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Criterion photo
EA showed off a very early prototype
Criterion's Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit was one of my favorite games of the last console generation, so the news that the team is working on a brand new IP that goes beyond racing is really exciting. At EA's press conference...

#EA@E3 photo
#EA@E3

EA has Mirror's Edge 2 & a new game from Criterion at E3


#EA@E3
Jun 04
// Steven Hansen
This GameTrailers E3 schedule breaks down a bunch of stuff that's happening next week. Under EA, you'll find, "nearly a half-dozen new games, including updates on Mirror's Edge, Dragon Age: Inquisition, a new project from Cri...
New studio photo
New studio

Former Criterion Games founders start Three Fields Entertainment


Looking to self-publish
Mar 05
// Jordan Devore
Criterion Games co-founders Fiona Sperry and Alex Ward have started another venture after moving on from the studio behind Burnout and more recently Need for Speed. The new company, Three Fields Entertainment, has a site up a...
Free DLC photo
Free DLC

Burnout Paradise 'Legendary Cars Collection' free today


In honor of Harold Ramis
Feb 26
// Jordan Devore
Criterion has made the Legendary Cars Collection DLC for Burnout Paradise free today on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (in North America) in memory of actor, writer, and director Harold Ramis. The pack contains four vehicles all ...

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Criterion co-founders Ward and Sperry leave studio


Starting fresh, Ward says
Jan 03
// Dale North
"Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry have decided to leave EA," a spokesperson told Polygon this morning. Welp. I'd drop some joke about how they were burned out, but that's been taken already. Ward and Sperry co-founded Criterion Gam...
Need for Speed photo
Need for Speed

Here's Need for Speed Rivals on next-gen consoles


Could've fooled me
Nov 08
// Jordan Devore
I was late to Criterion Games' Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit but ended up liking it a fair amount. Setting up traps and utterly decimating vehicles in the name of justice didn't grow old, although the times when you weren't pl...
Need for Speed photo
Need for Speed

There's a rivalry in the Need for Speed: Rivals trailer


On the highway to hell
Oct 30
// Abel Girmay
Cops vs. robbers -- but which is good or evil? Whoa. Philosophy, I think. While the Need for Speed series' more recent entries have been hit or miss, there's always a part of me willing to take a crack at the next one. Rival...
Criterion photo
Criterion

Criterion Games is down to 15 people


But that's not cause for concern
Sep 16
// Jordan Devore
I love Burnout. Many of you love Burnout. The series doesn't appear to be going anywhere, thankfully, but its creator Criterion Games is currently working on an altogether different project. Writing on Twitter, creative direc...
Need for Speed Rivals photo
Need for Speed Rivals

Worlds collide in Need for Speed Rivals


It's all about All Drive
Jun 13
// Wesley Ruscher
Autolog is perhaps the single most addicting gameplay mechanic to hit the Need for Speed series to date. In Rivals, autolog is back and promised to be bigger and better than ever. That said, it's not even what has most blown ...
Need for Speed Rivals photo
Need for Speed Rivals

Need for Speed Rivals blurs single-player and multiplayer


single-player races can turn into multiplayer pursuits
Jun 10
// Fraser Brown
EA showcased the open world of Need for Speed Rivals, where players can suddenly join races that can turn into pursuits -- with both the cops and the racers being controlled by players. With the All Drive mechanic, a single-...
Need for sequels photo
Need for sequels

Criterion is moving away from racing games and sequels


Creative director says next game will not be a Need for Speed, Burnout, or Black sequel
Apr 15
// Allistair Pinsof
Criterion creative director Alex Ward has had enough with floating rumors, so he's taken to Twitter to debunk speculation that his team is working on a Need for Speed or Burnout sequel. In addition, he said his next game won'...
NFS Most Wanted U photo
NFS Most Wanted U

Feeling the Rush in Need For Speed: Most Wanted U


Smooth like butta'
Mar 30
// Casey Baker
After smashing a few hundred cars and winning a fair share of brutal races in the hours of time spent in Need For Speed: Most Wanted for the Xbox 360, I was more than happy for the opportunity to check out the recently releas...
Most Wanted DLC photo
Most Wanted DLC

Need for Speed Heroes, Movie Legends DLC out today


A huge day for Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Feb 26
// Keith Swiader
In addition to today's release of the Terminal Velocity expansion pack for Need for Speed: Most Wanted, two new themed car packs are also available: Need for Speed Heroes and Need for Speed Movie Legends. The Heroes pack...

