring BMW M3 (E46) GTR
|Series||Need for Speed|
|Platform(s)||Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, Xbox 360|
Need for Speed: Most Wanted is a 2005 open world racing video game developed by EA Canada and published by Electronic Arts. It is the ninth installment in the Need for Speed series. The game features street racing-oriented game play, with certain customization options from the Need for Speed: Underground series. The game is succeeded by Need for Speed: Carbon, which serves as a sequel to Most Wanted.
Most Wanted has been released for Nintendo DS, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance and was a launch title for Xbox 360. Another version of Most Wanted, titled Need for Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0 has been released for the PlayStation Portable. In May 2012, the PlayStation 2 version was released on the online virtual market, PlayStation Store, for the PlayStation 3, but was removed from the storefront later that year - due to an announcement on June 1, 2012, a reboot of the game, also called Need for Speed: Most Wanted, was under development by the British developing team Criterion Games and was released on October 30, 2012.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted received positive reviews and was a commercial success; it sold 16 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling title in the series.
Most Wanted is like other Need for Speed games, where the player selects one car and races against a time limit or other racers to reach a destination. Police chases have once again been integrated into certain racing sessions, in which the police employ vehicles and tactics to stop the player's car and arrest the player, like Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2. As players take control of faster cars and increasingly rely on nitrous oxide speed boosts, the oxide meter now refills automatically for the first time since its introduction in Underground, and driving sequences become fast-paced and intense similar to the Burnout series.
Three distinct regions are offered in the city of Rockport, along with cycling weather. Racing events take place between sunrise and sunset, unlike in the Underground and Carbon where the events took place at night. A Grand Theft Auto-like Free Roam mode is provided as in Need for Speed: Underground 2, but is still limited to Career mode, as well as pursuit-based events in other modes.
Rockport has characteristics of cities in the Rust Belt and Pacific Northwest with some resemblance to Pittsburgh, Seattle and Portland. There are grimy industrial areas, more affluent suburbs, mountainous and wooded surroundings and a downtown core. The climate is generally cloudy and changeable with frequent rain storms.
Brand promotion previously seen in Underground 2, is present here as well, with Old Spice, Burger King restaurants, Castrol oil, Axe Unlimited and Edge shaving gel featured. The Cingular logo is still visible in the game's wireless communication system. Performance, body and visual parts that can be bought in the game are also from real life companies. However, Best Buy stores did not return from Underground 2.
The game provides players with three game modes. The Quick Race mode allows the player to select a car and an event and immediately start racing. The available cars and events are unlocked as the player progresses through the storyline in the Career mode. Achieving goals by winning races and performing a finishing of actions, dubbed "Milestones", during police pursuits, as well as a minimum Bounty are needed to advance in the storyline and race against any of the mode's 15 Blacklist racers. In the Xbox 360 version, the player is awarded with achievements each time a Blacklist opponent is defeated. Career mode introduces a new feature – the ability to win a Blacklist opponent's car ("pink slip"), bonus functions, extra cash or car parts and decors, after defeating the opponent in question. These come in the form of six markers – the rival's pink slip (which is concealed as a bonus marker), two bonus function markers, and three custom backroom parts markers of which there is a body part, visual upgrade, and performance marker ("Junkman Marker") that the player can select – of which the player can choose only two. New cars and parts are also unlocked as the player progresses through Career mode by beating Blacklist racers.
In addition to the Quick Race and Career modes, there is also a "Challenge Series" mode involving 69 progressively difficult challenges where players are required to successfully complete Tollbooth races and pursuit challenges, such as tagging a number of police cars. The pre-tuned cars used in each Challenge are fixed, ranging from mostly Career cars with poor handling to traffic vehicles such as a dump truck or police cars. Additional bonus cars may be unlocked as the player progresses through Challenge mode. The Challenge mode also has a cheat; by entering the words 'burgerking', or for consoles by pressing a certain code on the d-pad, at the start of the game, the player can avail the exclusive Burger King challenge. Once successfully completed, the game will reward you with something, such as "Junkman" parts. You can equip these parts to your vehicles in the "My Cars" menu to provide extra performance to your car. These parts are not available in "Career Mode".
