About 5+ years ago, I got this on release, and played this on Xbox 360. I hated it. I absolutely thought it was the worst game that could have ever been produced.
Recently I bought this at a Steam sale, thinking that I might as well just put down my $5 into some random cheap racing game, hoping it would provide even an hours entertainment. I'm so happy with this purchase. I regret my constant stream of hate.
Granted, this is definately not the pinnicle of NFS (Underground 2/Most Wanted 2005 will always be), and that's clear through some poor design desicions regarding the lack of a main menu, the fact you can't change graphics quality until you actually get to play the game (about 5 minutes of cutscenes), and even the fact that there's too much bloom and there's some weird glitches with the lights floating a la Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing.
But, with all the negatives said and done, this...this is the most fun I've had in a racing game in years. It seems like the devs tried to be as faithful as they could to Most Wanted, while still moving forward with the rest of the game. The cars control FANTASTICALLY on PC compared to console, and the selection of vehicles is awesome, especially considering the Bugatti Veyron (which, gladly thanks to the Master Events balancing the field, isn't game-breaking). The length of the game is awesome, with a huge amount of things to do. The police chases are fantastic, and polished much further than Most Wanted (admittadely though, I'll always prefer the down-right hilariously poor AI of Most Wanted's cops, and their over-the-top voice acting).
Overall, this really probably didn't recieve a lot of the backlash it got from fans. If you're a Most Wanted fan who has been disillusioned with the Need for Speed franchise as of late, you can do no harm in buying this game and reliving a time just before Criterion broke everything. And before The Run existed...