'Terminal Velocity' is Most Wanted's new playground

Feb 26 // Keith Swiader
Terminal Velocity introduces the Hughes International Airport to Fairhaven City, an airport which was built to include an insane amount of jumps, drift opportunities, and 40 billboards to smash. It also includes "136 new multiplayer milestones, 10 new multiplayer speedlists, and eight new achievements."  "This is our biggest pack, in which we're adding five new cars and a massive chunk of world that we've done post-release," said Chris Roberts, senior game designer. "And the five cars you get in the pack are designed to ease you into driving this environment -- probably one of the most complicated environments in the world, but it's all about discovery." The five new rides are the Porsche 918 Spyder 2013, BMW 1 Series M Coupe 2012, Audi RS3 2012, Ford Fiesta ST 2012 and Alfa Romeo Mito QV 2012. New mods, including Jump Nitrous, which allows you to boost in mid-air, and drift tires, will also be available. Adding said drift tires to your ride will prove useful for Terminal Velocity's new drift attack modes, which pay homage to prior Need for Speed games including Underground and Carbon, Roberts said, as well as the drifting found in the Project Gotham series. During Drift Attack, physical markers are placed throughout courses -- as opposed to flares found in Carbon -- and you'll rack up score multipliers depending on how well you make the turn and how close to the markers you get without hitting them. In turn, hitting a cone will ruin your score multiplier. "We wanted something physical in the world in which the player had to be skillful in avoiding," Roberts explained.  Another new mode is Smash and Grab, which was designed to show the open nature of Most Wanted's world. Score multipliers are scattered throughout drift paths and jumps, and you're to find the route best you can to snatch up as many points as possible. Picking up a score multiplier placed near a billboard will take you off a path and you'll have to find your way back into a groove. "It's not possible to hit every single one in the time limit," Roberts said. "You need to find the route which suits your driving style best and the mods in which you have on your car." All of the existing cars will also be able to compete in the new events found in Terminal Velocity. Lastly, a free update will accompany Terminal Velocity's release, one that enhances Most Wanted's night scenery with a more realistic look and an emphasis on tweaking the headlights, as well as adds the new ram chassis mod. "In classic Criterion style, we're being generous," Roberts said. Terminal Velocity is available today on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for 1200 Microsoft Points, or $14.99. It will release on Origin March 13. Two additional themed expansions are available today, as well: Need for Speed Movie Legends and Need for Speed Heroes. Last week, we took a look at Need for Speed: Most Wanted on Wii U, which ships with the Ultimate Speed Pack -- Most Wanted's first add-on. When asked if Terminal Velocity would ever see a release on Nintendo's console, Roberts offered hope. "Since we started the DLC alongside the development of the Wii U version [of Most Wanted], we are perfectly capable of doing it, but we'll see how the Wii U version goes."
Most Wanted DLC photo
Fairhaven City has clear skies today
Criterion Games is a company known for releasing substantial post-release content for its titles.  This statement is no more apparent than with the studio's last Burnout title, Burnout Paradise, which not only saw substa...

Xbox 360 photo
Xbox 360

New Xbox 360 320GB HD will include three full games


Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Pinball FX, and Ms. Splosion Man
Feb 21
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
There's going to be a new Xbox 360 320GB hard drive on sale this March for $129.99, and it's going to include three full games with it. The included titles are Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Ms. Splosion Man, and Pinball FX2 wi...

