Nintendo Reviews Rating:
Age 10+
Posted: June 20th, 2006
By: Webmaster-Josh
Enter the next level of the Need for Speed-Most Wanted. Taking the Underground franchise away is a new move, but how
does this new spin on a known franchise work out? We'll tell you in this full review!

Underground had THX, which enhanced the sound a lot. For whatever reason, it is absent from this game. It's a shame,
because this game really, and I mean really could have used it. There's ton of police talk, a few cutscenes, and even phone
calls that contain a lot of talking. It would have been nice to have the quality at the highest it could be. This game does
have Dolby Surround sound, though, and this game does really bring it out well. The sound effects are also better and
much more pronounced than in Underground.
You may like that a lot when you hear the music. The licensed music in this game is absolutely terrible. That goes from
Need for Speed Underground having very great music. I also mean it when I say the music is terrible. Not one of the entire
collection of songs in this game is near good. It's a mix of music that really has no tune, or little rhythm. It is very easily
forgettable, and best left turned off. However, the in-game music is not so bad. Taking from more recent Hollywood
blockbusters, the in-game music is orchestrated with very nice segues from one part to another. What I like is the variety,
and how it picks up when the police chases pick up. By the way, the in-game music is only played during police chases. So
overall, a lot could have been done better, but it certainly is good for what it's worth.

There's not much to say about controls-it is as easy as it was for Underground. There are also some different styles to
choose from. A couple of things are different. The camera control button has been eliminated. You must change it on the
main menu. That's not a big deal, because once you find a camera style you like, you won't switch back. What replaced
that button is a Speedbreaker. Press C Up to activate a slow-motion mode that really helps with cop chases. It lets you
make hard turns, at the expense of speed. So it doesn't help too much during races, but cop chases can be evaded or busted
by using this feature.
The menus are a little better, and load and save times are little better. It's also very easy to switch from free roam to
races, and basically perform all other functions. One slight problem is the small size of the icons, and fonts on the game
screen. It's very hard to read how much percent complete you are, and all other stats. Good thing you can pause during
races and check live stats. Overall, the control is basically the same.

Need for Speed Underground had some problems, but a lot
was fixed by sheer speed-that includes the framerate issues,
which weren't very noticeable last time around. It isn't the
case this time around. The framerate is a major issue in this
game. It is so bad, the game may even freeze because of it.
It is somewhat understandable, because the game is loaded
with police chases involving several cars, but when a game
that is two years older than a counterpart runs worse than
it, that is not a good sign.
But what does save the game is the amount of detail in the
surroundings. Once again, the low resolution lowers the
score a little, but this is something that still took some time
to polish. The cars themselves are also very well designed,
and look amazing. There's also a few video sequences which
look stunning. It takes the approach that the upcoming "A
Scanner Darkly" movie is-a combination of live action
footage with animation mixed in. The effect is awesome. The
one thing that bothers me is knowing that the Xbox 360
version looks so much better than this one, which makes
this version hard to recommend in graphics area, however.

This game's career mode runs through 15 different people, with several races that lead up these people. These people are
part of the blacklist, so they are like bosses. What's amazing is the sheer amount of races alone. Then you add in the
police chases, and you have a winner. I've spent over 8 hours on police chases alone. Then add in the ability to drive
around the entire city of three separate districts (hmmm....where have we seen this before....) and you've got a big winner.
And I'm not done. The cars are very customizable. More brands and more cars means tons of more ways to customize your
car. One of my favorite new features is the ability to customize your own dashboard, so you can have your speedomoter
exactly the way you like. The other cool thing is the ability to own as many cars as you want. So, you can buy a new car
without giving up your killer design from your old one. That is really sweet, and this all adds to the replay.
And finally, there's multiplayer, which is actually fun this time around. I'm not sure why, but it just works this time.
Maybe it's because of the hundreds of tracks to choose from? Yeah, it's big. I've never seen so much choice in any other
racing game. Ever. And then there's the new, and difficult challenge mode. And amidst all of this is the 30+ hour career
mode, with police chases that are so different that you could easily engage in a new one every time. I think I could go on
forever with more reasons, so this game get big tips for replay. This game will certainly last a long time, and makes it
worth playing!

Need for Speed Underground lacked variety. It got repetitive after a while. But when you have the sheer amount of replay
this game has, it's hard to go wrong in variety. Here's the key part of this game, read closely. This game is one of very few
games that has combined two essential parts of the game into one cohesive whole. That would be the races and the cop
chases. Most games would just throw in cop chases without regard to polishing. It's kind of like Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
just throwing in multiplayer.
Let's get this straight-this game excels in both races and chases. That's very rare. They are both equally excellent parts of
the game. I've never had so much fun switching from races to police chases. And the really cool part is that the police
chases are never hindrances. They are always fun. That is also extremely rare. And let's get something else. This game is
addictive. Very. It's been a really long time since I've played a game that has called me back so much as this game has.
This game also features an excellent difficulty curve. The game isn't too hard, but certainly isn't very easy. Where there is
so much variety is the way the actual courses are designed. The courses are designed around the huge cities in which this
game takes place. It might feel like another GTA with cops thrown in, but this game also focuses a lot on races. The point
of having a huge place to roam is simply for the cop chases to have an authentic feel to them. The game is also much,
much bigger than Underground, with much more land area to work with. I would estimate by the game's map system that
the piece of land is about 20 square miles. That's pretty darn huge. For the game to be consistently fun, and have so much
to do is astounding these days. That leads to a few minor problems. There's not enough drag races, and there's no more
drift races. There's also only one setting of day, which is like sunset. These are just minor gripes, and even with these, it
never fails to deliver the goods, and that's why the design is excellent.





Final Words

So only slightly better than Underground...wonder why? I'm using my Wavebird to cycle through Underground's music
blindly-I can't see the screen-as I am writing this review. I haven't skipped over any songs yet. Those songs were
tolerable. This game has music so intolerable, I had to turn it off. If I tried this same thing with Most Wanted, I probably
would run out of songs. They're all bad. For me, that's pretty extreme. The lack of THX, and the bad framerate also
doesn't contribute to where this game really exceeds-replay and design. What I really feel bad about is the fact that Xbox
360 looks so much better than this version, and I'm sure runs much smoother. That in itself makes it hard to recommend
this version. But if you don't plan on getting Xbox 360, this is going to be a real treat for Gamecube owners!