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Need For Speed: Most Wanted

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Never mind Curiosity landing on Mars looking for stuff – we’re pleased to report the far more important discovery of the most essential racing title of 2012.

ShortList was granted an exclusive first play of Need For Speed: Most Wanted, the latest entry in EA’s marquee racing series, and, happily, we can confirm it resembles a cocktail of the best driving games from the past five years.

There are the slick vehicles of the Forza series, the tight handling of Gran Turismo, the eye-watering car wrecks and open-world map of Burnout: Paradise, and the competitive racing action of the game’s predecessor, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.

“We play a lot of driving games and I find most of them boring,” says Craig Sullivan, developer Criterion’s creative director. “Our job is to bring new experiences to players.”

Most Wanted does this in two ways. First, it’s done away with unlockables. Players are cut loose in a city where every car in the game is available to them. “If you can find it, you can drive it,” says Sullivan.

The game’s second trump card is AutoLog, the dynamic social network that trundles alongside the action, monitoring players’ event choices and overall skill levels. It then makes event suggestions based on your preferences and friends list, which opens a raft of new challenges.

Most Wanted plugs directly into players’ desires, turning an already explosive driving game into a killer app that will keep you glued to the screen for a deeply unhealthy period of time.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted is released later this year

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