Need for Speed Most Wanted


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 3

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 3

Overall: 3


needforspeedmw1ds.jpg (47851 bytes)If there's a need out there for the DS version of EA's popular car franchise, it's definitely one for speed. The latest entry in a long running line of Need for Speed titles, Most Wanted's superbly crafted racing experience was deep and involving on home consoles. On the DS, it's a horrible, barely recognizable translation attempt.

Obviously, a game designed around owning, customizing, and then racing outrageously expensive souped-up cars should at least have decent looking vehicle models. On the DS, they look like something that would be an embarrassment to early generation Playstation titles. Adding decals or other visual upgrades make this more apparent.

That would be fine if the cars controlled like actual cars. The ones featured here though would increase the amount of vehicle deaths by at least 200% each year. It's almost impossible to get a feel for the touchy controls. Walls become the biggest threat, not the AI that flies around the track on what is dangerously close to being a pre-determined course. A slight tap on the d-pad is enough to go careening into a building, or even the dreaded shrubbery that can suck all the momentum from a car hitting the 150 MPH mark.

The game is setup almost exactly like its surprisingly better Game Boy Advance brethren. It even features the same menus and music. You'll take on a short series of challenges (up to six in later levels) and then challenge for the next spot on a list of the best street racers.

"Most Wanted" becomes a slight misnomer here. Police are barely present, and the only damage you'll cause is to yourself. Aside from getting slapped with a few DUIs because you can only drive like you're drunk in this game, it's hard to imagine being on any wanted list. The intensity of the chases is gone, and the lack of a full, open world doesn't help.

needforspeedmw2ds.jpg (47883 bytes)About the only thing Most Wanted does right on the DS is its frame rate. It's remarkably smooth at all times. That doesn't necessarily add up to a sense of speed though, and the laborious pacing is dull and lifeless for a racing game. The brightly colored (almost fantasy like) stages seem out of place especially when up against the monotone, gritty tracks in the home versions.

Most Wanted on the DS does nothing right. It's a slapped together port that bares little resemblance to the game it's titled after. The Game Boy Advance version somehow managed to work within the consoles limitations, and it's hard to think of a reason why this doesn't.


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Last updated: Tuesday, July 18, 2006 01:30 PM