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22 Nov, 2005

Need For Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0 Review

PSP Review | Your most wanted PSP racing game?
Need for Speed Underground Rivals was a launch title for the PSP when it launched in September only a few months ago. The game wasn’t the best title in the series, but it was a respectable PSP debut none the less. A few months later we’ve received another title in the Need for Speed series and whilst it would be fair to assume the titles were fairly similar, this couldn’t be further from the truth. So, with an entirely new concept and a few new rules is Need for Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0 the racing title to pick up for your PSP, or is it just more of the same?

The PSP version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0 is completely different to its console counterparts. Rather than feature a free roaming environment, the main game is presented in a more linear approach. The career mode features a ladder of the top fifteen “most wanted” street racers, and you play through each challenger with the aim of reaching the number one racer. As you play through the career mode you unlock performance and visual upgrades to enhance your car. As well as this you also earn reputation and cash, which is used to work your way up the ladder. There is a fairly decent amount of variation in the races, but mostly the objective is just to come first in a set race.

A custom race that features plenty of customisation options

A custom race that features plenty of customisation options
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The game also includes a quick play option, which includes a few different race modes. There are four options in the quick play option, including an instant race and custom race option. The other two race modes are a little more interesting and include outrun and tuner takedown. The former let’s you choose a track and vehicle and try to outrun the police. Tuner takedown actually puts you in the role of the police and you have to try and “bust” as many other racers as you can.

There is also a fully fledged Ad-Hoc multiplayer mode. The multiplayer mode lets the host customize a wide range of options including the track, laps, traffic, cops and car restrictions. The multiplayer mode runs well and we didn’t encounter problems, although it would have been good to see a few more race options.

A lot of the action in the game takes place during the daytime, which is a big contrast to Rivals. There is a new speed breaker option during the races which allows you to slow down the action in game and navigate around the police that are chasing you. The amount that you can use the speed breaker option depends on how fast you go. Every time you go over 100mph the speed breaker will increase, so it isn’t really difficult to accumulate speed breaker 'points' so to speak. The only problem is that it isn’t as effective as you would hope. Sometimes the action is going so fast that by the time you can actually press down on the directional pad you’ve already collided with what you were hoping to avoid. So whilst the speed breaker option is a good idea, it’s unlikely you will use it too often.

Another new addition to the game is the heat level. When you drive aggressively the heat level slowly increases, indicating how aggressive the police will react towards you. If you have a high heat level at the end of a race in career mode then you will also spawn a double down challenger, which is like a double or nothing event.

All geared up and no-one to race

All geared up and no-one to race
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The police themselves serve as nothing more than an annoyance. If they block you during a race then you will be arrested after three seconds of your vehicle being stationary. The main problem with the game is that the police seem to appear periodically. For example, during boss battles the police won’t appear but they will appear during time trials. There are many races during the career mode where you have to get from point A to point B within a certain amount of time and there is nothing more annoying than being seconds away from the end and the police will stop you in your tracks by bumping you.

Because of this the game play feels a little unbalanced, because if you’re in first position then you will receive the majority of the police action. The other problem with the game is that it doesn’t feel like the race engine has evolved much past Need for Speed Underground Rivals. In fact, the handling and the races feel very similar to Rivals, the only major difference is the fact that the races take place in the daytime.

The graphics in the game look fairly good as well. The cars are all well modeled and the tracks have multiplayer layers, which makes them a little more interesting. We also didn’t notice any slowdown at all, so the game runs at a very smooth frame-rate. All the visual upgrades are easy to notice on the PSP’s screen and even intricate details like trees and houses in the background look good.

Once again this game features EA Games Trax and there is a large amount of variety in the music. Some of the artists featured in the game include Jamiroquai, Disturbed, The Perceptionists and The Prodigy. In total there are twenty six tracks and all of them are customisable. We would have liked to have seen some voice acting in between some of the races to create a little more atmosphere in the career mode but unfortunately there isn’t any. All the engine noises sound very authentic and the background noises are all very high quality as well.

Flying around the corner

Flying around the corner
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Whilst the single player mode initially looks like it won’t last long, there are a lot of challenges within challenges as well as bonus challenges (phew) when you complete each racer’s list. The multiplayer mode should last a long time as well, although it would have been good to see more race options in the multiplayer.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted isn’t as much of an upgrade upon Need for Speed Underground Rivals as we had hoped it would be. One of the biggest upgrades to the game is the police races, and they just become annoying. With such a wide range of competition in racing games, we were hoping for a little more evolution in the series. A little bit of daylight, a few new vehicles and some new race modes is a little bit less than we’d expected, but the game features a solid single player mode and should please most Need for Speed fans, just don’t expect too much of an evolution for the series.

Related Reviews:
PSP: Need for Speed: Underground Rivals
The Score
Need for Speed: Most Wanted isn't that different to Need for Speed Underground Rivals. The gameplay is basically the same except with police cars chasing after you.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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26 Aug, 2005 Yet another lacklustre DS racer?
Australian Gaming Bargains, December 30th
30 Dec, 2004 The post christmas sales mean goodies for all! Yay!
1 Comment
8 years ago
Just want to know why the game is called NFS: Most Wanted 5-1-0? What does the 5-1-0 mean?
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  EA Games
Developer:
  EA Black Box

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