In terms of actual variations of races, Most Wanted inherits several racing modes prevalent in its Underground predecessors. The game's four existing modes: Circuit races, point-to-point Sprint races, Lap Knockout races and Drag races, remain largely unchanged since the first iteration of Underground, while Drifting, Street X, Underground Racing League tournaments and Outrun racing are removed. Meanwhile, Most Wanted sees the introduction of two new racing variations, which places emphasis on speed. The first mode is known as Tollbooth, where a player races alone to designated checkpoints along a point-to-point route before time runs out; the more time a player has as they reach a toll booth, the more time they have to arrive at the next one. The second mode, dubbed Speedtrap, sees racers competing with each other to get the highest accumulated speed record at multiple traffic cameras. At a speed trap/traffic camera, players accelerate their car to aim for the highest possible speed. Accumulated speed is reduced over a period of time after an opponent crosses the finish line first; this is signified by intermittent flashing (each flash deducts 10 km/h from the accumulated speeds) on the screen until the player (or the opponent car) crosses the finish line.
Most Wanted features pursuit evasion in the game for the first time in the series since Hot Pursuit 2. In Career mode, police pursuits may occur during a race or during free roaming through the city, depending on the frequency of the police units in the area and traffic offenses players have committed. The player can initiate a pursuit immediately from the game's safe house or menu by choosing an unfinished Milestone or a Bounty challenge. Pursuits can also be initiated by selecting an appropriate Challenge in the Challenge Series mode. Traffic offenses committed by the player are known in game as Infractions. These include speeding, excessive speeding, reckless driving, driving off roadway, damage to property, hit and run, ramming a police unit, and resisting arrest.
The system is significantly more complex than its previous Hot Pursuit incarnations. The manner in which the police handle a player is now determined by the "heat level" of the player's current car. Heat levels, which increase with the length of a police pursuit and the amount of damage caused by the player during the pursuit, add a twist to the pursuit. The higher the car's heat level, the more aggressive the police units are against the player, employing additional tactics and tools, such as roadblocks, spike strips, police helicopters and heavier and faster police cars such as police SUV's and Federal units.
In Career mode, pursuits are integrated into the game in such a way that it is necessary to participate in pursuit in order to be able to challenge Blacklist racers. The player must complete Milestones which involve committing at least a specified amount of traffic offenses or pursuit lengths during a pursuit, and collecting an amount of Bounty, a form of credit accumulated as players continue to evade the police or damage police units. A car's heat level may be reduced by changing the physical appearance of a car by changing body parts or paint color, or by using another purchased car with a lower heat level to race in the streets. If a car is not being used by the player its heat level will slowly lower over time. Rap sheets, with records such as the player's infractions, cost to state, deployed tactics and pursuit lengths, are also available for viewing by hacking into police records.
Players are provided with several additional features which are useful during pursuits. The Speedbreaker, provided within the driving interface, slows down time similar to bullet time also while momentarily adding weight to the player's car allowing it to become more difficult for other vehicles to push around, and induces a drift. This allows the player a limited amount of time to quickly maneuver the car out of difficult situations, or assess an escape route through a road block or spike strip blockade. Another feature in Most Wanted are Pursuit Breakers, road-side objects which are designed to collapse when a player uses their car to knock down its support, either damaging or disabling following police cars (which can be visually seen in many cases). In one example, if a player smashes through a gas station, the roof of the station falls potentially crushing police units following them.
