Basically, Burnout Paradise re-skinned, innit.
Ok, not much of a review, rethink. I have to confess to not playing the original Most Wanted, but I was a BIG fan of Burnout up until Paradise. So, open-world racing. I LOVED Burnout Revenge, but when Paradise came out, it irritated the hell out of me. See, for me, racing games are about learning the courses, figuring out the best lines to take, shaving seconds of your time, and learning the best places to take out rivals or overtake. The whole open-world racing idea kills this factor and instead lets you do whatever the hell you want. Which is great, if you want to crash a lot, drive around aimlessly and socialise.
Unfortunately for me, I have 3 small children who have driven all my friends away, so I only really get to play single player, and a large part of Most Wanted (as with Burnout Paradise) is very geared towards community play. Don't get me wrong, the single player is great, but I also dislike that its constantly waving it's multiplayer integration in your face. I have no friends, I don't want to know, I just want to race from A to B and have a consistant race experience.
So those are the downsides. Upsides are that as with all Criterion games, handling is fantastic, the breadth of cars is phenomenal, the graphics are stunning and there are a lot of little touches that really add to the experience. It actually is a lot of fun when it all comes together it approaches the greatness of the earlier Burnout canon.
Personally though, I can't get past the open world problem. It's all too aimless for me.... Techically excellent though.