Most Wanted marks Criterion Games' return to Nintendo

Feb 20 // Keith Swiader
"It's very important to us that when people see 'Criterion' on our software. They know we've approached it with craftsmanship and passion," Ward said. That was the mantra behind Most Wanted's development on Wii U, with Ward adding the team made sure they included every possible form of play for Most Wanted on the platform, including: GamePad (and off-TV) support, gyroscopic capability, pro controller support, Wiimote and nunchuck controls, as well as steering wheel functionality. "The Wii U is one of those systems where, once you get hands-on, it really starts to make sense." Need for Speed: Most Wanted on Wii U is also the best looking of all the console versions, Ward said, as the Wii U version was able to use all of the assets found in the PC version. "We developed our game on Wii U after the hardware released, so we're able to understand the hardware," Ward explained. "Last year as a developer at E3, I wasn't quite sure what the hardware was about. I didn't really get the chance to get hands-on, and the Wii U is one of those systems where, once you get hands-on, it really starts to make sense." One of the questions Criterion asked themselves at the start of Most Wanted's development on Wii U was how they would utilize the system's GamePad to its fullest and create a unique experience. The result is Co-Driver mode. Internally thought of as a "father and son" mode, Co-Driver sees one player racing through the game using either a pro controller or any other control option while the second player assists using the GamePad. With the GamePad, the second player can do actions including changing the time of day, pointing out billboard locations, helping evade the police, changing the current vehicle's color, and more. It's a way to get the second person in the room involved with the game, no matter who they may be, as well as making the game easier and more accessible for them. "Wii U is best enjoyed, we see, with people together," Ward said. "It's all about looking at the hardware and playing to its strengths," Ward said. Most Wanted on Wii U will ship complete with full online capabilities, though with six-player support as opposed to eight players on other platforms, as well as full Miiverse support. Shipping the game with online was something Ward said the team made sure they did, and is another reason why the game is seeing a Wii U release months after that of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Voice-chat via the GamePad's microphone is also supported. "We'll see how the online audience on the Wii U is going to develop," Ward said. "I think for a lot of consumers out of the box, it'll be that around-the-TV experience that Nintendo tends to do very, very well." Future iterations of Need for Speed on Wii U should see a same-day release as the other consoles, Ward told me, since the studio now knows the hardware. "Fantastic hardware [the Wii U], I love it," Ward ended. "It really got me back into Nintendo software." Need for Speed: Most Wanted will release on Wii U March 19 in North America, and March 21 in Europe. Most Wanted's downloadable add-on, Ultimate Speed Pack, will also be included. 
Most Wanted photo
Vice President Alex Ward discusses tailoring to Wii U's strengths
Need for Speed: Most Wanted will be the first Criterion Games title to release on Nintendo hardware since Burnout 2: Point of Impact on the GameCube back in 2002. Alex Ward, Criterion Games Vice President, said that's be...

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Storm's Adventure with Need for Speed: Most Wanted


BMW is Not British Edition
Feb 01
// Storm Dain
Damn, I knew this was going to happen. New Super Mario Bros. U proved to be entertaining and distracting. I guess this is "Playing Catch Up to the Catch Up". In continuation of "Playing Catch Up", my next upload was Nee...
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Need for Speed Most Wanted demo up on Xbox Live, PSN


Earn points usable in the full game
Nov 13
// Jordan Devore
Having spent countless hours messing around in the wonderful multiplayer component of Burnout Paradise, I'm totally sold on what the studio brought to the table with Need for Speed Most Wanted. Some of you, on the other hand ...

