Career Completion 79%
Pursuits Evaded 66
Fines Due 24,675
Career Completion 79%
Pursuits Evaded 66
Fines Due 24,675
It’s time to look at the next Need For Speed game! One impressive thing about the franchise has always been how long each game is. This is another title that will potentially have you busy for 20+ hours and that’s no small feat. EA really put a lot of heart into this series back in the day so I’m curious if that will continue to be the case as I get close to the end of the game series. Most Wanted brings back all of the good elements from Underground 2 while improving on them. It’s the definitive NFS game so far.
The game starts with you heading into town for some good races. You find the top dog and challenge him to a race. Unfortunately he cheats and steals your car. You now have to rise back up to the top from the bottom with a random car. The problem is that your old car was the best in the world. Defeating that is going to be very difficult. There is one lady in your corner who defends you from the blacklist, but ultimately you’ll have to take down all of the racers if you want your dignity back. Are you ready to challenge these guys or is it curtains for you?
At its core the main gameplay of Most Wanted is naturally racing. You have to beat the other cars to the goal. If we go more in depth, the game has a consistent flow chart of how things work out. To challenge a member of the blacklist (There are 10 people on the blacklist) you have to meet certain criteria. This includes: Complete 6 races, 5 Milestones, and achieve a certain amount of bounty. The races are self explanatory, but there are various types like Drag, Circuit, Sprint, Speed Trap, Lap Knockout, and a Time Attack. They all have differing rules but as long as you drive carefully and quickly you’ll be okay. I personally like Sprint and Speed Trap the most. Just boost at the right times and you’ll be set.
Milestones involve escaping the police and doing some time trials. These start out easy but by the end of the game they are quite difficult. For example, one milestone is to run from the cops for 13 minutes without being caught. You can definitely imagine that this is not very easy. If your car tips over then it’s likely over. There’s also the spike traps that are left out which serve as one hit KO attacks against your car. If you’re hit then it’s all over. The bounty also naturally goes up by destroying cop cars or surviving for a while.
Once you’ve taken down 1 or 2 members of the blacklist you’ll be able to see how the game goes from there. While there aren’t many cutscenes here there are still a few more than in the last game. I imagine that the number should keep going up as you go through the series. The cop takedown videos are pretty fun when you lose although it would be nice if they were skippable. By the end you’ll have seen them many times so they aren’t quite as hype by then.
The graphics are definitely pretty nice. The fact that this game finally takes place in the daytime is cool as it makes for a great contrast during the gameplay. It’s like you’re finally back in a real city. The soundtrack is pretty similar to the last one. At least you are given the option to disable songs you don’t like which is very handy. That is already a pretty big game changer if you ask me. The soundtrack isn’t amazing, but the tempo of the songs certainly fit the races.
There’s a good amount of replay value here. Even after you have beaten the game there are a bunch of races to play. Perhaps not as much as you may think, but certainly enough. You can also just have fun running from the cops for hours. It’s an aspect of the game that won’t get old. Then you’ve also got Challenge Mode which has over 50 things to tackle there. The final challenge is sort of like the final mission in the game as the cops have everyone after you. Don’t think it’ll be easy to evade those guys. This time they’re playing for keeps.
One interesting thing is that you can max out your car before the final two members of the Blacklist show up. You will literally have a car that has all its stat figures maxed out. That means that the final two cars aren’t even worth equipping as they are actually slower than yours. It’s an interesting decision and it was almost a bit odd. Still, I guess it shows that you just have to keep your driving at a high level because at the end they’ll all be matching you. I do recommend trying for the pink slips when you beat the rivals on the blacklist since getting a car is worth the odds.
Also, one thing I liked about the final blacklist race is how the villain appears to cheat which fits with his character. He’ll suddenly vanish from the map and appear in front of you or take a shortcut that you don’t have access to. He beat me once using these cheap tricks. It was cool though because I can’t think of a time a game has done that before and it just makes sense. He cheated the first time, why wouldn’t he do so now? The villain’s name was Razor I believe and while he’s definitely not even a good villain, I did like the voice. It oozed confidence from start to finish.
Overall, Need For Speed Most Wanted is definitely a great title. If you haven’t played a Need For Speed game then I’d say you should certainly start with this one. It’s got the huge hub world from Underground 2, but without the style point grinding. The story also takes more of a focus as you can choose to just do the story battles and go from there. The other games forced you to do a bunch of extra races. Next up is Carbon and I’m interested in seeing how that game is set up. It looks like it might be a bit shorter than these last few, but it’s still Need For Speed so we’ll see about that.
