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Original Game:

  • Broken Base:
    • The Cop Chase, more specifically the bounty system and it's required milestones in the 2005 game. Some were tolerant with the addition of the bounty system as it adds more challenge to the cop chase more than just simply escaping from the cop's tail. Others weren't as pleasant, seeing it as a really cheap way to pad out the time spend, which is already long enough.
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    • Over both games actually, not just 2012. There were NFS fans before Black Box came in, and some of them still don't really like the 2005 game. The classic fans see Most Wanted 2005 as when the series reached the point of no return to its exotic supercar racing roots (if Underground 2 hadn't done so already).
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The surreal Ambush event intros in Most Wanted 2012.
  • Critical Dissonance: Criterion's game was highly-rated by critics and won several driving/racing game of the year awards, but a portion of the Need for Speed fanbase as well as some of the Burnout fanbase hated it with a passion all the way back to when it was first announced. It's mitigated somewhat by the fact that the game was the seventh-best selling game of November 2012 in the U.S. (and that's not accounting for PC and digital sales), the fifth-best selling game in the UK on the week of its release (the fourth-highest new title for the week), outperformed 2011's The Run in sales, and won the 2012 Spike Video Game Award for Best Driving Game.note  That means that there could have been just a Vocal Minority complaining about the reboot, with of course a Silent Majority supporting the game.
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  • Demonic Spiders: Rhinos in 2005. They're nothing more than SUVs that attempt to hit you head-on at higher heat levels, but if they do, you're pretty much guaranteed to be swarmed by other police cars. Once that happens, you need to be very lucky to break out of the ensuing dogpile.
  • Fandom Rivalry: In 2012, between the fans of Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2012 and of Forza Horizon. These two games are completely different, but they have exited around the same time (during Halloween and All Saints Day), share a lot of the same cars (even in later DLC for both games), are open world racers and, the straw that broke the camel's back, they both have a song in common: "The Power" by DJ Fresh and Dizzee Rascal.
    • Of course, as this page has detailed, there's also a rivalry between both Most Wanted games' fans.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • The BMW M3 GTR manages to be one in both games, though only for multiplayer and only because of the unique circumnstances surrounding it. In the 2005 game, it is an otherwise average car that becomes irredeemably broken if Catch Up is enabled. Catch Up reduces all player's cars' performance upgrades to the weakest-tuned car; the BMW M3 GTR is labeled as a stock car by the game (and is, in fact, untunable), which means it has a Nitrous tank and a turbo system while every other car doesn't, giving it a massive advantage. In the 2012 game, the BMW M3 GTR is part of the Race class, which is composed by cars with excellent acceleration and cornering abilities in exchange of a terrible top speed that cannot reach 300 km/h even with Long Gears - the BMW M3 GTR does not have such a limitation, while its acceleration and handling are still on par.
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    • Without Catch Up, the Porsche Carrera GT in 2005 is the absolute strongest car in the game, with excellent top speed, acceleration and handling, whereas most cars are lacking in at least one of those three traits. It's practically impossible to defeat a Carrera GT without using another one, hence it's often banned in competitions. The second car that tends to be banned is, surprisingly, the Lotus Elise - it retains its trademark outstanding handling, but in 2005 it can trust on its surprisingly good top speed and acceleration so that, if the Carrera GT is banned, then the Elise will be invincible.
    • On a similar vein, the Hennessey Venom GT in 2012 has the highest top speed and acceleration in the game and solid handling to keep the former traits under control. If it's available on a track, it holds the world record - no question on that. If the Koenigsegg Agera R is the Infinity +1 Sword of the non-DLC cars (Being "just" the second best car), then the Venom is the Infinity Plus Two Sword of the whole game.
    • The Audi Clubsport Quattro in 2012. It has an engine with 496bhp and a 0-100km/h time of 3.7s, but it also has all wheel drive, enabling it to go off-road without issues, especially with off-road tires. Adding to this, it's built like a tank, making it great for pursuit racing. The only thing keeping it down is that it is slower compared to the other cars, but that's nothing the Long Gears upgrade cannot fix. Oh, and unlike the BMW and the Hennessey which are both DLC, the Clubsport is in the game from the get go, and can easily be found just moments after starting the game.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: According to research done by the staff of NFS, the Italian players of Most Wanted 2012 play for the most of the time with the Lamborghini Aventador, Pagani Huayra and Alfa Romeo 4C Concept. They also drive the Aston Martin V12 Vantage more than any other player in the world.
  • Good Bad Bugs: At the highest heat level in 2005, the helicopter will sometimes swoop down in front of you, just barely over the road, to try to get you to stop. If it hits any cars (or semis) like this, they'll go flying into the air, while the helicopter won't budge.
