Need for Speed: Most Wanted Tweak Guide

Author: Koroush Ghazi

Last Modified: March 2007


The Need for Speed series is one of the classics of gaming. Starting out in 1994 with the original Need for Speed, and working through such titles as Need for Speed SE, II, III, High Stakes, Porsche Unleashed, Hot Pursuit 2 and the Underground I and II series, this game has gone from accurate simulation to arcadey racer to street racer over the years, and has now arrived at a watershed: NFS:MW takes elements from all the previous versions and blends them together to try to please both the original "purist" fans of the game, and the more recent street racing fans.

To start with, NFS:MW returns to the "Hot Pursuit" formula of incorporating wild police chases, but takes it further by giving you much more freedom to pretty much go anywhere you want to - through paddocks, motel courtyards, golf courses, petrol stations and just about anywhere else. It also has various pursuit modes, not just a straight chase down the highway. For the street racers, it includes tuning elements from Underground, and other similar themes to suit the genre. For the original NFS purists, there are lap races over set tracks, and of course thankfully there is an option to turn off that damn "Catchup mode" which drove many people crazy in previous generations of NFS.

I think fans of the game will have mixed feelings when they first play NFS:MW. Personally I think it has the best graphics I've seen in a racing game bar none, it has a lot more freedom than any previous racing-focused game (not counting games like Midtown Madness and Mafia Freeride mode of course), and it isn't too "ricey" to put off those of us who aren't as much into street racing culture. However by trying to be all things to all people, it may earn scorn for not being "pure" enough in any one particular racing genre. And of course all that fancy graphics can bring down even the highest of high-end systems, bringing with it complaints that EA focused too much on the pretty and not enough on the gritty.

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Which is where this guide comes in. The guide focuses on giving you the rundown on how the various in-game settings affect image quality and performance through a series of screenshot comparisons and performance discussions. It also provides the advanced tweaking possible in the game via the Windows Registry, and it rounds these out with some troubleshooting tips and general performance optimization information which should help you squeeze the most out of the game on your machine. Give it a run-through and you'll see what I mean.

Note: This guide refers to the latest retail version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted Version 1.3. Make sure to check back regularly for updates.