Review: Need for Speed Most Wanted

Oct 30 // Dale North
Need for Speed Most Wanted (Xbox 360 [reviewed], PlayStation 3, PC, PlayStation Vita)Developer: Criterion GamesPublisher: Electronic ArtsRelease: October 30, 2012 (North America) / November 2, 2012 (Europe) If you couldn't tell, I'm really into the multiplayer side of Need for Speed Most Wanted. I'm out for blood most times, especially if you've wronged me. The single-player side of the game has you taking down ten of Fairhaven's baddest drivers -- the Most Wanted -- to become one yourself. But in multiplayer, they're out and your friends are in, making for a much more enticing experience. With every pedal to the floor, everyone speeds to be the first in a shuffled mix of events where the rules are uncommonly loose and winning takes multiple forms.  You'll race, speed through checkpoints, jump off ramps, and more to earn the most Speed Points in multiplayer. Free racing (and crashing) around the city takes place between events that pop up in a random playlist. When the next event comes up, all of up to 8 players are notified of a meet-up point, and all can race to this point for bonus Speed Points. When everyone arrives and is ready, the game counts down to an event, and as it begins, event objectives are given on a ticker. Until this point, no one has any idea of what objective will come up next, which gives Most Wanted's multiplayer a sort of free-for-all feeling.  Most of the events in the playlist are standard races where everyone will speed through checkpoints scattered over Fairhaven to be the first to cross the final checkpoint. The city is packed with sharp turns, perilous intersections, live traffic, jumping ramps, and countless obstacles, all working together to make races more gratifying than what you might find in a sim racer.  Similarly, team races have all players divided up into two teams, with the win going to the team that has the highest number of points, based on placement. In both standard and team races, being an asshole pays off. More on that later. [embed]237449:45566[/embed] Other events have you crossing a set point to pull in the top recorded speed or jumping off ramps to earn the most air time before the clock runs down. Drifting, takedowns and other challenges will also pop up in the playlists. One of the craziest ones has all cars fighting to find out how to get to a single point in the city, and then staying there for as long as possible until a clock runs down, with the top time on the clock taking first prize. Most of these locations are far above street level, requiring players to figure out how to get from street level, with many requiring the use of ramps and high speed starts. Things become more interesting when multiple cars try to camp the same point. In the best matches, lots of pushing and crashing takes place. The player with the most points at the end of the playlist is the technical winner, but what makes Most Wanted so great is that the multiplayer experience is stuffed with opportunities for small, unofficial victories. Sure, you may not have technically won the most Speed Points, but a particularly good lap or a brutal takedown may feel even better than taking first place. In multiplayer, everything from tight passing to taking a corner feels rewarding; even driving haphazardly and way too fast has its moments. Even last place had a good time here. One of the key things that makes multiplayer in Most Wanted so engaging is that your cars are fully disposable and instantly replenishable. Porsches, Maseratis, Ferraris and other cars that would normally be considered priceless can be found all over the city and can be immediately claimed with the press of a button. No money, credits, or ranking are required so even the most expensive car in this game costs nothing. And with the crash-y gameplay of Most Wanted, they're made junkers regularly, but they can be instantly repaired to brand new by driving the battered piece of junk through Fairhaven's gas stations. Takedowns, which happen when your car is completely wrecked by another player's collision, carry little penalty as cars respawn immediately after the crash animation. They may be beat up or missing wheels, but you can still make it to the next gas station. Or at least go kamikaze and crash someone else off the road. With just about every car being the fastest and most powerful thing on the road, and all of them being free and instantly replenishable, it's like Criterion is encouraging you to be an asshole. That's the true magic of Most Wanted. 'Nice guys finish last' has never been more true. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that even the best driver won't stand a chance against your typical asshole. Perfect racing lines and exact cornering mean nothing when you're slammed directly into the concrete of an on-ramp. And really, the steering and cornering in Most Wanted isn't that great anyway, so you're better served learning how to best take others down. You'll have the best time in multiplayer by not worrying too much about your driving precision, instead spending more time making sure that you've done everything else possible to be the first across that finish line. Anything goes. It's like the biggest, flashiest, messiest game of bumper cars ever. For as fun as multiplayer is, it's not perfect. I touched on the steering and cornering control earlier, which sometimes feels iffy and slow -- the total opposite of the tight and precise feeling you'd expect in a racer. The control is forgivable for arcade style racing, but may be a little bit too loose and wiggly even for that standard. Beyond this, there isn't much of a difference between the feeling of any of the wide variety of cars, other than limits on speed and cornering.  Bigger cars may be able to take more damage, and faster cars may be able to lock in better times on speed traps, but for the most part they're all really similar. You're going to find a car you like and stick with it because it doesn't really matter that much.  Most Wanted's HUD, in both multiplayer and single-player, is lousy, and often obnoxious. Placement indicators are crammed in the very upper-left and right-hand corners of the screen, forcing players to take their eyes off the race completely. I can't tell you how many times I've crashed trying to check my ranking mid-race. The game's ticker, placed at the bottom of the screen, is so small and far away from the action that racers that look at it are at a disadvantage. In contrast, notices of points earned, placement and other messages are displayed in the dead center of the screen, blocking the action. They stay on the screen for far too long, too.  