    • One very useful bug in 2012 is to change mods after hitting the apex of a billboard jump to extend your distance and prevent your car from leaning too much forward doing so.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The infamous M3 GTR sure didn't have much luck in the game's storyline, but that's nothing when you read about BMW E46 owners in Real Life complaining about their M3's undercarriage subframes cracking up rather easily, making some think twice about getting an M3.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: So the fifteen best drivers are called the Blacklist, huh? Wonder if Red Reddington has ever been to Rockport.
  • Memetic Mutation: One of Razor's lines about betting "five grand — FIVE GRAND!" against the player character in one of the opening cutscenes of the 2005 game is an inside joke at Giant Bomb that comes up whenever a NFS game is in the news.
    • "First I'm gonna take your ride, then I'm gonna take your girl," from the 2005 game is almost always referenced when someone talks about the game just for its sheer Narm factor.
    • EVERYONE!
  • Most Annoying Sound: While the BMW M3 GTR's sound design in 2005 was hailed as one of the best in the series, the transmission whine can get pretty aggravating to some (specially that "scraping" noise every time you speed up). This is significantly toned down in the 2012 installment, even though it's still audible yet tolerable.
    • Sgt. Cross' radio chatter when you reach Heat Level 5 or 6.
    • Razor's taunting as you progress the game.
  • Narm/Narm Charm: The 2005 game's story was, er... not that good in all honesty. However, thanks to the somewhat memorable characters and their sayings in the cutscenes and audio clips, some fans would rather have the 2005's game's Excuse Plot over the lack of a plot in the 2012 game.
  • Nostalgia Filter: One of the reasons why Criterion's Most Wanted wasn't as warmly received.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: The 2005 game by late EA Black Boxnote  is highly-preferred over Criterion's game by several fans.
  • Player Punch: In Most Wanted 2005 you were trying to get your BMW M3 GTR back. At the beginning of Carbon, it gets trashed.
  • Polished Port: Criterion did put a lot of care into hardware support for their Most Wanted.
    • Most Wanted U for Wii U was meant to be this, considering it looks much nicer than the earlier console versions and has the sweet GamePad features. However, without any DLC releases to that version beyond the on-disc standard inclusion of the Ultimate Speed Pack due to a lack of sales for the platform, former Criterion Games vice president Alex Ward blasted both EA and Nintendo saying that they screwed over the Wii U version.
    • Before the Wii U version's release, the same game also had a version for PlayStation Vita that was really the full console version with only a few graphical drawbacks, as well as an additional ten exclusive events added in. It goes to show how good Criterion is at working with various hardware.
    • In fact, all versions each contain their own exclusive features. Xbox 360 uses Kinect for tight voice control integration with EasyDrive (though it's single-player only and you'll want to be careful saying anything that sounds like the word "map"), the PlayStation 3 version contains PlayStation Move support (but you need a wheel accessory in addition to the Move controller and PlayStation Eye), and the Windows version has twelve-player online multiplayer and the best graphics overall with sixty frames-per-second support.
  • Sacred Cow: Black Box's 2005 original was so sacred that it caused a massive backlash over Criterion's 2012 remake practically the moment it was announced simply because it didn't play anything like the 2005 game.
    • And don't even think about dissing the 2005 game's soundtrack.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: The crashes in 2012. They are frustratingly frequent, not as pretty to look at as in Criterion's Burnout series or Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (most use the same boring camera sweep over and over again), and the cutscenes take way too long to get over with. It gets worse if you crash just after completing an event, lengthening the time it takes for the game to take your car out of being crashed.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Criterion's Most Wanted is a perfectly competent game if one can get past the lack of aftermarket customization, the crashes, and the different drifting and handling mechanics compared to both the 2005 original and the Burnout games (especially Burnout Paradise).
  • Song Association:
    • The 2005 game was this for Celldweller ("Shapeshifter"), Bullet for My Valentine ("Hand of Blood") and Suni Clay ("In a Hood Near You"), among others. Also, a few Avenged Sevenfold fans would come play it for "Blinded in Chains".
    • The 2012 game sort of, though not entirely, helped Icona Pop's "I Love It" garner attention in the United States and United Kingdom. So if you're an American or British gamer, you could say that you've loved it before it was cool. The game is also this for Muse's "Butterflies and Hurricanes" thanks to its use in the opening.
  • Tainted by the Preview: When Criterion's Most Wanted was shown to be like Burnout Paradise instead of the original Most Wanted at E3 2012, a good amount of Need for Speed fans got really upset about it. Also inverted by some fans who got excited for the game because of the similarities to Paradise.