Game Complete 70%
Race record 155-3
Circuit Wins 35
Sprint Wins 28
Drift Wins 25
Drag Wins 17
Street X Wins 26
URL Wins 24
Magazines Won 6/20
DVD Covers Won 10/10
Hidden Shops Found 18/18
Parts Unlocked 100%
Stage 1 Reputation 1,600
Stage 2 Reputation 5,100
Stage 3 Reputation 7,700
Stage 4 Reputation 12,500
Stage 5 Reputation 13,900
It’s time to look at a Need For Speed game that I’ve been working on buying for many years. I beat the first Underground a while back, but I just hadn’t gotten around to buying this one. Well, recently I bought around 6-7 games in the series so now I can go on a little roll. This game was incredibly long so clearing the story was a daunting task, but one that I was prepared for. It’s definitely a great racing game with content that will last you a long time.
The story starts out with a bang as your character is ambushed by someone and your car as well as all of your money is stolen. People don’t remember you without the car so now you’ll have to start from scratch. Fortunately, a rich lady appears and agrees to help you out in exchange for conquering the Underground circuit. You decide to do so with one motive at hand, you want to crush Caleb, the guy who stole your stuff. Can you make it to the top or will he sabotage you before then?
I do like how the game continues from the first with this intro. It’s even a good in universe reason to explain why you’re back at the bottom even if people forgetting your name is a bit of a stretch. Still, the actual premise beats the execution. There aren’t a whole lot of cutscenes in this game and it’s not like the main character ever even appears. The cutscenes are done in comic book format and use moving stills rather than animation. So, the games have some room for improvement in the story, but at least this one did have a real story. I’ll give the title some credit there.
The gameplay is certainly on point. It brings you back to the simpler days of racing as you just drive to the goal using your skills. Eventually you are given the option to add a booster, but that’s as far out as it’ll go. As I’ve mentioned in the past, having a booster isn’t bad. It’s still pure racing and there’s a reason why Need for Speed is so well known. The franchise is just really good at doing what it does best, getting you into the zone. You’ll be dominating the rest of the cars by the end of the game as you master the controls and keep on improving your car.
You better make sure your car is on point because there are over 200 races in the game and if you have to replay all of them a few times to win…then you’re going to be here for a long while. You can clear the game after around 150 races at least, but that’s still a lot. The game is around 20 hours long and 100% completing it will take significantly longer than that. To help ease the repetition you can also go to shops and spruce up your ride a bit. Switching up how it looks should help quite a bit in the long run since it’ll feel like you’re racing an entirely different vehicle.
One thing to watch out for is the game’s visual reputation gimmick. There are 5 stages in the game and to get to the next one you always have to increase your car’s star value. The max is 10 and you typically need to increase it by 2 for every stage. So if you have run out of levels on a stage that is probably why you haven’t been able to go forward yet. Speaking of which, there are several kinds of races. First are the standard Circuit ones. Just drive to the goal to win. Then you have the best ones which are Drift. Just keep on turning to wrack up points and you’ll usually win the races by a rather huge margin to be honest. Street X races are sort of like mini races. You have to out drive the other cars on a very narrow track. Drag races are the toughest ones as you have to manually switch gears at the perfect time to win. The best thing to do is leave these til the end where you can cheese them with your booster.
The races that advance the plot are the URL ones which are typically a series of 2-3 races. Once you beat them then you move on. I do think it’s a little annoying how the game makes the races so long by the end though. Some races can go on for 6-10 minutes straight so when you lose them you’ve just lost a lot of time. I think a good race should always be 3-4 minutes tops. If you get beyond that then the race is too long. It’s almost a case of having too much content, but it’s under the same logic of how save points should be frequent and easy to access.
The graphics definitely look very solid here. It was definitely an interesting move to have the whole game take place at night. Honestly by the end I was hoping for some daylight levels, but the screens still look good. The cars are quite sharp and I always like the boost effect. It’s safe to say that these areas hold up. Unfortunately the soundtrack does not. I ended up having to turn off most of the music themes in the game and the ones that I left on aren’t exactly great. It’s a very weak soundtrack which isn’t all that surprising as EA in general tends to overdo it with their selection. Still, you don’t hear the tunes quite as much when you’re playing Madden and in general I think that series was better at it.
