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Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)

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I'm sure you can help them sort it out, Dunban.
― Fiora, Xenoblade Chronicles
This article is about 2005 video game.
You may be looking for 2012 video game by Criterion Games with the same name.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)
NFSMWBE Cover.jpg
"How's your car running?"
Ronald "Ronnie" McCrea
Genre(s): Racing
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 2
Nintendo GameCube
Game Boy Advance
Nintendo DS
PlayStation Portable (5-1-0 only)
Xbox 360
Release: November 2005 (Microsoft Windows, PS2, GC, Xbox, GBA, DS & PSP)
Xbox 360
NA: November 22, 2005
EU: December 2, 2005
JP: December 10, 2005
Developer(s): EA Black Box
EA Redwood Shores
Sensory Sweep Studios (DS)
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
Series: Need for Speed
Predecessor: Need for Speed: Underground 2
Successor: Need for Speed: Carbon

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is a racing game developed by EA Black Box and EA Redwood Shores and published by Electronic Arts. It is the ninth installment in the Need for Speed series, and was released in November 2005 for the Nintendo GameCube, PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360, making this the first entry in the franchise for seventh generation consoles. It is followed by Need for Speed: Carbon.

Why It's Hot

  1. A lengthy and awesome story. Although most of them are delivered through SMS, they also drop a lot of hints as the story progresses.
  2. Hilariously over-the-top acting during cutscenes.
    • "Bolt-on or not, that ride is HOT."
    • "... including this punk gasket car."
    • "Five grand... FIVE GRAND! Says my boy will 'smoke' this clown."
    • "Yeah, this 'ere is the Number 15th guy on the Blacklist."
    • "Hey, where's your fancy ride?"
    • "I'm gonna pound you into the pavement..."
    • "Ready to donate another car to the Razor Fund, baby!?"
    • "EVERYONE!"
  3. Lengthy and substantial career mode, although it can be a bit repetitive.
  4. Car handling is a nicely balanced blend of arcade and simulation.
  5. Variety of different event types. This game also introduced speedtraps (in both races & Free Roam) to the franchise.
  6. The introduction of very-fun-to-play pursuit system is the main reason why this game is a huge success, which is also inherited by following NFS games.
  7. Over 30 licensed cars to choose from. Supercars make a return after their last appearance in Hot Pursuit 2.
  8. Although customization options are significantly reduced compared to the previous Underground games, it still has enough content to enjoy.
  9. Applying visual upgrades lowers your heat level, which helps you sneak by unsuspecting cops.
  10. Beautiful graphics, especially on Xbox 360 (and it was a launch title for that platform)!
  11. Excellent sound design.
  12. The soundtrack in this game is really catchy. Specially for tracks by Styles of Beyond such as "Nine Thou", The Prodigy with "You'll be UNDER MY WHEELS" and Celldweller with "Shapeshifter (feat. Styles of Beyond)" and "One Good Reason". Original scores played in cutscenes and pursuits are also very memorable (they are reused in both console and PSP version of Carbon).
  13. Hundreds of mods to download from the internet, allowing you to add various vehicles such as Nissans, Ferraris, post-2005 rides, cars ported from other Need for Speed games or even motorcycles! This also includes cars from other franchises most notably the Truffade Adder from Grand Theft Auto V, the Splitter from Flatout 2 and Mr. Whoophee from Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. In addition, there are some total conversions that overhaul the game, like the Pepega Edition mod, the Beta Content mod and the Hot Pursuit Challenges mod.
    • However, prior to the release of Unlimiter and Ed the Car Dealer, the player must replace an existing car through a ModLoader, however, since 2018, there have been car mods which you can add without replacing existing cars. Currently, NFS-VLTEd and Binary are the tools used when adding cars to the game.
  14. It's very well optimized on the PC, even when playing on a low-end PC of the time (as long the settings are set to the lowest, though).
  15. The player's fully-modified-to-meet-the-street-rules 2001 BMW M3 GTR (E46) ALMS Race Car with its blue and silver livery is one of the most iconic and legendary cars in the entire history of racing video games. Even Road & Track, the car magazine that collaborated with EA in the first ever Need for Speed game, appreciated the car because of its popularity.
  16. The final pursuit as well as the final jump it is one of the most memorable and iconic moments in the racing video game history.

