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    Need for Speed: Most Wanted for Microsoft Xbox 360

    Need for Speed is a strongly established game series, and the people behind the series rarely take a serious misstep. They prove their considerable abilities in Need for Speed: Most Wanted for the Xbox360. This is one of my favorite racing games, and here's why.

    The first thing that sets this game apart is an actual story. Rather than come up with a series of racing tracks and having you try to do your best, the team working on Need for Speed: Most Wanted decided to create a narrative for you to play through. In the beginning, you are a street racer with a pretty good ride trying to make a name for yourself. You get some easy races in the beginning to get you used to the controls of the game, and suddenly your engine breaks down as you're facing off against a blacklist racer. What's the big deal, you ask? The guy gets your ride since you lost, which leaves you with a taste for revenge in your mouth. Using the money you won from your first few races, you buy yourself a new car with the basic package, and a friend brings you to a shop where it's safe to hide out while you build your reputation back up. You gain points for your reputation by eluding cops, completing timed races, and all of this eventually gives you the opportunity to race against each blacklist racer one at a time. The ultimate goal is to climb all the way to the top and reclaim the car that was taken from you. For once, a real story for a racing game, so welcome that the story gets a strong 8.

    Controls for Most Wanted are pretty simple to get used to. The left analog stick controls your car's steering. The right trigger is your gas pedal, and the left trigger doubles as a brake and the reverse acceleration when you need to back out of police traps. The B button is your nitro boost, and the A button is your emergency brake. To engage in races in the freeroam, you use the directional pad (each direction is a different option). The controls aren't too difficult, and anyone can get used to the smooth control system in a very short time. This game also allows for you to customize your vehicle to a certain extent, giving you the option to purchase upgraded brake systems and better nitros, as well as certain body kit options. All-in-all the game delivers a comprehensive street racing experience without weighing down the controller with confusing options. Simple, but decidedly effective, the control scheme for Most Wanted easily wins a strong 8.5.

    Oh, man, the graphics on this game are enough to make me imagine the wind blowing against my face. The cutscenes are especially breathtaking. I wouldn't say that they are exactly real, but they are definitely clear and crisp, which is something that is greatly appreciated in this kind of game. There are also very realistically created cutscenes with what look like nearly real actors. This is certainly one of the best looking racing games out right now, and given the affordable price, probably the best looking game for the money right now. For the sheer realism and wonderfully detailed cutscenes, including unique camera angles on squealing tires and bucking suspension, the game gets a very sturdy 8.

    Probably the most appealing aspect of Most Wanted is the soundtrack. There are many popular songs that play all throughout the game, enough that the songs don't seem to repeat too often at all. Each song has a strong and fast beat to keep pace with the dangerously out of control speeds you try to achieve in order to bring down the blacklist racers. Beyond that, there are wonderful police sirens that sound every time a partol car spots you, and even choppers that chase you down once you hit a certain bounty. There are even impressive explosions and crashes when you activate a police pursuit breaker to get rid of your entourage of adoring police fans. Sometimes fame can be incredibly difficult to cope with, but wonderful sound like this isn't- 9.

    Let's see, I could do the math or just make up a number. Taking the second option, Most Wanted walks away with a very respectable 8.5. There are few problems with the game, but they are there after hours and hours of gameplay: the enemy of most games, repitition. Still, this game is more than worth the thirty or so dollars it costs now on the 360.

    Written by MT

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