Besides most Mario Kart games and TrackMania, I don't play racing games. Maybe it's because, like sports games, they emulate reality on a level that I don't find fun, maybe it's because I'm terrible at them, maybe it's because my gaming time isn't something I can just share between every game in existence, having tried NFS:MW, I think there is pretty good stuff in today's driving games, even tho I can't help but feel like they're missing part of their potential audience.
The extra stuff is great, except...
A big thing about these games nowadays is asynchronous multiplayer, your friends beat races, you see their records, if you beat them you get experience. You see stats for pretty much every challenge in the game and you're always reminded that so and so did great and you should challenge them. You also have plenty of little challenges such as driving against traffic for 7 km or drifting a lot, and they give you experience also, you need these points to be able to drive against tougher opponents and then become the Most Wanted. You also gain experience and gear (tires, chassis, boost) for completing races in certain rankings, which is a nice idea and would encourage replayability to get everything, beat your scores until you have the best ones and beat all of your friends in the process.
That being said, there are a few problems with that system, first of all, I don't have many friends on origin and even if this was on Steam, I wouldn't have that much people playing NFS in there, so my lists of challenges and times to beat would be really short, which removes some of the fun of driving these maps. Another thing I found weird is that the challenges the game throws your way for extra exp don't work all the time. After doing the driving against traffic one, my Internet connection went down and that somehow was enough to prevent me from getting more challenges, why is this on a server?
How I would fix this
If your friend list is too small, this should pull from global leaderboards. Show you the people around your times and make you motivated to beat them and go up in exp and rank. I don't care if I'm beating my internet friend's scores or the scores of complete strangers, I'll still try to master the race until I get better at it to get up a few ranks until I can't do it anymore. There's not going to be office rivalry over this, but I'm not sure if I care.
And for the online issue, ironically a bit like sim city, leave the challenges offline, no need for a server to select what random thing I can do to gain more experience, it's as doable offline.
The game doesn't help
I'm really bad at NFS:MW. I crash and crash and crash some more, I can't do turns, I bump into everything, I get busted by cops, I miss jumps, I get frustrated then I stop playing. After crashing for the tenth time during the second race and being dumped back to 8th place yet again, I called it quits. At no point did the game stop and ask me if I wanted a tutorial on the basic concepts of how to play it, all they said was "Right Trigger for gas, Left Trigger for brakes, here you go". Alright, I understand that racing games aren't rocket science and that driving is pretty straightforward, but if I can't do it, why not take me back a little and show me some tutorials? Am I driving too fast? Do I need to brake to turn? What about drifting? Is there a way to avoid crashes? I seriously don't know.
Also, why are there cops so soon? I'm trying to get my handle on how to play the game and boom, car chase, I crash a few times then get busted.
How I would fix this
Simply add some guides, some tutorials here and there. I've heard about other games with lines on the road to show you the best path you should take with different colors to tell you if you're going too fast and things like that, it would've helped me in that case. I tried my best and yet, couldn't get it.
There's a weird dichotomy with the style of game this is
As I see it, NFS:MW is a game where you do races multiple times to beat your friend's score, it's a game where crashes are not the end of the world - even tho I found them very frustrating - and it's a game where you constantly try to better yourself to get more exp, better gear from races and just beat the leaderboards.
Then why does everything take so much time? Why is the "crashed" animation unskippable? Why isn't there a way to quickly restart any race or event? I did try to beat a friend's score and there was nothing more annoying than having to go into a menu, select 'restart' then watch 5-10 seconds of loading before I could restart the race. Why not do it like TrackMania? You hit a button, the race starts anew. You hit a button, the 'crashed' animation ends and you're on the track again. Oh, I get it, the crashed animation is there to hide loading.
How I would fix this
Well, like I said... Give the players way to get back into driving, because I'm sure that if you're good at it, it's all you want to do.