Developer: Electronic Arts
Price: $6.99
Version: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Who doesn’t love sticking it to the man from time to time?  EA has been hard at work, reimagining the world  of Need For Speed: Most Wanted, just to fulfill this inner desire.  What was once viewed as an offshoot of the Hot Pursuit brand has now been reborn on every platform known to man.  With iOS among the devices supported by the franchise’s newest installment, does it have what it takes to put the “Po-Po” to the test, or does it simply end up running on fumes?

This time around the bend, Firemonkey Studio, most widely known for their work on Real Racing, have been tasked with bringing this high stakes cops vs. rebels racer to the platform.  Interestingly enough, this is not the studio’s first outing in the Most Wanted universe, having developed a version of the franchise’s last iteration, way back in 2005.  The experience shows through in fantastic ways, paying dividends in the quality and polish of the finished product.

If one were to boil down Need for Speed: Most Wanted to its core, what would be found is a street racing game with a rather high profile interference, the police.  The game features a litany of different modes including speed runs, street races and even head-to-head burnouts, all while fending off law enforcement at every turn.  Though the name might imply more one-on-one interaction with cops, most times they just act to hinder chances at successfully completing races and objectives.

The presence of Firemonkey Studios is all over Most Wanted’s presentation.  Every frame is rendered on the iPhone 5 perfectly.  Though no official framerate numbers have been quoted, you would be hard pressed to find an experience more smoothly executed.  Lush, vibrant environments are rendered beautifully, with a flare and attention to detail that puts all other racers on the platform to shame.

As much fun as the racing experience is, there are two overarching issues that seem to pop up time and time again.  First off, if the police are going to be made such a blatant presence, at least find a way to have them play a bigger role in the way races turn out, instead of just ancillary distractions.  The other problem is tied to both the difficulty curve and mission structure.  Far too often the progression of missions will narrow down to only having a single race left to complete in order to move along and unlock more tracks.  Unfortunately, these are also the places where the difficulty tends to spike, forcing players to fork out their in-game (and in some cases real life) currency, in order to purchase upgrades and even the playing field.  While not a deal-breaker, the process of amping up to towards these events might be handled in a way that was a bit more natural.

Even with the most critical of eyes, Need for Speed: Most Wanted is still easily one of the best racers on the platform to date.  You would have to be crazy not to take this hot rod out for a nice long joy ride. EA and Firemonkey have once again re-defined what it means to play racing games on iOS.  Don’t miss out on your chance to slide into the driver’s seat.

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