Overall, Need For Speed Underground 2 is a great racing game. You really can’t ask for much more out of the genre. It’s got a story and over 200 races. There is also a multiplayer mode to have fun with. I see this as being the definitive Need For Speed title, but we’ll see if it can hold on to that. Next up is Most Wanted which seems to have a better story and it finally brings in the pursuit mechanics, but it may come at the expense of a multiplayer mode. Either way I’ll start on that one soon, but with Kingdom Hearts III coming out it may take a little longer to complete than I would have expected otherwise. If you haven’t played this game yet then you should change that. It’s definitely a title that you will want up your sleeve.
Total Mileage 1009.14
Total Style Points 1677019
Circuit Races 156
Circuit Wins 47
Circuit Style Points 515009
Sprint Races 67
Sprint Wins 33
Sprint Style Points 117599
Drag Races 290
Drag Wins 27
Drag Style Points 103142
Times Totaled 6
Drift Races 96
Drift Wins 21
Drift Style Points 937847
This is a game that I’ve owned for maybe 5-6 years at this point. It’s certainly been a very long time and I had played it off and on for a few years. Finally, I decided to crack down on it and complete the game once and for all about a month ago. After many races, I finally did manage to take the game down. I can safely say that it’s not perfect and some areas do hurt it, but as a racing game, it is very good.
The plot involves a new racer in town. This is the guy that you play as and he’s ready to move up the ranks. One of the ladies involved in the scene helps to get you ready and gives you intel about the other racers as you move up the ranks. You must become the best racer in every type of race to get to the end. After a lot of races, you are ready to fight the big boss. The main villain is someone who has plagued you for some time so you’ve been waiting for this. There is actually a secret final boss where a mysterious racer shows up and challenges you. The twist of who is inside it is slightly expected as there weren’t many characters in the game, but it’s still pretty neat. It’ll remind you of the final F Zero GX level.
First off, I have to criticize Story Mode. There are 118 levels in the game. That’s a whole lot of levels and while it is always good for a game not to be too short, this is simply overdone. It took me a grand total of 609 races to complete the 118 levels. If they were 118 original levels, that’s one thing, but most of the time you will be racing on the exact same tracks. Over and over again. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were only about 20 tracks given how often it would be the same ones. Sometimes they would be mirrored to try and trick you, but I count that as the same stage.
118 levels is definitely too much if you ask me. The levels are also decently challenging so just around 40-50 would have still made for a decently long game. Again, it took 609 tries for 118 levels, which shows you just how tricky these levels can be. Sometimes I would have to try a level about 30 times and would only end up winning because my opponent would crash and I would take the chance to leap to victory. I did enjoy that part though as a lot of racing games just make the A.I. completely perfect so they never crash into anything. It’s safe to say that this is more realistic as nobody should be able to navigate these levels without crashing or at least banging into the side rails.
Finally, my other negative would be the soundtrack and it’s actually significant enough to take away an entire star. It’s just downright terrible and they’re going for an underground feel. As such, most of the music isn’t enjoyable to listen too and I’m pretty sure that they’re not very appropriate. That being said, the lyrics are hard to hear since the singers are fairly bad and I ended up just turning the music off for most of the races so I would just hear the sound effects. Trust me, it’s not nearly as fun and it’s sad that I had to go that far.
Otherwise, the game is great as a racing title. The actual gameplay is a lot of fun and while there is a slight nitro boost, you’re essentially playing a normal racing game for the most part. That was a lot of fun and the controls are much smoother than Hot Pursuit 2’s. I can see the gameplay getting even better with the newer additions and this is the main reason as to how I could stick with the game throughout so many races. They would get tough as times and I would have to replay levels, but the gameplay was fun enough that I didn’t mind as much as I could have. I only learned about the power braking towards the end though, which is too bad since it would have been very helpful in a lot of the drift levels.
There is a lot of customizing to be done here and it’s typically required to upgrade your car every 20 levels or so. By the time that you are done, your car will be maxed out in just about everything and you’ll be moving at really high speeds. It’s a double edged sword of course as it can be easy to crash and instead of going with the best car, you may want to consider a slower model. I tried that for a while, but then I remembered that I love to go fast so I used the fastest car for the final levels. I’d say that it’s worth it unless the level has a lot of sharp turns.