Pursuits in the game are split into two main parts. The first part, which is the actual pursuit itself, occurs when the player is being actively chased by police. The second part, known as the "Cooldown" mode, occurs when the police have lost sight of the player and are conducting a search for him/her. During this period of time, the pursuit and its corresponding timer are temporarily paused and a Cooldown bar is enabled, which will slowly fill up as time passes. Once the bar fills up completely, the player is considered to have successfully evaded the pursuit. Conversely, if a police unit spots the player, the pursuit resumes. To evade the pursuit, it is necessary to enter Cooldown mode first. This is accomplished by getting a certain distance away from the police or by disabling police units. The duration of the Cooldown mode depends upon the player's heat level; lower the heat level, the lesser time it takes for the Cooldown bar to fill up and vice versa. Cooldown spots, areas in the world usually not seen from the street or helicopters, can be used to hide from pursuers and aid in the player's escape. If the player finds a hiding spot and stops they will spend significantly less time in Cooldown mode.
Online multiplayer was available on Xbox 360, Xbox, PC and PlayStation Portable. Up to 4 players can participate in an online race and can race in 4 game modes including circuit, sprint, lap knockout and speed trap. Furthermore, there is the option to enable Performance Matching in an online race. When performance matching is enabled, all cars in the race are automatically upgraded to match the performance (i.e. top speed, handling, etc.) of the fastest car in that particular race. However, as soon as the race is over, all modifications made to the cars by performance matching are removed. The online multiplayer lobby was shut down on August 1, 2011. It is still possible to play the game in multiplayer, though: an unofficial modification called Most Wanted Online is now in open beta.
There are a wide range of cars available for the main Career mode of the game. Cars such as the Fiat Punto and Cadillac CTS are only seen in Most Wanted and tuners excepting Honda(along with Acura) and Nissan(along with Infiniti) return from Underground 2 (e.g. Toyota Supra, Mazda RX-7 and Mazda RX-8) but SUVs do not return except as non-playable police vehicles. Exotics like the Lotus Elise, Lamborghinis, Porsches make their first appearance since Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 and classic muscle cars featured in the Black Edition (e.g. Chevrolet Camaro) are new to the series. As the game progresses, better and faster cars are unlocked and races get faster and more intense as the player makes his/her way through the game. Cars must either be purchased at car lots or won by getting the pink slip to a Blacklist Racer's car, as detailed in the Modes section. Cars can be purchased at car lots in stock condition with no enhancement whatsoever. Not all of them are available or affordable for purchase at the beginning stages of Career mode and must be unlocked by defeating a certain Blacklist member. The Blacklist members' cars can also be won for free after defeating him/her by choosing a pink slip hidden special cards providing 4 types of unknown and 2 known criteria, the two criteria being performance and visual upgrades with the other four containing slips to get out of jail for free, increasing the number of times a vehicle can be impounded before paying a fine to get it back, some extra money and of course, the pink slip to the Blacklist Members' car. These cars are unique in every way, already upgraded with the latest custom parts, therefore, making them the fastest vehicles available. While the game features police cars, Most Wanted does not allow players to play as a pursuing police in chases. However, players may drive several police cars in Challenge mode, but are solely used in checkpoint races and police pursuits, where the police are still pursuing the player.
As in the preceding Underground installments, the performance and physical appearance of the player's car can be extensively modified, but options for exterior and interior modifications have been significantly reduced to only the essentials. The customization of side mirrors, lights, exhausts and individual body kit pieces were dropped from body customization. However, instead of individual body kit pieces, up to 5 whole body kits can be chosen, some of which widen the car's stance. The "Car Specialties" customization (including neon, nitrous purge, hydraulics, spinners, doors, split hoods, and trunk audio) have been completely eliminated with the exception of window tint and custom gauges. Paint customization is limited to the main body color (with mirror, exhaust, spoiler, roof scoop, and brake color options gone) as well as player can apply only one vinyl as multi layer feature was absent. Unlike the Underground games, visual customization is used to lower the car's "heat level", instead of increasing the car's "visual rating". Additionally, players are allowed to assume a sleeper appearance (leaving the exterior of the car unmodified or barely modified) for cars without penalty in Most Wanted.