The game's map is the worst of all. It's small, terribly placed, and frequently disorienting. The placement of your car on this map is so close to the top of its display that it barely serves the player anyway. In going at any respectable speed, there's a high chance you'll pass your next turn before you see it on the map. How can you tell what road you're headed toward when the map doesn't show it yet? I've lost count of how many times it sent me into oncoming traffic. If the in-game GPS were a real-world unit, any driver would have thrown it out the window on the first day of use.  I've focused on the multiplayer side of Most Wanted in this review because I believe that most players will spend the majority of their time playing this mode. Let's be clear: the multiplayer in Most Wanted is so outrageously fun that I'd recommend this even without a single-player mode.  While there's no real storyline in the single player game, there's at least something of a path toward completion with the ten Most Wanted racers, which you'll take on each of eventually as you work your way up in Speed Point count. The game initially drops you in a Porsche and lets you drive around and take on challenges at your leisure to earn points.  The city of Fairhaven is a huge sandbox full of varied raceways and challenges that you're free to tackle at your own pace. The game's EasyDrive menu, mapped to the controller's directional buttons, makes the world a bit easier to navigate through instant access to any acquired cars, available modifications, and available races and challenges. All of this is accessible at any time, even during races.  The top item in the EasyDrive menu connects to a player's Autolog. This system, which debuted in Hot Pursuit, automatically tracks and compares top race times, progression and other achievements against all connected friends. Autolog alerts are announced when records are broken. This event becomes a selectable challenge, which can be acted upon through EasyDrive at any time. Accepting and beating one of these grants Speed Points.  As you drive in these challenges and free exploration, you'll find other cars that you can jump into, opening up even more car-specific challenges. After a certain point, you'll reach a Speed Point threshold that unlocks a race against one of the Most Wanted drivers. Beating them lets you take their car as your own and beating each of the car's specific challenges lets you upgrade it with perks, like reinforced bodies, better tires, nitro, and more. When you reach the next Speed Point mark, a new Most Wanted race opens up. Beat all ten and you become the Most Wanted yourself. The problem with these Most Wanted races is that they are so scripted that having to run through a race a second time is disappointing, as you start to see how it all lays out. Even some of the standard races feel scripted sometimes. Traffic seems to pop up in the same places, as do takedowns and police pursuits. In multi-car races, opponents seem to catch up to you or cut you off at about the same place. Beyond the first playthrough of these races, nothing feels very organic or believable which makes crashing and wiping out even more frustrating.  At first, the wreck replays are fun, but the fun quickly stops. These animations show your car crushing and tumbling in slow motion, like in an action movie. The problem is that they're a bit too long and you're not able to skip them. Even in the heat of a key race, you'll have to watch your car slowly tumble around while you know other cars are zooming by. Players have no indication of their placement until this mandatory animation completes.  Imagine coming out of an accidental crash, disoriented, and then finally finding your place and ranking, only to be pushed back into another crash animation. It's absolutely maddening. I can't tell you how many times I swore off playing this game any further after watching one too many consecutive crash animations.  These races are challenging enough on their own but adding police pursuits to the mix jacks the challenge to an even higher level. Of course, if you're speeding, Fairhaven's finest will want to pull you over. Bump into one during the heat of a race and they're immediately on your tail. It's possible to break away from police pursuit by driving really fast, or by hiding, but it rarely works out that way.  There are six heat levels that the game steps through if you can't break away, ranging from a mild one car chase to full-force coordinated ram fest, complete with roadblocks, SWAT vehicles and tire-busting strips. Get caught (or wrecked) and become Busted. But, if you manage to break away from a level six heat, you'll earn massive SP rewards. These police pursuits walk the line between fun and frustrating. Getting away from a chase feels great, but being busted after 30 minutes or more of high-pressure driving and dodging really wears on you. There are a few technical issues that won't break the game, but do mar the experience a bit. I found the Xbox 360 version's framerate to be lacking in spots and quite stuttery in others. Cutscenes have issues with smoothness with even the opening movie showing jumps and pauses. Hiccups happen during transitions in and out of races, too. The PS3 version is a bit more smooth as far as framerate goes, but I encountered a few game-stopping crashes instead. Both versions won't let you shut off controller rumble and have issues with music settings; if you shut the music off, it will still randomly pop up in places.  Even with all of the smaller issues I've listed for Most Wanted, it's hard to stay mad at it.  I like how the game constantly reminds you that you're becoming too serious. I found that I would check myself during one of the game's crazy cutscenes or race introductions. One has a pyramid of a dozen or so cop cars stacked, rolling at you in unison, lights and sirens on. They somehow turn into a rotating tornado of cars before the pursuit starts. It's as if they're saying that realism and structure were never a consideration. I like that. It's the same situation with the multiplayer side of the game. The aforementioned issues and lack of any kind of regulations on starting a race makes for events that never really feel like they have structure; you're just part of a rowdy free-for-all. But when you embrace that and stop getting hung up on the details, you really start having fun. Most Wanted encourages you to cut corners, to be a cheater, and to bring out your inner road rage. You're missing the point if you don't realize this. Fans of Criterion's previous games were clear in what they wanted, and in turn, Criterion themselves were clear in what they were making. There are some scrapes with single-player and a lack of polish here and there, but the multiplayer delivers in such a big way that all of this hardly matters. Need for Speed Most Wanted is that big, crazy, crash-y open-world racer you've been asking for. 
Most Wanted Review photo
Need for Speed Most Wanted
Go ahead. Ram me off the road. It's cool. I'm not mad. I realize that it's part of the experience and fair game. We're good, man. But don't get mad if you find that I've intentionally given up placement in the next challenge ...

