Thrill-seeking racing fans are in for a visual treat if they're playing the PC version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, as Criterion has added numerous improvements to graphics and player support. "The move to DX11 from DX9 has given us around a 300% improvement in rendering performance," said Criterion's Leanne Loombe. Compared to consoles, the PC platform's flexibility allowed the developers to make far more complex effects such as detailed shadows and reflections, along with a better image-based lighting model. "The increased power of DirectX 11 hardware has also allowed us to implement features such as real-time ambient occlusion, and light scattering algorithms which are absent in the console version."
Compared to the consoles' maximum multiplayer limit of eight players, the PC version comes with support for up to 12 players. Those armed with no-holds-barred rigs will benefit from high-quality DirectX 11 features such as "SAO, light scattering, high dynamic range motion blur, high resolution textures, advanced specular lighting models, headlight shadow casting, enhanced VFX quality, and enhanced shadow quality levels." Fortunately for those still holding on to their RADEON 3870s or GEFORCE 8800 GTs, the game should still run well enough. As the trailer below suggests, the latest Need for Speed: Most Wanted follows its predecessor's proven formula of high-octane getaways and challenging races.