Yub Yub

November 30, 2005 by Tim

Tomorrow is December 1st. That means the HUGE announcement here at CAD is right around the corner. You’ll want to make sure you check this page tomorrow. People will be talking about this, and you don’t want to be the last to know.

Registration for Digital Overload 2006 is now open. Space is limited, and we will not be selling tickets at the door, so you may want to move quickly. You can check out the forum to arrange carpools and room-shares with fellow fans at Digital Overload.

While it is predominantly a BYOC LAN event, we will also have consoles hooked up to projectors for people to play on, and a section set aside for some classic table-top board gaming. So there will be a little sum’n sum’n for everyone.

And if the gaming multitude wasn’t enough for you, word on the street is that my two favorite people in webcomics will be in attendance. Brian “My Sports Car Can Drive Over Anything” Clevinger and Scott “What’s A Car?” Ramsoomair will be on hand to deliver some good old-fashioned sexiness. So you get to play video games all weekend, and hang out with the three coolest people in webcomics. What more could you ask for?

Speaking of Mr. Clevinger, he is solely to blame for my new addiction to NFS: Most Wanted.

Back on the original Playstation, I picked up the very first Need for Speed game. And it was horrid. I returned it 15 minutes after I bought it (I had ridden my bike there, in the rain, and turned right around to ride back out. To give you an idea how badly I wanted my money back). Since then, I never once picked up another NFS title. The franchise held no interest for me. Not when there was Ridge Racer, PGR, Gran Turismo, Burnout, etc.

And I hadn’t planned to buy Most Wanted either. Aside from the NFS title, the subject matter of stree racing always makes me wary. Import tuning experienced a surge in popularity after the Fast and Furious movies. Not entirely for the better, either. You see a lot of Hondas and Acuras out there now with a fart can on the back, and maybe some rims, and the rest of the car is rusted to shit.

Some of you who follow my journal know that I’m into tuning myself, and how much I love my MX-3. But there are fine lines between race and rice, which too many people can’t distinguish. And most movies/games glamorize the unrealistic side of the hobby.

So it wasn’t until Brian told me that he had not only purchased the game, but was thoroughly hooked on it, that I even gave the game a second glance. And I trust Brian’s judgement in most things (except for the nipple rings. That was a bad call, Brian), so I went out and picked it up.

And now I’m hooked too.

Now there is a lot of rice in this game. In fact, the only spoilers you can purchase are those ridiculous bolt-on-top-of-the-trunk, don’t-match-the-car, bought-it-off-eBay pieces of shit.

However it is still very possibly to craft a stylish street racer in the game, so you won’t be forced to drive around bling bling if you want more go than show.

The first thing that caught me about Most Wanted was that they brought back FMV. What? Who does that anymore? But they do it well. The acting is a bit over the top, and cheesy, but it fits with the atmosphere of the game. Visually the game is stunning. It may not be quite up to par with PGR, but it’s damned close.

But once you get underneath the eye-candy, you’ll find an arcade racer with some serious meat. This is a very well-fleshed-out game we’re talking about here. The racing is pretty standard, but they really make it interesting, with a bunch of different modes. You have your lap races, your sprint races, your time trial races, but also a mode where you have to achieve a certain speed as you pass under a police traffic camera. Or the drag race mode, where you aren’t focusing on steering so much as you focus on perfecting your shift timing. Or the mode where you win based on your accumulative MPH throughout the whole race, regardless of whether you finish first or last.

The racing is great, but the Pursuit is what really sets this game apart. The car chases are so amazing, they’ll just suck you into the game. As you dog the cops around the city streets and highways, you can listen to their radio chatter, and they’ll actually describe your vehicle (a silver Mazda, a purple Mitsubishi, whatever) and the direction/road you were last seen heading. If you ram a cop car, you’ll hear someone shout over the CB that they were just struck and need backup, etc. It’s wonderful.

The physics engine is alright. A bit unrealistic. Damage taken to your car is limited to nasty scrapes and broken windows. No real body damage. If you’re in a head on-collision, it slows you down, but mostly you just plow right through the other car. I haven’t seen a game other than Burnout do car crashes really well. I suppose it has to be the way it is, for the application, but still. I’d like to see a little bit more damage to the car. Bumpers cracking and flying off, etc.

If you’re looking for an arcade-style racer (over the top speed, big drifts around corners) and lots of multi-player and car customization options, check out NFS: Most Wanted. And if you see me on XBL, drop me a game invite. I’ll race you for pinks.

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