iOS App-Aholics Anonymous: [Need for Speed: Most Wanted]

App Name: Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Developer: Electronic Arts Inc.
Launch Date: 10-18-12
Price: $6.99
App-Aholic Rating: 4/5

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Need for Speed: Most Wanted was a near and dear favorite in my younger youth. While that still remains true, the iOS rendition of Most Wanted is not the same game from your full-size console. That fact, however, doesn’t stop it from being an awesome game, either.

Not the Most Wanted you remember: Gone is the free-roam arena (shame, but it would’ve taken a lot of memory space to reconstruct in a mobile game). Gone are the prolonged high-speed chases from straggling officers after a race. Some cars that have been released since the original Most Wanted are now included in the game. The antagonistic police chief, Cross, has been removed. The only adjustments you can make to your car is a color swap (there aren’t performance or body upgrades to be had). The tracks aren’t even built around the same location(s) as their console counterparts! The only similarity the two games actually share is the actual Most Wanted title.

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What E.A.’s doing right: Electronic Arts / Chillingo’s contribution to the AppStore has been extensive and successful. With several other Need for Speed titles available for your iDevices, Most Wanted is the best of the group. The graphics are beautiful. The playability’s mostly there (we’ll get to that in a moment). The selection of cars is as impressive as ever. Need for Speed: Most Wanted is a solid addition to the series, especially as NFS begins to make the shift towards mobile platforms.

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Tiny but Extensive Flaw: Although I’ve encountered this in other NFS games, it’s still an attribute I can’t seem to shake; The tilt control work fairly well, but I like my hand to be directly attached to the screen, therefore I choose the virtual controls. Unfortunately, despite the possible touch sensitivity adjustments in the settings, the responsiveness of the virtual steering wheel is muddled. You can keep your thumb constantly on the steering wheel and wait for a turn to come, but if you do, your finger will become sweaty and stick to the screen. Or you can play the way I do: your finger floats over the screen and only touches the wheel when it’s needed. The problem with this is that on NFS games, it takes a moment for the steering wheel to register your finger before it will allow you to turn; consequently, my turning reactions are always delayed if I wait to use the wheel. I also want to add that Gameloft’s competing racing series, Asphalt, doesn’t have this issue.

Heads up! Careful how you drive your car! It can be totaled out, causing the race to end, and then it’s fun for no one. At least the nitrous oxide regenerates quickly, and infinitely, I may add.

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iOSA3 Rating: 4/5; Most of NFS: Most Wanted is on par with what I would expect from an EA street racing adventure, but the above complaint is too difficult to ignore. Although the tilt control is decent, the steering delay immensely takes away from the virtual control experience. If you’re like me and the touch screen is your primary means of playing, a discrepancy in this feature can cripple the game.

Bottom Line: I love the NFS series. With their many years of experience on the project, EA knows how to make a fantastic racer. I’m excited to watch this console classic transition to the touchscreen. I am, however, disappointed that EA’s willing to “reissue” their NFStitles under the same badges (Hot Pursuit, Undercover, Shift), yet the mobile versions of the games typically don’t follow their predecessors, even vaguely! I would love to see exact recreations or brand new original ideas that are exclusive to touchscreen devices. Finally, with the expanding technology of iDevices, it would be incredible to return to the free roaming landscape that made NFS Underground 2 so exciting.

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Sound Off: Now, folks, it’s your turn! Do you have any thoughts, opinions, or general comments about the Need for Speed series and/or its developer, Electronic Arts Inc? I personally reply to every comment, and I’d love to hear what you have to say! Just take your cranial debris and throw it down in the box below!

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