Have you ever picked up a game from a bargain bin, back in the days before Steam sales, just on a whim? Out of a little pool of obscure titles, picking up one you've never heard of, and giving it a shot just because you can, and it's cheap. And sometimes, it'd be mediocre, or broken. But sometimes, you'd end up with an awesome experience that you'd never have come across otherwise. This game, in my opinion, is the latter case.
It's a budget title, sure. That shows through in quite a few occasions, be it skyscrapers abruptly appearing with a low draw distance, or the hard-to-place voice acting. But as far as outright fun goes, the game only spends the first half pretending at all that the story is anything but an excuse to put you in increasingly preposterous vehicles and doing awesome things.
Many game mechanics are introduced, and some instructions seem to be outright missing from the game (when tailing someone in the open world, for example, you must destroy their car when the timer runs out, despite no hint that you should do so unless you fail to). But overall, this is an arcade racer at the very core of it. Some control issues (those of you using 360 controllers must use the D-Pad to scroll through menus), poor design choices (you must go back to the menus to go back into the open world when you've finished a mission) and strange missions (collecting tickets from cameras to pay off collateral damage costs?) hamper the experience a bit, but the core racing and pursuit is fun.
There is a point where the main story stops taking itself seriously. You will know the exact line where this happens. At that point, it becomes much, much more fun. Treat it like a campy romp through the Autobahn, with the excessive driving of an 80's TV show and the pyrotechnics of a Michael Bay movie, and you'll get exactly that. And a monster truck. You also get a monster truck. So there's that.
You unlock more tracks and cars by playing through the game, and while there are plenty of street races on the open highway, there are also legitimate race courses, which add a nice variety to the overall experience. You can take on races with undercover cop cars, tuners, a Formula 1 car, and armored trucks, so you can make any race as intense or as preposterous as you'd like. I can't vouch for the multiplayer experience, having yet to try this with someone else, but from my single-player look at Single Race mode, it seems pretty solid. Reminds me of the classic NFS games, especially with mods that let you drive firetrucks and such.
In short, a surprisingly intense thrill ride on the cheap, with some design quirks here and there that may strike you as odd, but aren't nearly bad enough to make this game hard at all to recommend. Also, cool original soundtrack.