The graphics are decently good. I definitely like how the levels look as well as the cars. The human designs are the ones that do tend to look a little iffy as they are pretty undetailed, but I suppose that most of the time working on this game was spent on the environments and cars. That would make a lot of sense so it’s all right that the humans don’t look great. The graphics aren’t perfect, but they get the job done and you can typically see the levels clearly although the overall game is pretty dark so you may need to increase the lighting.
This game was quite the adventure and I’ll definitely be enjoying a nice break from it. Once I’m ready to get back in the saddle again, I’ll buy Underground 2. The only problem is that I’ve heard that it has over 200 levels this time. That sounds even more extreme and I can’t say that I’m too enthusiastic about that, but I want to make it to the newer games already so I shall power through it.
Overall, Need For Speed Underground has improved from Hot Pursuit 2. The gameplay is great and that would have usually been enough to have given the game an 8 star rating. The soundtrack held it back along with the tedious story mode. Seriously, no game should take you over 600 races to complete. That’s simply overdone. The difficulty level was good as it was tough to complete the game, but not overly difficult where you will be wondering how the A.I. can move so fast. Some of the levels were a tad long though and I think that they should all be 3 laps at the most instead of 5-6. Let me tell you, replaying a 6 lap race more than once is no picnic. I definitely recommend getting this game if you are looking for a good racing experience, just have your MP3 player by your side during the races. There are some brief cutscenes which is cool, but there aren’t many of them.
It was finally time to watch a film based off of a popular video game series! I own several Need for Speed titles although I’ve only completed one of them so far. I plan on working on the others soon, but I’ve been focusing on my Wii collection a lot. The trailer for this film looked decent and I expected your average blockbuster with a lot of action and a small plot on the side. I basically got what I expected, but I would say that it was a little less entertaining than I would have guessed. Let’s see why this happened!
I believe that one factor is the cast of characters in the film. None of them are really that interesting or likable. Typically, you need either the main character or the main villain to be interesting to keep the film afloat. The supporting characters definitely play a big role in this as well, but none of them turn out to be very good. I’ll discuss each of the main characters now.
Tobey is the main character and after a tricky race where his bro dies, he decides to avenge him by racing in another race against the murderer. A noble goal, but I could not bring myself to like Tobey. Even before the Pete incident, Tobey never really talks and he always seems pretty gruff. Whenever he talks, it’s hard to hear him because he’s basically mumbling. He also gives Julia a hard time for the majority of the film. He does have emotional reasons to keep to himself of course, but it’s not very fun for the viewer. I found myself missing Alex Hopper from Battleship and that’s never a good thing.
Another problem is that Tobey’s supposed to be an elite driver. He does do pretty well on the track, but it’s a mix of luck and skill. At one point, he’s in the lead, but he seems to be taking it easy. The racer in third is only unable to pass him because the second place racer is holding him back. They have identical cars so Tobey should have been able to win without help. In the end, Tobey just wasn’t charismatic.
Dino is the main villain of the film. He has quite the reputation since the heroes don’t want to work with him from the get go. It actually makes them all look pretty bad for a while since the deal seemed to be pretty good. Of course, Dino quickly showed his true colors during the race. He only cares about the win and he’ll smash anyone out of his way. That’s basically his character arc. I thought that he was the leader of a mob or something, but he’s just a mean person. He’s pretty rich and he is a good driver, but not as good as he claims. Dino’s a pretty generic villain, but at least he has a cool car. He needs to win one more race to get all the money that he needs..but will he be able to do it? It’s going to be rough!
Julia is the main heroine and she knows how to drive, which is always a good thing. Her accent is always underestimated since the others seem to think that it is fake, but she always gets them to see the truth. She does have a really generic moment where she shows that she’s actually an expert in car manufacturing. Why was she pretending not to be smart before that scene? I guess she just wanted to mess with the heroes. Her plan was a little tricky since I definitely wouldn’t trust Tobey and friends to make it through their adventure in one piece. She definitely ends up helping out a lot, but her riches could be better spent at home with her PS4.
Benny easily has the biggest role from all of Tobey’s partners. He gives them a tough time because they refuse to call him by his true airborne name. (Maverick) He definitely takes the most risks as he has to keep stealing Helicopters from various places. The military, the news, etc. How does he get away with it? Plot convenience I suppose. He’s definitely a step up from the other members.