Bad Qualities

  1. The Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance versions are very bad (though the GBA version is slightly better than the DS version and is still plenty of fun, according to Kacey). But still the 3D graphics on the GBA version are not better compared to the DS version.
  2. Nissan, as well as some other cars, aren't included due to what could probably be license issues. (The 350Z (Z33) and Skyline GT-R (BNR34) were most likely meant to be in the game, further evidence that Nissan was supposed to be in the game is found in the game's audio files such as police chatter mentioning a "Nissan" as the suspect's vehicle in the radio).
  3. Two words: Rubberband AI. While not as severe as NFS: Underground, even if you turn off the said feature via modding they still can catch up to you! As for the cops, on the other hand, they'll start struggling to chase you down depending on your heat level.
  4. Frustrating difficulty spike regardless of the rubberband AI during the races mentioned above.
    • Earl is the digital avatar of cheap, incredibly difficult rubberband AI. So notorious that he became a popular meme in NFS community, though the fact that he was once on top of the Blacklist might explain this fact.
  5. Challenge Series contains checkpoints and pursuit milestones only, which is extremely repetitive. And there aren't any rewards for completing them either.
  6. This game, and its sequel Carbon, has auto-balance (the game will automatically balance your car to horizontal when it's in the air). It sounds very good on paper, but can be pretty broken when landing, especially in places such as the prison and hospital. Also because of the pursuit mechanics, auto-balance can be very counter-productive in cop chases.
  7. Some cars can only be driven in Quick Race Mode, these being the Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG (R230), Porsche 911 GT2 (996), Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, BMW M3 GTR (E46) (Street) and 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396, which can only be made available in career mode through modding with NFS-VLTEd in the PC version by changing their IsCustomizable field from False to True before making a new save game.
  8. The PSP port (Most Wanted 5-1-0), while not really as bad as the DS and GBA versions, is a modified reskin of the previous game (Underground Rivals) with a lot of reused tracks from Underground 2, and lack of free roam. Also, the rubberband AI in this game is much worse. You can literally have a police car crash in a civilian vehicle or on a roadblock and outrun them, only for them to dash at you at maximum speed in just a few seconds!
    • However, this port has an exclusive Quick Play mode, Tuner Takedown, which allows the player to play as a Cop and take down Racers.
  9. While the graphics are beautiful for its time, the GameCube had surprisingly the worst graphics so far considering it was more powerful than the PS2, while that version still had lower graphics, it had better details than the GameCube's.
  10. If you get a Game Over (all of your cars are impounded and you have no Release car from impound marker), you have to restart the entire career from scratch.
  11. Unlike in NFSU2, you can't free roam outside of Career Mode to be able to drive around Rockport. And while Free Roam does exist in Career Mode, after completing it there's not much else to do except maybe cause mayhem in Rockport, but it basically feels devoid of any other events to race in, and no rival vehicles are seen driving around either.
  12. Selling the BMW M3 GTR (if you did not mod to enable it in career mode) is NOT recommended as by selling it during Career Mode, buying it back is impossible as it's not available anywhere in the Dealerships. Therefore, its gone for good once you sell it!
  13. No 100% reward and the unlock criteria of the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R is misleading. To unlock said car you must beat the Career mode even with races and milestones left to win.
    • Also, on many pages and even the Need For Speed wiki it is claimed that the C6.R can be unlocked by achieving 100% completion, but instead the real unlock criteria is beating the Career mode.
  14. A truckload of cut contents in this game. This includes the aforementioned Nissan cars, the base model BMW M3 (E46), and some other contents like the battle with Rog, who was the number 16 on the Blacklist at that time before being a guide, the Rockport Fire Department armada being painted yellow, and a not-that-bland gamemode called Multipoint.


  • The Chevrolet Cobalt SS and Volkswagen Golf GTI (MK5) are really good starter cars, as they have good acceleration and handling. However, the Cobalt SS only has a 5-speed gearbox meaning its top speed is limited unless you install the Ultimate transmission upgrade.
  • Always use Speedbreaker on the roadblocks because not only does it slow down the time, it also doubles the car's mass, which is pretty useful when trying to plow past roadblocks and dodge spike strips.
  • The Lotus Elise 111R '04 is really good for racing, thanks to its light weight but it really struggles in pursuits and traffic collisions.
  • The Pontiac GTO and Vauxhall Monaro VXR, while underpowered, are really good cars for pursuits because of their weight.

Notable Mods

Note: This list includes all of the aforementioned mods in WIH#13 and some other mods that is just enhancing the gameplay.

  • Pepega Edition: A meme mod for Most Wanted. Not only adding (dated KuruHS-related and others that make any Volkswagen Golf owners giggle) memes to the game, it also adds new content like new cars, graphics overhaul, new blacklist members and so much more.
  • Beta Content: A mod that restores every single cut content from previous versions such as the E3 demo, the PS2 demo from 007: From Russia With Love, and the PC and the Xbox 360 demo.
  • Hot Pursuit Challenges: An overhaul mod that recreates older Need for Speed games
  • Xbox 360 Stuff Pack: This mod makes your game look like the Xbox 360 release of the game.
  • .R Lighting: The mod that ditched the nuclear sepia filter of the game, instead, it gone through a way to make the game feel alive.
  • Most Wanted Online: A real and working-until-now solution to the online multiplayer for this game (paid cars included).
  • Most Wanted Eternal: Something that would make your game look like a 8th gen AAA game.
  • Palmont Imports: It's 2006, and several unidentified cars are on board in an unidentified cargo jet, fresh from the covered-in-cumulonimbus-cloud-city of Palmont. Until now, the logistics is still serving new cars, despite being 16 years late.
  • Wrecked Mode: Have you ever wondered, being so mad at a street race that you ram off every single opponent off the track, then this will be the simulation.
  • MWFixes: Like the SilentPatch from GTA San Andreas, this mod fixes all the problems that may have occur.
  • Most Wanted HQ: Those Grand Theft Auto V "realistic graphics" mod videos, but without it being soaked in seed oil and is playable on any computer, not a supercomputer from NASA.


The game has received generally positive reviews.

Gamespot gave this game a 8.4 out of 10.


< Below is a critique of the PSP version, which is probably rushed:


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