  • That One Level: In the 2012 game, three Speed Run events, "Downgraded", "The Getaway" and "Needle Point" are easily the hardest events in the game. This is because of:
    • Being Speed Run events. These in and of themselves run counter to the design of the game, which usually encourages a "by any means necessary" style of driving. If you have to plow through some scenery or bang up against the walls or your opponents then it's usually more advantageous than playing it safe. However in a Speed Run event you're tasked with maintaining a certain average speed, thus demanding precision driving to keep your speed up.
    • They often show up as "Hard" difficulty events, meaning you're going to be hitting a high speed target (in the area of 120 MPH normally for Downgraded, up to about 150 MPH for Needle Point). Unless you get a really good run going, you're barely going to be above the threshold by the final curve. The high speed target also demands a very clean run in order to avoid losing speed (so even the occasional traffic bump can be the difference between winning and losing). Some Speed Runs are more tolerant of mistakes but not here.
    • Now for the events themselves: Downgraded takes place on a very unruly course full of blind turns, narrow roads, and requiring some keen cornering skills; The Getaway has a very rough beginning where you keep switching between on and off-road sections (and a nasty jump that will punish you if you don't take the stairs well), and has a blind turn through a shortcut while you go at very high speeds (if you are driving the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport or the Koenigsegg Agera R); Needle Point puts you on the fastest cars in the game through crowded highway sections at over 200 MPH on several points, police Corvettes that try to T-Bone you, several jumps that, if you don't brake, will end with your car crashing on a wall (God forbid if you are using Aero Body Pro), and a noticeable off-road section (when your cars are terrible in that aspect, even with Off-Road Tires Pro) where you have to make sure you don't fall. These make it very difficult to maintain your speed consistently if you're keeping in mind the above (that, being a Speed Run, precise driving is a must). You're going to have to hit certain sections just right lest you set yourself up to botch the section immediately after.
    • There's a modicum of Luck-Based Mission at work here due to the traffic pattern. You might get a great traffic pattern that keeps the obstructing cars out of the way for most of the event or you may get saddled with an awful traffic pattern that throws cars at you at the worst times (coming around one of the blind turns or having both lanes occupied at the same time with no good exit strategy).
    • These elements come together to create a perfect storm of annoying circumstances. You're basically doing a No-Damage Run in a game where that is virtually impossible. The precision and the hope that the traffic is on your side can result in many restarts as you keep getting tripped up on one thing or another.
    • Collecting bounties and milestones in the 2005 game. While it's alright at first few Blacklists since you probably going to rack up a lot of bounty in single pursuit, latter Blacklists slowly become tedious as the requirements for said blacklist becomes harder-and-harder until it finally you got to hit Ronnie and had to rack up to over half a-million bounty per-pursuit, and that's just one of the many milestones you had to fulfill before you can challenge Ronnie. Even if you managed to beat the crap out of Ronnie in fashion, everything went worse after that, with Razor himself requires you to rack up 10 million bounty just for the requirement alone.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Poor Most Wanted 2012. One must wonder What Could Have Been the fan reception for that game if it didn't have the 2005 game's title.
  • Unexpected Vehicles: Regarding 2012, no one really expected to drive an entry-level pickup truck (the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, although there were drivable pickups in Nitro) and three street-legal, high-performance roadsters (the Ariel Atom 500 V8, the Briggs Automotive Company [BAC] Mono, and the Caterham 7 Superlight R500, though the last one previously appeared in Shift 2: Unleashed) in a Need for Speed title. Other unexpected cars include the Marussia B2 (made by Russia's first supercar manufacturer), the Range Rover Evoque (The latest drivable SUV in an NFS game since Underground 2), the Shelby AC Cobra 427 (a classic roadster), and the Hennessey Venom GT Spyder.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome/What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Most Wanted 2012 has some seriously trippy cutscenes.
    • The pre-race cutscenes for the "Most Wanted" events border on Product Placement, using similar graphical effects to what you might find in a car commercial, giving you an indulgent look at your opponent's ride.

Carbon:

  • Magnificent Bastard: Darius is the leader of the notorious Stacked Deck street racing crew in Palmont City. Bailing the Player Character out, Darius has him race other crew leaders so he can take control of their territories and sells the player out to the bounty hunter, Nathan Cross, once he is of no use to him. It's been revealed that Darius caused the event that tarnished the player's reputation by tipping off the police of a street race the player was participating in, switched the money bag, and letting the player escape Palmont. When Darius learns that Nikki made a deal with Cross to free the player, he recruits the fallen crew leaders to Stacked Deck and has them race the player before racing him personally. With his cunning only matched by his racing skills, Darius nearly defeats the player on the track before accepting his defeat with grace merely telling the player to enjoy his victory while it last as there's always someone out there who's a little faster than him and eventually they're gonna catch up.
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