"Need for Speed: Most Wanted" is a type of game that has absolutely NOTHING in common with a realistic car simulation. You might find some of its features rather unusual, especially if you were playing more complicated games in the past, similar to "Juiced" or "S.C.A.R.". In these products you had to concentrate most of your attention on a proper car handling. "Most Wanted", on the other hand, will require you to know the tracks. Furthermore, you will have to use shortcuts along the way. Otherwise you won't be able to win most of the challenges. I should also say that most of the presented cars have very similar handling. The same goes with their acceleration or the maximum speed. You will probably notice it near the end of the Career mode, where you will have an opportunity to buy all necessary parts. If you're lucky, you might even be able to win some of the toughest challenges in one of the older cars. The key is to have all of the performance upgrades installed, while the rest isn't that important.
Taking corners. Like I've said before, you will have to memorize the tracks and their shortcuts in order to win most of the challenges. Furthermore, you shouldn't forget about the possibility of using a map of the area. It's visible on your screen all the time. The map itself becomes very useful in the early stages of the career, while most of the tracks may surprise you in a few spots. You should remember about one thing, though. Not all of the shortcuts have been marked on the map. The same goes with some of the junctions. As for the corners, you should be able to pass through most of them only by getting your foot off the gas pedal. You won't even have to use your brakes. It's mostly because of the arcade car handling. Most of the vehicles act as if they were glued somehow to the track. You don't need to worry about getting involved in any crashes or spins. Use the brakes ONLY if the corner you're trying to take is VERY tight and narrow. You should avoid any contact with the surrounding barriers, because they might slow you down significantly. The other important factor has already been mentioned in the previous Chapter of this game guide. You should be able to cut through most of the corners. Remember that moving onto the surrounding grass WON'T slow you down in any way. The same goes with fast courves. It's best to keep a straight line, rather than trying to keep to the main road.
Performance tuning. You might want to think that this game doesn't allow you to make any modifications to your vehicle. Well, you're wrong. These options are available, however you won't even have to use them in order to secure victory. I can assure you that winning ALL of the challenges without messing in these options is POSSIBLE, however it won't hurt to take a closer look at them. In order to do that you will have to pause the race and choose the correct option from the game menu.
You will be presented with a list of possible modifications (up to seven). Their availability depends on the number of performance upgrades of your car, so don't worry if you won't have an opportunity to do something at the start of the Career mode. Steering bar will help you to modify how should the car respond to your actions. If you decide to increase this value you will be able to go through sharper turns more easily. You should be doing it at the start of each race. The only exception is when a track has a lot of straight lines. In that case you might consider decreasing the value. Handling bar allows you to manipulate cars abilities during corners. You can either decide that it will slide easily or drive in a more stable manner. I'd personally recommend the second option, especially since there are no Drift races in "Most Wanted". You'd only want this option active during that kind of races. The brake bar allows you to manipulate how the car should be stopped, however in my personal opinion this is completely useless. You don't have to be interested in this aspect of the performance tuning, because the differences would be minimal. Suspension bar allows to pick the height of your ride. Having the suspension lowered will certainly improve its handling, however you might have some problems during races with a lot of holes, bumps or typical shortcuts. The Aerodynamics bar allows you to manipulate between two different aspects - grip (recommended on tracks with a lot of sharp corners) and maximum speed (freeways or other races with a lot of straight lines). The answers are quite obvious, I think. The Nitro bar allows to you manipulate how powerful should this installation be. You can either choose a less powerful, but longer nitro or the opposite. I'd personally recommend having a "strong" nitro, because only then you will be able to outrun other cars or police vehicles. The turbocharger bar helps you to set when does the maximum torque should appear. It depends on when you need more power - on tracks filled with a lot of fast sections or those with a lot of difficult corners. You shouldn't have any problems with picking a most suitable setting. Remember than you can skip ANY of these modifications. The differences between possible values aren't that obvious, so you won't be able to achieve or lose too much by picking different settings.
Using shortcuts. This has always been one of the most important elements of the "NFS" game and it's certainly no different in "Most Wanted". Thankfully, you should be able to notice most of the shortcuts on your personal map. Furthermore, I've shown their locations in the first Chapter of this guide. I'd recommend using these spots during races. The shortcuts can be divided to two different groups. The first one includes small passages. You won't gain too much by choosing these paths, so you have to ask yourself a very important question - should I risk hitting one of the surrounding objects? You will only be able to extend the lead in a minimal way. The second group of shortcuts includes significantly longer and more complicated paths. talking of back alleys or jumps that will allow you to save up even a few additional seconds. In these cases I'd REALLY recommend taking the necessary risk. If you are able to pull it off you might gain a lot of precious seconds. I must warn you, though. At some point of the Career you will have to start using ALL visible shortcuts, because the opponents won't be making any mistakes. Furthermore, they will be using these paths in order to take the lead away from you.
Other drivers. Sadly, other drivers in "Most Wanted" doesn't know the rules of fair play. They will be cheating A LOT, especially when you're getting closer to the finish line. You have to be very careful in these kinds of situations. Even a smallest mistake might take the victory from you. Furthermore, you will have to repeat the race from the beginning. You can avoid most of these cheats during quick races by turning off the Catch-Up feature. Sadly, you won't be able to do the same thing in the Career mode. The most important thing is to observe your opponents. You have to be concentrated all the time, even if you have a rather comfortable lead. The other cars may catch up to within a matter of few seconds... even if you're driving with a maximum possible speed. You're probably wondering how to deal with these kinds of problems. First of all, you should be using shortcuts along the way. You can't afford making too much mistakes. Hitting one of the surrounding barriers is not welcome. You might also consider crashing into other cars, especially when taking sharp turns. Bear in mind that these manoeuvres are VERY risky. Finally, you may try pushing other cars to the surrounding objects.
Traffic. Thankfully, in most cases the traffic is not that thick as you might have probably suspected. As a result, you won't have to worry about this element of "Most Wanted" too much. Nonetheless, you can't ignore it. Crashing into other cars isn't something terrible. You'll lose some speed, but overall it's not that bad. The only exception are bigger trucks. You HAVE TO avoid them at all costs, because they will slow you down in a significant way. You should also remember that during some of the police chases.
Other objects. You will be encountering all kinds of objects during the Career mode. Thankfully, you should be able to destroy of push most of them. Furthermore, you should be doing this during some of the police chases, because that way you will be able to score some extra points (needed to complete additional milestones). You have to be careful, though. Some of the objects can't be moved in any way. I'm talking mostly about the trees surrounding some of the freeways. You will have to avoid them at all costs, especially while taking part in all sorts of races.
Speedbreaker & Nitro. Both of these options are worth looking that. In my personal opinion nitro is by far one of the most useful elements of this game. You will be using during most of the races and police pursuits. Remember that the nitro can regenerate, especially when you're in the lead. It should motivate you to leave the rest of the pack behind. Thanks to that, you will be able to escape them after a tougher corner or an unexpected mistake. There are few types of Nitro installations in the game. Some of them will be unlocked later in the Career mode. I'd recommend buying them as soon as it is possible. The second element is the Speedbreaker feature. Bear in mind that it lasts only for a few seconds. Furthermore, the Speedbreaker regenerates a lot longer than the usual Nitro. You should be using it near some very difficult corners and during police chases.