Need For Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0
Online play available
Building detail
Limited vehicle selection
Sluggish controls
Not very challenging
Poor music selection

Zoom Zoom Zoom! by J.D.Keifer

December 16, 2005 - EA has always been known for its great racing games, particularly its Need For Speed series. They always seemed to throw out better and more faster paced racing games each time. However, only recently, with there Need For Speed: Underground series, have there games had a set story line and cut scenes. They were not the first to do this though, Rockstars Midnight Club, was one of the first racing games to come with a story line. So with the release of Need For Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0, everyone was expecting an improvement on the Underground series, and they got what they wanted...except for the portable version.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0 doesn't have what you could call a legitimate story line. In fact it doesn't have a story included with it at all. The only idea that could incorporate it to having the smallest smudge of story is that each chapter has a boss and that boss has a bio. Other then that, all you do is just drive around in circles and try to be the best of the best. Yet who doesn't do that now a day? While every racing game released has you trying to be the most kick ass racer on the street, at least they incorporate some story to make the game more interesting and get the player more involved.

Well, to say the least, EA was able to release another fast paced racing game for yet another handheld system. And in true EA fashion, the game has many different ways to play it, like everything from Career mode to several different ways to play multiplayer.

Career mode is pretty disappointing however. It starts you out at the bottom of a list of chapters, or what they cleverly disguised as something called the "Black List". The "Black List" is like the FBI's most wanted list, except for the fact that it's the cops and your not wanted for mass murder of a thousand Iraqi citizens, just speeding and reckless driving. As expected from EA, you are able to fully customize your car and purchase upgrades for you vehicle by unlocking them by racing. All you have to do to get your ranking in the "Black List" to increase is to beat those in front of you. Each boss has a number of races for you to compete in, and after completing each race in first you get your share of cash and respect points. Each boss has a respect limit you have to surpass before your able to take him on. During each race, you have a heat level that can increase to the max amount of ten by driving aggressively, which there is no way to avoid driving aggressively in this game. As your heat level increases the cops get more aggravated and start pressing on you harder. If your heat level is high at the end of a race, then you can engage in Outrun, which is were you have to outrun the cops and, if you succeed, you get more cash and higher respect points. It's sad that the cops provide more of a challenge then your actual opponents.

After reaching the respect limit, you have the option to race the boss. This proves to be quite the challenge, for a third grader with ADD. Each boss race has you up against the boss and only the boss. If you have been unlocking and buying the upgrades for you car, your car is much faster then the bosses. Also the cops aren't there to try and stop you.

The multiplayer and Quick Play mode is where the game shines. The Quick Play mode allows you to just pick up the game and play it right off the back, but only with the car you have and the tracks you have unlocked. A new feature to this game is the Tuner Takedown races. Tuner Takedown allows you to be the cop, however you don't get the super cars that never seem to be able to be outrun like the ones in career mode. The multiplayer mode allows for two different ways to play the game. AD HOC, or wireless game play between up to 4 PSP's, and the Infrastructure mode. Infrastructure mode allows for you to take your car online to the EA servers and race against PSP's connected to access points. However, when I played the game the EA servers were not available at that time.

The cars in the game range from a small list of rare and well-known sports cars and exotics. Controls are easy to use but sluggish and unresponsive at the times when you need them the most. Graphics for Need For Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0 is done well. The tracks and buildings around the track have great texture, however the cars in the game are done a little to well. What I mean is that if you use the metallic paint set for your car, it almost seems transparent at times. The music choice in the game is poor, compared to the last Need For Speed titles. Most of the bands featured in this game I haven't even heard of, and they aren't that great. However, the cars sound effects are great, the engine tone changes when shifting from one gear to another.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0 has to be the sorriest excuse for a racing game that EA has ever released. With the PSP's capabilities, they could have done so much more, and made it a much better game.

By J.D.Keifer
CCC Freelance Writer

Rating out of 5
Need For Speed: Most Wanted (PSP)
Great looking graphics with minor, transparency problems.
Controls are easy to use but slow and sluggish at times.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music selection poor, yet the sound effects of cars are great.
Play Value
A good game to pick up and play a few races here and there to pass away a few minutes.
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
System: PSP
Dev: Pandemic
Pub: Lucas Arts
Release: Dec 2005
Players: 1 - multi online
Review by J.D.Keifer

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best