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Burnout and possibly Road Rash are in Criterion's future


Be still, my heart!
Oct 17
// Jordan Devore
Speaking to The Guardian, Need for Speed Most Wanted creative director Craig Sullivan divulged what many of us were hoping: "There's still a lot of stuff we want to do with driving. We will make another Burnout game at some p...
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Here's some sweet NFS Most Wanted multiplayer footage


Vroom vroom
Oct 12
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Look, I could give you a rundown of everything that's said in this new Need for Speed Most Wanted trailer. Or, you know, you can just watch it. You really should watch it, as it shows off just how awesome and frantic the mul...

Preview: Need for Speed Most Wanted

Oct 12 // Dale North
Need for Speed Most Wanted (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, PlayStation Vita)Developer: Criterion GamesPublisher: Electronic ArtsRelease: October 30, 2012 (North America) / November 2, 2012 (Europe) The fictional city of Fairhaven takes all of Criterion's favorite American cities and mashes them up into one big locale, so you'll feel like you're in San Francisco one moment, and in New York the next. It's quite large, and pretty varied as far as backdrops and set pieces are concerned, but it's a city that you quickly get a feel for, which comes in handy when you're up against several other batshit crazy drivers in a multiplayer match. Criterion did a great job with the city, packing it full of obstacles, ramps, tricky turns and satisfying straightaways to go nuts on.  This big racing sandbox is completely open to exploration in the game's single-player mode, and is structured so that you can jump into a race or challenge at any time. A tap on the d-pad lets you operate a quick menu that has several challenges to pick from. Choose one and you're given a waypoint to drive toward to start the next race.   You'll want to keep your eyes peeled during your drive, as the parked cars of Most Wanted are free for the taking. Instead of racing to earn or unlock new vehicles, anything you find is yours to drive and add to your collection. By simply pulling up next to one and pressing a button, you'll transfer cars instantly. With this new ride comes a brand new set of races to choose from, tailored specifically to the vehicle type. And that's basically how it works -- drive, find something new, race, earn experience, upgrade your car, repeat. It's a rules-free automotive playhouse to get lost in, and there's really nothing in the way of a storyline or ending, save for the Most Wanted racers. The Most Wanted is the name given to the group of ten elite drivers and their cars. These are special races centered around high-end cars that you'll have to take on in a head-to-head race to move up the ranks. Defeating the car/driver lets you add that vehicle to your garage as well as opens the door to being able to take on the next highest-ranked Most Wanted. These races are the type where the AI is tweaked so that they're just a little bit faster than you. They always know the road better, corner better, and accelerate faster. And they get progressively more annoying as you work up the ranks. I found that the game's many standard races and challenges were much more fun, as they seemed more natural and less scripted. Of course, you're free to skip over these Most Wanted events and continue exploring and racing at your leisure, but if you've already initiated a match with one of them, you'll randomly see them spawn nearby, zip past, and taunt you back into a race.  You are also 'wanted'...by the cops. Speeding about town is going to catch the attention of Fairhaven's finest, which will have them trailing you around town to pull you over. At their least aggressive, they'll tail you with a single car, and you'll probably be able to evade them by speeding off or pulling over. But at the higher levels of "heat," you'll find that dozens of cars are out to smash you to pieces, driving at you with full ramming intent. When the tire strips come out, you know you're screwed. In one session, I spent more than 25 minutes trying to get away from the fuzz, with the pressure escalating to a point where my heart rate had increased noticeably. I was actually sweating! The cops are overbearing, and you'll want to punch your television when you get busted, but breaking away feels like a victory. Working your way out of a high-level heat is exhilarating.   