Need for Speed Most Wanted 5-1-0


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 7


Technical limitations were the likely reason why the PSP version of Need for Speed Most Wanted failed to copy its console counterpart. While the loss of the free roaming aspects is disappointing, this entirely new experience is a standout on the handheld. It captures the portions it needs to succeed, though towards the end it becomes a grind.

nfsmw1psp.jpg (9971 bytes)Like the other handheld versions, the storyline is completely absent. You'll still take on 15 members of the "blacklist," the best street racers in the world. That's the short of the single player game.

To earn a new rank, you'll need to earn enough respect to earn the right to tackle the next step of the ladder. Each blacklist member has four races to complete, and since you need to complete them all to advance in the first place, the respect point system is rather pointless. The various race types include tournaments, lap knockouts, time trials, and police evasion.

Controls are perfectly tuned to the consoles set up. You'll feel the difference immediately as you purchase new cars/parts as the money comes in from winning races. Drifting can be a touchy effort, but it's worth learning the intricacies.

The track number is on the low side, though they're completely original and filled with wild shortcuts. Repetition is inevitable, and the later challenges only showcase this problem more as the difficulty hits near ridiculous levels. Some of the races end up being exceptionally long for a portable experience.

A few other issues plague this one, including a design concept that allows players to earn more respect or cash if they choose to continue evading the police. The trade off is that if you get caught, you lose all that you would have earned by winning the race. If it were worth the risk, the system would work. However, when you're offered 10 extra points to gain when you won 1200 in the race, it's completely illogical to take the bet.

nfsmw2psp.jpg (9369 bytes)Most Wanted makes up for these flaws with online play and the ability to play as the other side of the law. Online play is lag free, and a great way to show off your cars. While there's no additional mode or side story when playing as the police, it's still a great throwback to some of the franchises best like High Stakes.

This is also the only portable version to keep the tone of the console versions alive. The tracks are heavily detailed, and while the pixilated backdrops can at time be annoying, the muted color tone is preserved. In addition to the music (which also has a great light show if you listen to the tracks in the menu system), this is as close as game can come to the original design while still providing a new experience.

The addition of 5-1-0 in the title probably isn't enough to let people know this is a different game from the ground up. A new title for the PSP version probably would have been a better marketing move. As it is, fans of the other iterations will probably skip this when they expect the same game. That's a shame, because the effort put into this title is obvious, and it comes off as one of the PSP's premier racers.


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Last updated: Friday, August 04, 2006 09:02 PM