Most Wanted 5-1-0 is basically an updated entry of the longtime Underground series that originated on the console and was ported to the PSP. In some ways, it can be likened to the digital equivalent of The Fast and the Furious, sans Vin Disel and the token hotties.
For those of you that were burned by the disappointing PSP that was Need for Speed Rivals can rest easy knowing that this new entry EA has rolled out is a lot more satisfying. Expect plenty of fast-paced thrills as you battle against fifteen elite racers who make up a legendary "Black List", while eluding the po-po who will stop at nothing to take out your hot ride. For me, the inclusion of the police pursuit during racing events was the winning aspect, having been so disenchanted with most underground racing releases currently available on the market. I was also thrilled to see that Most Wanted brought back the Pursuit Mode, which longtime fans will recall originated in one of the earlier NFS themes.
The game does an exceptional job conveying a sense of speed, complete with bloom effects and speed lines commonly seen in current-gen console releases. There's enough variety offered in the single-player mode to keep things fresh and interesting. I was impressed by the level of intelligence demonstrated by the AI. Taking a page from GTA, peaking your speed meter will gradually trigger the authorities to intensify their efforts to impede your efforts. Coordinating their efforts, they'll do everything from setting up blockades, spiked mats or even colliding with your vehicle head-on. I tell you, there's no greater feeling in a racing game than evading the police, while cruising around the urban districts or catching air over a hilly road.
It's no secret the PSP isn't exactly the ideal system of choice when it comes to online multiplayer, but EA is trying to get things rolling again. Myself, I am spoiled by the matchmaking tools offered in Xbox Live – even Nintendo's WFC has a cooler setup, at least in the fact you can manage a friend's list of those you'd regularly like to play. The multiplayer modes are a bit sparse though--versus matches are limited to a 1-on-1 affair, not to mention you can only select Race or Pursuit modes. What's up with that? All quibbles aside, it's manageable enough to add some variety from the single player modes and this is a good start that hopefully will influence other developers to hop on the bandwagon.