Picked this up for 5 euro's which is about as much i would pay for this game.
So, the goal of the game seems to be to reach the highest ranking as either or both the racer and the cop, unlocking new cars in the progress. You will achieve both by doing races, including a variety of new cars which you then can race with. Well.. which you can sometimes race with I must say, because for some reason the game has its own preferences for cars and in some races you are just left with 1 pick (while the game shows you more unlocked cars, which you can't pick for some reason).
Then, there is no customization (sigh). A really big letdown for me, since this was what made the game series unique and was the biggest part of the reward system. This was what kept you playing, unlocking a new car, using your money to put some spoilers, wheels, neon lights etc. on it to make it your personal driving monster. Not being able to do this also made it less rewarding to unlock new cars like the dodge camaro, which is one of my favorite cars.
So what about the leveling system, or the ranking system if you will.. well.. you unlock new cars and some new abilities (which you can only use for specific races), but thats pretty much it.. I felt no difference being a level 1 or a level 4 other than maybe difficulty.. Its just not rewarding enough anymore, since we all expect more.. If this game wasn't part of the nfs series, it would've been so much better.
The graphics look average at best. I guess there went more time in actually letting players drive cars then the actual looks, which saddens me if i look back into the series. Most of the nfs games had pretty damn good graphics for their time, especially for a racing game. This wouldn't have bothered me as much if it were only the landscape, it is also the car models. I've seen way better looking car models in the older nfs's and I don't expect a game series like nfs's size to go worse in graphics.
Ok.. so far for the bad stuff.. lets recap a sec: there is (in my opinion) no real goal in the game other than winning races and gaining rank. The rewards are race specific abilities and cars, which are less rewarding since you can't even customize them. The graphics are average at best, the cars being the biggest let down for me (graphics wise).
So what is GOOD about the game, why should you buy it if you dissagree with the above? well.. the racing is pretty good, I love the drifting and the way nitro works in this game. It adds alot of tactic/strategy to the racing, which is cool. You can cut alot of turns or you can try and always get nitro back by driving against traffic, closely passing by cars and drifting (against traffic). Drifiting also is really important. You shouldn't always drift, and when drifting you get the choice of the optimal route or the route where you get the most nitro of.
So its up to you. my advice: if you look for a nfs game, just stay with carbon, it had really nice driving, police chases were epic (throwing wood of trucs to cut them off etc.), customization was still in the game and the game had somewhat of a story/sense of progression. If you are just looking for a racing game, don't really care about customization or graphics, but just (unrealistic) racing. Then this is your game. And ofcourse.. if you have 5 bucks spare.. you can look yourself and see if you share my opinion ^^!