Criterion Games shifted gears from its Burnout racing series to the world of Need for Speed back in 2010 when the company released Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and while that game featured the same great racing action that Burnout Paradise brought to the table, it sadly denied players the chance to race through an open world. I loved Burnout Paradise and spent dozens upon dozens of hours exploring and racing through Paradise City, and while I liked Hot Pursuit, the open world component was dearly missed. Now Criterion is back with Need for Speed: Most Wanted that may has well have the Burnout brand invisibly grafted to it, as today's demo of the new game at Electronic Arts's E3 press conference revealed the open world nature of the game. Check out the trailer in action.
The great thing about open world racers is that the more one explores the city, the more the city feels alive. I felt a grand sense of direction when spending time in Paradise City and the more I played, the more I came to feel at home in the place. I knew the lay of the land and where to find certainly landmarks. I remembered where to find the best shortcuts, best places to drift, and the best spots for performing outrageous stunts. Hot Pursuit stripped those aspects away and sent players racing simply from Point A to Point B, and while those points were all contained in the same large city environment, I never developed a feel for how everything was connected. It looks like Most Wanted will fix that misstep, and I can't wait to play it when it hits the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, PC, iOS, and Android on October 30, 2012.