Monarch is the head honcho behind the underground races. He talks a good game and he seems to know what’s up. He’s an expert on the cars and he always calls the shots. He takes everything in stride because he’s never really in any danger. The cops have yet to find out about his show and nobody can find him. He just hosts the races and watches as everyone is taken out. He’s a pretty amusing announcer.
Anita is a character that the film seemed to forget after a while. Based off of one of the first scenes, it was easy to imagine that she would have some kind of role. Instead, her character arc is shoved to the side and she’s basically written out of the movie. She appears towards the end for her big moment, but it’s a little too little too late. Not to mention that she really should have been a little more suspicious about the mysterious circumstances around Pete’s demise.
Pete is a decent character I suppose. He doesn’t really know when to stop talking though and nearly costs his team everything. He kept on insulting the main villain when he knew that a lot of money was on the line. Finally, he was goaded into racing…and I’m pretty sure we know how that ends. Pete wasn’t a really bad character, but he definitely wasn’t the smartest one out there. If he had played his cards right, things could have turned out a lot differently. (Assuming Dino would keep his word in the first place)
Finn is another member of Tobey’s crew and he’s easily the worst character in the film. His scenes are downright cringe worthy. His worst scene is when he decides to quite his job. To do this, he strips down and makes sure to humiliate anyone. Where are the cops? The place looks like a very fancy establishment and I’m sure that security would be present. They should have taken him down before he even had time to leave the building. That’s really what should have happened. Finn doesn’t add anything to the plot and his attempts at humor really fall flat. He definitely didn’t do the film any favors.
Joe’s probably the most bland member of the team. He doesn’t really get a lot of character development. He’s the first guy to go and help Tobey so that’s something. He was really just there and I can’t say that he was a good character or a bad one. Things wouldn’t have really changed if he had not been in the film since his role was so small. Better to be non existent than to be another Finn I suppose.
You can definitely see that I did not care for the cast. Another factor that weakens them is the fact that they act like the characters from a horror film. They constantly use swear words in just about every sentence. It’s mostly because of where they’re from and they’re just used to it, but it can still be pretty annoying to hear. You hear it almost every second….nooooo.
Another weak point of the film is the acting and the romance. I never really comment on the acting, but it was pretty bad. Particularly Tobey’s acting and Julia’s at some points. Let’s throw Finn in there as well. The romance was also pretty unnecessary. It pops up out of nowhere between Tobey and Julia. I guess she admires his racing skills, but that’s no excuse to just fall for him. We have a really wince worthy scene where they both stare at each other for a really long time and you’ll want to glance at your watch. There’s also a really terrible scene between Finn and one of his co-workers. That kind of thing is not funny and not realistic either. The other members of the staff should have stepped in or at least beat Finn up.
The car chase scenes were still pretty good. There was a bunch of plot hax in them though. I don’t believe that they would be beating up on the police like this. At the very least, they would be arrested as soon as they stopped. They were visually interesting though and who doesn’t like to see cars going at such speeds? The games handle it in a much better way, but a film can only do so much anyway. As mentioned earlier, the helicopter snagging is a really big stretch for disbelief. The cops should have known about it pretty much instantly.
One more thing that should be noted the racing through traffic scenes. Of course, it happens in the games so it must happen in the film. It still doesn’t make all that much sense while you’re watching it though because the heroes should have been down for the count several times. You simply can’t weave through traffic like that and not get bumped or hit a bunch of times. They were a little too lucky here.
The soundtrack is really nonexistent, which is too bad. Car scenes should really have a good theme going. Just look at Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. The chase scenes have really good themes and it helps you appreciate just how cool they are. A soundtrack is always something that should be added to make things fun.
Overall, This film was decent I suppose. It’s not the kind of film that I would ever want to watch again, but I wouldn’t call it a downright bad film. Considering the type of film that it was, Need For Speed should have been a lot better. Using some effects from Speed Racer may have helped since that one had better race scenes. A 5 may be a little generous, but I think it’s a decent rating for a film. I don’t really recommend it, but I wouldn’t stand in the way of it either. If you don’t mind the language and you’re ready to see some races, then you may not mind the film. Just know that the film drags on for a while since it’s so long and that the characters are pretty unlikable. With that in mind, it’s your choice on whether you want to see this one. I would sooner recommend Speed Racer or Final Fantasy VII Advent Children for chase scenes!