Why Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005) Still Holds Up To Modern Racing Games

Everybody's childhood favorite.

Story Highlights

  • The story is laughably bad but manages to stay in mind.
  • It still has one of the best cop car chase gameplay in an arcade racing game.
  • The BMW M3 GTR is one of the most iconic cars in racing video game history.

Nostalgia in gaming is a real thing, and when I think back to my early gaming days, only a couple of titles pop up. Among those games, there was but only one racing game that managed to hook me into the world of cars. That masterpiece of a game is the reason why I play racing simulators today and plan to buy a steering wheel setup in the near future.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005) redefined racing games as we knew it, and became a sensation worldwide. It’s the only Need for Speed title to get a reboot in 2012 and is now slated for a remaster in 2024-2025. Honestly, modern racing games have been going on a constant downhill trajectory, so let’s look at what EA Blackbox did right all these years ago to create this magnum opus of a racing game.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted’s Story Is So Bad That It’s Good

Need for Speed: Most Wanted has a cheesy, overly acted, and funny-even-when-its-serious storyline that stays in your mind long after you finish it. On the surface, it’s the age-old story of the main character gaining repute by defeating the boss’s best men to eventually race the main guy himself.

Despite the story being mediocre, it held a certain charm and gave way to some legendary meme templates. But the one thing the story executed superbly was the blacklist system, which hooked us in, unlike any other NFS story.

To progress in the story, players had to do different street races, which wasn’t something out of the box. However, they added a twist to this progression. Before you got to face the next blacklist member, you had to trade paints with the local police force to collect “bounty.”

Collecting bounty was one of the most thrilling and difficult parts of the game. I still remember the rookie me asking the aid of my elder brother to help me evade cops after I reached heat level 3. That was the gaming era people would never forget.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted with its cheesy cutscenes. | Source: eXputer
Need for Speed: Most Wanted with its cheesy cutscenes. | Source: eXputer

It Revolutionized Cop Car Chase Sequences For All Future Games

The bounty system worked by destroying police cars in multiple ways and gaining heat.  However, I think we can all agree that the fan-favorite method of pulverizing cops is to crush them under Diggy’s doughnut

Sadly, the possibility of destroying them this easily is only limited to the early heat levels. As your heat rises, the police bring out their A-game with faster and stronger rides that can stop you way before you reach the doughnut.

Plus, after a certain heat level, the cops try to use roadblocks and spikes to increase their chances of busting you which only the veterans were able to foresee and evade successfully.

After heat level 4, the game pits us against choppers that broadcast our location at every point and even send heavy vehicles that appear out of nowhere and ram themselves into our cars on purpose. Now those were some difficult vehicles to evade, but you had to stay sharp and masterfully evade them if you planned on gaining any respectable amount of bounty.

These little details of increasing heat levels, police cars periodically getting faster and stronger, ramming heavy vehicles, and even choppers circling around your car made these police chases exhilarating and memorable to this day.

What was so great about NFS Most Wanted (2005)?
byu/M4RKJORDAN inneedforspeed

A Chance To Win Exclusive Black List Cars

Need for Speed games have always been about owning different cars, upgrading them to the brim, and then defeating the next opponent. However, Need for Speed: Most Wanted introduced the concept of exclusive cars thanks to the pink slip system.

After defeating a blacklist, you could get your hands on their unique, custom set of wheels. But for that, you’ll have only 2 chances to pick the pink slip from a set of 3 blind cards to get the car, and failing to do so meant losing the car forever.

Thanks to this system, even after defeating a blacklisted member, players remained under tension since true victory was hidden behind three unknown cards. Ironically, winning the blacklist member’s cars was extremely satisfying since they had done the same to us in the beginning.

Need for Speed Most Wanted first blacklists car. | Source: NFS Fandom
Need for Speed Most Wanted first blacklists car. | Source: NFS Fandom

The Debut Of The Iconic BMW M3 GTR

No matter which NFS we play before or after the Most Wanted, no car can match the popularity of the iconic silver-and-blue BMW M3 GTR. Sure, the Audi R8 from NFS Carbon, the Regera from NFS Payback, the 350z from Underground 2, and the Porsche ‘73 911 RSR have their own place on the pedestal. But none comes close to the glory of the BMW M3 GTR.

But have you ever wondered why this particular car became such a symbolic ride of NFS games?

The car was featured for the very first time in Need for Speed: Most Wanted. It became instantly famous, and the credit for that goes to its paint job, its body kit, its speed, and the fact that it was stolen from the player after the first couple of races.

YouTube video

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Ahmed Shayan is a News Writer on eXputer with decent experience writing about games. He’s a machine learning enthusiast with a passion for a plethora of gaming genres. Ahmed is fond of Soulsborne games in which he has invested more than 3,000 hours! You can follow Ahmed's gaming activity on his PSN Profile.

Experience: 1.5+ Years || Mainly Covers News Stories on eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Data Science.

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