Thankfully, Need for Speed Most Wanted's multiplayer is free of pesky AI challengers. Instead, rage at real people as they circle around you, slingshot by you, and plow into you. It's a crazy free-for-all that is so much fun, I still can't stop thinking about it. In fact, after one full day of multiplayer sessions at this press event, I dreamed that night of racing, ramping, and wrecking. For those who played Burnout Paradise and were hoping for more of this kind of madness, I can confirm that you're going to love Most Wanted.  The racing action lies firmly in the arcade-y camp, with going fast being your only real priority. While you're out there with friends, you're best off never slowing down, or you'll be left behind. Feel free to bulldoze lamp posts, signage, and even other racers and pedestrians -- no one will fault you for it. See a friend? T-bone him in half -- and get points! Everything about how the multiplayer is built encourages you to be a fast-driving, car-clipping asshole, and that's what makes it great.  Our multiplayer session had the game randomly throwing out race challenges somewhere in the city at irregular intervals, breaking up free-cruising bouts. From the moment that the waypoint is set, all players race to that point to meet and begin the next event, with the first one there earning bonus points. The large, clear waypoints are nice, as they're easily visible in the sky above the city, but the on-screen mini map is practically useless for navigating the city, so you shouldn't take it too hard if you end up being last to the meeting point.  From that meeting point, anything can happen. You could all be thrown into a point-to-point race, or a top-speed competition. I really enjoyed the ramp/jump contests, which had us driving to areas where you could use the landscape to figure out how to jump over bridges and other obstacles. These are also party games that have less to do with racing and more to do with being a crazy stunt driver in a really expensive car.  But for as much fun as Multiplayer is, I couldn't shake that matches never felt fully competitive. Maybe that was because no one was ever on a level playing field with all the different vehicle types available. And with matches starting spontaneously, vehicles at the starting point may not even be facing the same direction. Cars that happen to be pointed in the right direction -- or ones that are closer to the waypoint -- had a head start.   I think the lack of an official starting line is a good thing. When you're really just out to drive like a maniac with your friends, it seems silly to nitpick over small details like this. Leave the details to the racing sims. Need for Speed Most Wanted is best enjoyed in the way you would a Mario Kart match; it's sufficiently competitive, but in a very relaxed way.  Again, if you wanted an arcade racer along the lines of Burnout Paradise, this is it. Criterion has focused on pure fun for this open-world driving sandbox, ditching simulations, realism, and even story lines. The single-player mode is enjoyable, but multiplayer is where it's at.
Most Wanted photo
It's what you Wanted
Criterion says that they pulled some of the best bits from several of their racing creations to make their latest, Need for Speed Most Wanted. They also gathered inspiration from the classic franchise title of the same name. ...

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Super smexy Need For Speed: Most Wanted trailer


Sep 25
// Daniel Starkey
So ... Burnout is awesome. Always has been, always will be. And while it is true that we haven't seen a true game from that franchise in a while, Criterion has been doing its best to bring all of the insane, anarchic fun we ...
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A look at Need for Speed Most Wanted's single-player


Sep 18
// Jordan Devore
In this video, we're given a feature-by-feature rundown of Need for Speed Most Wanted's single-player campaign. It's the kind of stuff that won't really seem new if you've been keeping up with Criterion Games' work over the ...
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Need for Speed Most Wanted: Find it and drive it


Aug 28
// Dale North
Man, I wish it was like this in real life. I see cars that I want all the time but all I can do is make a childish grabbing motion in the air, as if I could just whine and someone would give it to me for doing so. That's why...

