Need for Speed Most Wanted by Criterion Games

It is almost a year since its release, just few weeks before release of another game of series: Need for Speed Rivals, you could ask “WHY?!” and i can answer only one way: Because i can! I adored the game on its release but now, when its price is fairly reasonable i decided to go legit with it and bought the game plus all DLCs.

Need for Speed is controversial series of racing games. Some people love it, others hate it because of various reasons. This time, EA decided to give NFS to Criterion Games studio which done wonderful Hot Pursuit. What is the new Most Wanted? It is city named Fairheaven and in this city Burnout Paradise meets old Most Wanted. A lot of licensed cars, even some less known (Tesla Roadster Sport) and classics which were in previous NFS games (Porsche 911), billboards to smash, open world races, mile stones, car upgrades and much, much more.

Fairheaven is incredibly huge city with very diversified architecture. We can drive through wide and long highways, ride into buildings to jump off roofs, industrial districts, airports, railways, offroad and more. It is really pleasure to just drive a car in Fairheaven.

AI enemies in races are somewhat easy but it is satisfying to race against them. Racing also is very varied, we have different modes of races where we need to achieve proper amount of points to win, there are also speedtrials where you have to not arrive on time to finish but keep good average speed. Of course there are classic single round sprints and circuits with 2 rounds. I’m playing the game since some time and still didn’t check all kinds of races available here. I miss drift competitions known from elder NFS games.

Fairheaven would be a bit boring with just races available in game. In many places you can find billboards to smash through them, speed cameras to compete with your online friends, about 60 cars hidden in 200 spots to find. To complete freedom game lacks only free racing against random drivers the way it was done in Need for Speed Underground 2.

DLCs add new cars, new billboards, new part of town: airport, which is crazy stunt action party. It is so fun to ride there.

Police is all we know from original Most Wanted game: 6 levels, Rhinos, Corvettas with spikestripes and there is something new: SWAT. It is so crazy when you see roadblock made of these armored vehicles or one of them charging on you. Fooling police is not that easy and when you do that with high level cops (4-6) it is very satisfying.

Graphics in game are decent, i like sunshafts effects and changing night and day system. Sounds like in most NFS games are really high quality and every car sounds good, the same goes with environmental sounds, with 5.1 speakers setup it is nice to hear cops behind you and horning civilians in front.

When the game was released it was a bit unoptimized many has changed on this matter. I decided to perform comparison of version 1.0 and final which is 1.5. Launch version didn’t have in-game support for AA, later with patches was added up to 4 samples SSAA method. As AA wasn’t present in mint version of the game so comparison i did only with AA disabled. Game doesn’t have built-in benchmark so I decided to perform just short and IMO good for testing ride through one of available highways, in this video you can see the route:

And here comes output of my benchmark:

You can see significant improvement in performance of game since its release to final version. Just to note, testing hardware was: AMD Phenom II x4 B35 2,9@3,4GHz, 4GB DDR2, Radeon HD7790 1GB, Creative X-Fi Titanium, OCZ ZS550.

Need for Speed Most Wanted redesigned by Criterion Games is pure fun for hundreds of hours, if you do not take racing games too seriously buy it asap, if you are looking for sim, this is not a game for you.


Be aware some tools displaying OSD, for example MSI Afterburner, may conflict with Origin overlay what can make DLC content unavailable in game, before launching the game quit this kind of applications.

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