Need for Speed Most Wanted is the Right & Wrong of Sony’s Vita

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Need for Speed Most Wanted arrived late last year on the Vita; it’s just now that I’m getting my hands on it.

Part of me loves it. Rarely is a console port this clean. Sure, the resolution has taken a hit, but the liveliness of the city, the intensity of the speed, and treacherous makeshift courses are splendid on the small screen. Even the open world is intact, including those often bizarre design ideals that shift the game’s focus whenever you slip into a new car.

Part of me also hates it. I just played this game on my console, and any drop in quality makes me wonder why I’m simply not firing up the 360 or PS3 to play the same game. The smart phone version of Most Wanted cuts the open world aspects, delivering similar style but more direct pacing. I don’t feel like I’m simply recycling play sessions on my phone, whereas the Vita – even down the tutorials and fonts – is a total port.

I’ve written before about how spoiled portable gamers can be now as opposed to then. Game Boy ports of Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter II were hilarious in their antiquity, but they were a break. There was that point in the Game Boy Advance and DS era where console ports to handhelds were sort of half breeds. Maybe sprites were needed, or a little ingenuity to create the same sense of design.

Now, it’s the same thing in the your hand. Maybe that’s why people are not interested in the Vita?

As a kid, of course I wished for this. As a writer who plays everything, the thought of playing the same thing twice just because it’s on a different platform is frustrating. It’s like playing through the entirety of the 360 version of Most Wanted and then the PlayStation 3.

This should not take away from the developers who toiled away on the Vita port; kudos to you good sirs and mams. There remains a part of me nostalgic for the outlier ports I guess.

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