Criterion doesn’t make sequels to other people’s games. They’re quite emphatic about that. Hot Pursuit wasn’t a follow-up to any other Need for Speed, but rather Criterion’s personal take on the theme. Need for Speed: Most Wanted shares its name with another game in this genre-spanning racing brand, but the interpretation is all Criterion’s own. It does feel a bit like a sequel, though, in some ways – not to any of EA’s previous NFS games, but to the developer’s 2008 open-world racer Burnout Paradise.
Most Wanted is an open-world racer too, setting the player down in a shiny, good-looking American-style city with luxuriously wide roads, extremely car-friendly urban architecture and absolutely no cyclicsts to get in the way. You can leap over the freeway, drive up stairs, drift crazily around the end of a pier, antagonise the police and (naturally) take part in street races of every imaginable variety. And here’s the best part: every car in the game is open from the start, hidden somewhere in the city. All you have to do is get out there and find them.
No more staring longingly at greyed-out shiny Ferraris in unlock menus. No more accumulating XP or cash or whatever other arbitrary value for 10 or 30 or 35 hours before you’re allowed to drive the cars that everybody actually wants to drive. There’s just you, the cops, and a secret-packed urban playground designed for absurd driving. And, via an updated and improved version of Autolog, the constant presence of all your friends.
Read more at IGN