The way this game has turned out surprises me. EA showed off the footage for the console versions, showing us the open world, the high-octane police chases, and the races through traffic.
Then they said the whole thing would come to the Playstation Vita as well. Only recently was it confirmed that the PSV version would be exactly like the console versions but with a few minor adjustments. How true to their word they were.
You see, the main idea of this game is a Burnout Paradise style game, but grittier. Instead of the Paradise radio, you have access to the police radio whenever you get into trouble with them. This means you can better escape them. Talking of the police, the system used is like that of the GTA games.
The more wreckage you perform and the more persistent you are, the higher your code rate goes. Escaping is the same as well. Get out from their gaze and you enter 'cooldown'. Your code ratings will start to go down, until either the cops get you in their sight again or you lose all your code ratings. The longer you can keep the cops off you, the more your Most Wanted score will go up.
And it's this Most Wanted score that is the main aim of the game. During racing, meeting special requirements or the police chases, you will earn Most Wanted points. The races themselves are great. Whether circuit or street rally, they will provide a challenge, what with fighting the traffic as well as battling for position. However, I've only come across five of them during my playtime. There might be more, but they are still diverse.
When you get enough Most Wanted score, you can challenge the elite racers, then earn their car. This is much the same as in Burnout Paradise, where if you win, the car is released into the world and you have to take it down. But with Paradise you didn't have police onto you and the others as soon as the race starts, or the fact that it is a code three chase and you cannot enter 'cooldown' no matter what.
Not that you'd want to anyway, as the police are as much help as hinderance, and the fact that these elite racers aren't called elite for nothing. These racers are harder than the normal ones, as they'll be speeding along to the max. Unless they make a mistake.
Then there are all the other things you've got to do in the game. Just like Burnout Paradise, there are gates and billboards dotted all over the map, which you locate and smash. Doing this will also get you Most Wanted score. As well as these, there are jackspots, where you can find new cars - including an Ariel Atom V8 - and speed cameras which you need to hit. The billboards record your jump length, and the speed cameras record your speed. Any reason for this? The new Autolog of course.
This shares your data between your Need For Speed friends, so they can try and beat your records. But that's not all on the online front. While I haven't extensively tested it, the online is great as well. Joining a group, you have a number of challenges, in which you get more Most Wanted score. You can unlock other mods for your cars through the online mode, and you can still do what you want. However, if you don't get to the meet up after a certain amount of time, you will be relocated there.
While the events are fun, there is a bit of lag. Hence why there are no police in online mode. At the end of the events, the total points are added up, and your Most Wanted score is added to the full score on your profile. You can join or leave a game at any time.
The graphics are top notch, but with a few glitches here and there, especially with the skid marks. The sound is also good, but you might be asking, any reason specifically for the PSV version? Why yes. Since the PSV can play music at the same time as playing a game, it makes great sense.
But here is this game's masterpiece. If you are playing music from the PSV's player, the in-game music is muted. You still have all your engine sounds and police radio, but your own music is slotted into the game. Genius.
Those who'll most likely enjoy this - those who play racing, action, adventure or simulation games, or a mixture of those.
[Edit] When winning a race, you will also get extra additions to add to your car to make it better. These are only for that particular car, however, hence the repeating of races in different cars.
[Edit 2] Criterion weren't kidding when they said it was a significant achievement and that there were performance issues. To be honest, it is a significant achievement to get this game running almost perfectly on the PSV, but they still haven't got rid of most of the performance challenges. I had something I have never seen before on my PSV.
A GPU error. And that doesn't count all the times it has seamlessly crashed. However, don't be down-heartened at this, since it doesn't happen that often if you close everything else except music, and seems to go away all together if you run it without the music player.