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access_time June 9, 2012 at 4:39 PM in Previews by Adam Larck

E3 2012 Preview | Multiplayer Strong Point in Need for Speed: Most Wanted

A few years ago, Criterion released Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit to critical acclaim. While bringing back one of the popular titles in the series, the developers managed to blend the great racing and destruction their Burnout series had into the Need for Speed universe.

Now, the developers are trying their hand at Need for Speed: Most Wanted, which Criterion said is one of the more interesting titles in the series. To let players be the “most wanted” on their friends list, the team has completely revamped their Autolog feature from the last game.

Aptly titled Autolog 2.0, the stat tracker can now keep watch over every individual race at once, not just one race at a time. In addition, it also keeps running tallies on things such as billboards destroyed, shortcuts found and more. The team stated they want players to be able to track all the states throughout the game, and it’s definitely showing.

As far as the single player goes, it feels like a harkening back to Burnout: Paradise. It features open-world gameplay with progression that will follow even after the race is over. Tick off the cops during a race? Expect them to keep pursuing you even after the race is over. It’s up to you to start races or events as you drive around. Otherwise, the game’s just as content to let you explore the city.

However, the thing I want to focus on in the title is the multiplayer mode. As a bit of a disclaimer, I really liked Burnout Paradise, mainly due to its open-world multiplayer with random events and crashes. Well, Criterion seems to know that a lot of fans did, and the multiplayer really shows it.

The multiplayer, which will allow up to 12 players to race in a world at once, will let players drive wherever they want to in the city with one of over 60 videos. However, players can set up a race with a meeting point for everyone to congregate to so that the race can begin.

Once everyone is in the area, racers get a three second countdown before the race starts. However, there is no official starting line. The race just simply starts, meaning that smart players can use this to their advantage and get a bit of a rolling start.

Racing is just as great as previous Criterion racers. I quickly got my old Burnout skills back during the race and was drifting around corners without a care. I am proud to say that I took first without a problem.

After you finish the race, though, you aren’t stuck in a waiting screen. You can keep driving around or, if you like causing chaos, can even turn around and drive into the other players. I did the latter, destroying the fourth-place person and dropping him to last.

While the multiplayer also includes a team race, two other interesting modes for the game are Skill and Speed Test. Skill Tests have you try to accomplish something, like jumping the farthest, in a limited amount of time. Meanwhile, Speed Tests have players trying to get the best speed in an area in a set amount of time.

Of course, Criterion made sure Takedowns counted in the tests. By taking someone out, that driver is eliminated from the race, forcing them to be stuck with whatever score they have. This means a challenge forcing someone to jump off a ramp can see a ton of wrecks quickly as they fight for ramp control.

After wrecking, the players can then turn around and try to take out other players to knock them out. It led to a lot of breath-holding moments as four or more players ganged up on me to try and take me out.

Criterion also promised that Challenges will also be in the game, similar to Paradise. However, time ran out before we had a chance to check it out.

The company plans to support the game after release with some good post-launch content, possibly even similar to what Paradise received after release. However, Criterion wasn’t ready to talk about it yet.

Whether it be single player or multiplayer, Most Wanted looks to be a great choice for any racing fan when it releases on Oct. 30.


  • Ramon Aranda June 9, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Loved Burnout Revenge…with Criterion working on this game, I have a lot of faith.

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