The player's unnamed character (referred to out-of-context as "Hero" or "The player") arrives in the fictional city of Rockport after fleeing from Palmont (in the events prior to Carbon) and travelling across the country, driving a custom-painted BMW M3 GTR. The player drives alongside Mia Townsend (Josie Maran) in her Mazda RX-8. When they stop at an intersection in Downtown Rockport, their path is blocked by the police-issued, customised Chevrolet Corvette C6 of Rockport Police Department's top traffic officer, Sergeant Nathan Cross (Dean McKenzie) but Mia escapes. Correctly suspecting that a BMW M3 GTR is not a street-legal, Cross goes to place the player under arrest whilst vaguely discussing "a beautiful little surprise" that he plans to use to finish street racing in Rockport for good. The player is excused, however, when Cross and his colleague are required to participate in a nearby high-speed pursuit. Before they depart, Cross snidely scratches the player's BMW with his car keys, expressing his admiration for the "nice pinstripe".
Street races in Rockport City seem to be in the player's favor until the player meets Clarence "Razor" Callahan (Derek Hamilton) and his troupe of racers. Razor is the lowest-ranked member of the Blacklist, a group of the fifteen most-wanted drivers by the Rockport Police Department. After defeating Toru "Bull" Sato (Razor's best racer), Razor challenges the player. Before the race however, the player's BMW is secretly sabotaged by Razor, who wins the player's "pink slip" after the M3 GTR's oil sump apparently leaks into the fuel tank, causing the engine to seize up and fail. With the player now stranded, the Rockport Police arrive on the scene, with Razor and his posse all escaping. The player is arrested by Cross, but is later released due to a lack of evidence. Mia arrives at Rockport City Police Station and informs the player of Razor's sabotage, and that he has used the M3 GTR to become the Most Wanted street racer; he is now #1 on the Blacklist. The only way for the player to reclaim the BMW M3 GTR from Razor is to "work up the Blacklist, and take out everyone on the way".
The player therefore accumulates the necessary reputation to challenge and subsequently defeat each accomplished Blacklist driver. Rivals are beaten one by one, with the ensuing reputation allowing new vehicles, upgrades and "bonus markers" to be awarded (including possible "pink slips to Blacklist rivals", meaning that the player has the opportunity to win every car from each Blacklist racer defeated). Mia assists by setting up safehouses for the player to "lie low in", and hacks the RPD's database (with Cross' username and password) so that the player can access a "rap sheet" to keep track of notoriety. In exchange, Mia asks for the unquestioned placement of large "side bets" on the player's street races. Rog (a male racer who befriended the player before the "loss" of the BMW M3 GTR), provides tips and updates about pursuit tactics, races, upgrades, cars and Blacklist racers. As time passes, Rog gets suspicious the large amounts of cash Mia earns out of the bets, learns that the RPD is likely monitoring her. Rog thus advises the player to "stay away".
Once the player has accumulated enough reputation to challenge him, the player is informed by Rog that everyone's calling for a race between "you and Razor", and that "even people as far as Bayview (the main location in Underground 2) are throwing cash down on this", and that the odds are in the player's favor". Afterwards, Razor tells that player that "it's time!", and sets the location for their showdown. The challenge for the top spot on the Blacklist pits the player in five races against Razor. The player emerges as the victor, thus finally reclaiming the BMW M3 GTR. When Razor refuses to relinquish ownership of the car, Mia subdues him and returns the keys to the player, revealing that she is an undercover police officer and urges the player to escape. At the same time, the Rockport Police Department arrives on the scene; Razor, his entourage and all of the other Blacklist racers are quickly arrested; the player takes off in the M3 GTR, pursued by the entire Rockport Police Department, spearheaded by Sergeant Cross. Unable to escape the full strength of the RPD, the player successfully jumps the BMW over a crippled, derelict bridge at Mia's suggestion - and tearing out of Rockport City. Cross and a couple of his fellow officers swerve to a halt before the jump, but many other police units are not so lucky.  Post-credits, Cross creates a national-level warrant for a "blue BMW M3 GTR, last seen out of Rockport City", thus adding the player character to the USA's National Most Wanted List.