gamescom: NFS Most Wanted Kinect, Vita features detailed

Aug 16 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
With the Vita, Criterion was determined to bring the console experience over to the handheld. The whole open world, all the cars, the multiplayer -- it's all there just like the console/PC versions. The only sacrifices that have been made is that the multiplayer is limited to four players instead of 12, and some races will see one less AI competitor involved. Visually the game was looking great. Not as pretty as the other versions, but still impressive on the Vita. Criterion is also shooting for 30 frames per second for all versions of the game. Autolog will also tie together the Vita and PlayStation 3 versions. You can earn XP on the go, and then see that applied to the PS3 version.  The console versions in general just looks gorgeous. I know it's not a Burnout, but I will miss the total destruction that comes with crashing cars. Cars can smash into each other, causing them to get disabled until respawn still, and they do get somewhat dinged up. Just nothing as crazy as Burnout Paradise. It's a minor issue for me in any case. Most Wanted is everything Burnout Paradise was and so much more. It's about getting into the action fast, and always trying to stay on top amongst your friends. 
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Need For Speed Most Wanted is such a fun racing game. Criterion has created a perfect racing experience that's just jam packed with a ton of content. There's so much content that Kinect might actually make itself u...

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It's like this Most Wanted trailer is having a seizure


Aug 04
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Hey, remember the awesome video showing off a great deal of Need For Speed Most Wanted? Well here's a new trailer that's made up of a bunch of quick cuts and weird shots. I still recommend watching this as there are a few sc...
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I need Need For Speed Most Wanted in my life right now


Aug 01
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Yeah, so we're a little late on this but that's not going to stop me from posting this video showing off Need For Speed Most Wanted. Just look at it! The open world racer is combining Burnout Paradise's style of racing with ...
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Need for Speed: Most Wanted pre-order bonuses detailed


Jul 16
// Jordan Devore
Electronic Arts and Criterion Games have come out with the pre-order incentives for this year's Need for Speed: Most Wanted. By putting money down early at participating retailers, you'll get three free packs: Speed Pack: Th...

E3: Need for Speed: Most Wanted sure feels like Burnout

Jun 08 // Daniel Starkey
The Burnout series' signature takedowns, tricks, and boost (aka "nitrous"), are all here, but the cars are quite a bit heavier. You can't, for example, hit the nitrous and immediately accelerate so fast that Danica Patrick's eyes bleed. Vehicles are able to take a lot more punishment as well, giving the whole game a death-rally feel. The core of the game is built around collecting SP, or "speed points," and everything you do is recorded via AutoLog. The more ridiculous and daring your stunts, the more points you earn. As you go, you'll rise up the list of "most wanted." These points can be spent to unlock cars and upgrades and items to customize your cars and build up your collection. I squeezed out almost a full hour with a bunch of other game journos in a variety of multiplayer events. We had everything from distance jumps, slaloms, checkpoint races, top speed in a given time, and most takedowns. Taking people down in races is especially satisfying as it removes them from the competition. When a player is taken out, however, they can come back and harass other players. It is entirely possible to knock everyone out and keep anyone from winning. It's devious, douchey, and utterly delightful. For single-player, they're adding a ton of tiny new features. There are, for example, dozens of super and hypercars hidden throughout the city. If you are being pursued by the cops, you can jump into one as a quick way to lose them. The instant-paint, body repair, and car-switch stops from Paradise are back, but with added functionality. Unfortunately, the Criterion crew didn't mention anything about how they've addressed complaints with the open-world nature of Paradise. While the focus on a continuous driving experience, free from loading screens or menus definitely has its appeal, it could be a pain in the ass to drive for five minutes or more just to start a race. So if that was something that annoyed you previously, I can't say one way or the other that it has been fixed. The Criterion team definitely buys into the "fun is all you need" notion, and they have done so much to execute that mantra with surgical precision. Most Wanted, for me, was an oxymoronic cocktail of sophomoric engagement and sophisticated design. Sadly, I'm going to have to wait until October 30 to gleefully tear through the streets, wiping out anything that stands in my way.
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I freaking love Burnout. Rewarding wanton destruction in a race is right up there with the printing press for the greatest accomplishment of our species. When Criterion took the stage at the EA press conference, I hoped it wa...


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