Development and release
Need for Speed: Most Wanted 'Black Edition', a collector's edition of Most Wanted, was released in celebration of the Need for Speed series' 10th anniversary and in conjunction with the release of Most Wanted. The Black Edition features additional races, bonus cars and other additional content. The Black Edition also comes with a special feature DVD that contains interviews and videos about the game. The Black Edition was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2 and Xbox in the United States and Australia; only the PlayStation 2 version of Black Edition was released additionally for Europe.
The cutscenes in the game are live-action videos shot with real actors and set pieces, and CGI effects are added to car exteriors and environments for extra visual flair. The videos are presented in a significantly different style from the Underground series, and this presentation of cut scenes is used again in Carbon and Undercover.
The depiction between all of the versions graphics-wise is not the same especially on portable versions. The Microsoft Windows version varies by hardware and can look better compared to the console versions. The recommended hardware or above has a similar frame rate to the Xbox 360 version. The game makes heavy use of the HDRR and motion blur effects to give a more realistic feel.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0 is a PlayStation Portable port of Most Wanted, released on the same day as its console and personal computer counterparts. Similar to Most Wanted, Most Wanted 5-1-0 features a similar Blacklist 15 listing and Career Mode, with the addition of "Tuner Takedown", a "Be the Cop" mode not featured on Most Wanted. Most Wanted 5-1-0 lacks many elements of its other console and PC counterparts, like cut scenes, a storyline and a free roam mode, and contains minor differences (including listing the real name of a Blacklist racer rather than his/her nickname). The title of the game is based on the numerals "5-1-0", which is the police code for street racing.
Most Wanted, like the Underground series, avoids the use of major vehicle damage on all racing models, with only scratched paint and heavily cracked windscreens comprising the whole of the racers' damage modeling. Police cars, however, are subject to extreme physical body damages. They can be immobilized if they flip over or have been heavily damaged by "pursuit breakers" and/or the player's car. EA ceased support to the Windows version of the game very early in its life cycle. The latest patch for the Windows version (1.3) was released on December 6, 2005.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted was met with positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox 360 version 83.05% and 83/100, the Xbox version 82.59% and 83/100, the PlayStation 2 version 81.56% and 82/100, the PC version 81.50% and 82/100 and the GameCube version 79.36% and 80/100. However, the Game Boy Advance version was met with mixed reviews with a score of 67.33% and the Nintendo DS version was met with negative reviews with a score of 46.89% and 45/100. GameSpot gave the game an 8.4 out of 10, praising the game for its "sharp graphics" and "outstanding sound effects", but noted the AI for being "too easy at first, but too hard later on". Need for Speed: Most Wanted was a commercial success; it sold 16 million copies worldwide and 3.9 million in the United States, making it the best-selling title in the series.
IGN gave it an 8.5 out of 10 "great" rating, praising almost every element of the game. Praise was given to the map design, described as "a crazily chromed out, sepia-tone landscape of industrial structures", car modeling, saying "The car models are especially sleek looking too", the car line up and the return of exotics. Particularly strong praise was given to the police system, saying "The cops are never that smart, but they continually grow in aggressiveness and numbers." and "they add that very necessary component of challenge, annoyance, and heat that makes this game so fun". Praise even went to the cut scenes and their casting, which usually falls victim to critics, saying "this mixture of animated, highly colored FMV characters and stylized backgrounds is both imaginative and refreshing".
The PlayStation 2 version of Most Wanted received a "Double Platinum" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 600,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
On April 18, 2012, South Africa-based online retailer BTGames, the retailer that listed the existence of Jak and Daxter Collection, listed both Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2 and Dead Space 3 for pre-order, hinting that a possible sequel is in the works. The Most Wanted reboot was officially confirmed on June 1, 2012 on the official website and Facebook fan page. EA presented the game at their E3 live press conference on June 4, 2012, and the reboot was released on October 30, 2012.
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Mia: Razor set you up. He messed with your car.
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Mia: I heard they didn't have enough on you. Guess it's hard to nail you for street racing when you don't have a ride.
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Cross: Hey Hotshot! Hey thanks for helping us out! We've been able to pick up every Blacklist racer thanks to you! Now I'll take that into consideration if you give yourself up. So what's it going to be?
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