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First Impressions: Need for Speed Nitro

Posted by James Newton

Leader of the pack?

There are very few serious driving games of note on Wii - the machine is undoubtedly missing its Forza Motorsport, Gran Turismo or Race Driver: Grid - and EA's latest in the Need for Speed franchise does little to address this problem. Whilst 360 and PS3 owners can play the generally well-received NFS: Shift, Nintendo gamers are being given a very different racer in the form of Nitro, a less serious take on the genre that combines familiar elements from the series into a new, more accessible title for the Nintendo market.

We played with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo, although Wii Wheel support is also in. You steer with the control stick and activate your boost by shaking the Remote - although it seems a little old-fashioned to play a racing game with the control stick, it does generally give you much tighter control over your racer, although the gimmick of shaking to boost is even more old-fashioned. Classic Controller and Gamecube pad support is also confirmed, giving you the widest possible choice of control methods barring a car with a built-in Wii.

Generally the races are standard fare against a pack of up to seven other racers, although to spice things up you can collect Police badges that act as weapons, allowing you to unleash some justice on your rivals with a quick push of the Z button. Of course, other racers will be looking to do this to you, so it becomes a matter of arrest or be arrested as the Police cars zoom around the track, getting in your way and generally trying to stop your crime-causing behaviour. Your car can only take a limited amount of damage before you have to retire from the race, but you can pick up repair power-ups handily dotted about the track, although CPU drivers can pick these up too so you'll often find yourself jostling for the pick-ups when in the middle of the pack

The track design is nothing out of the ordinary, although you can boost over the occasional ramps to speed past your opponents, gaining points that convert into extra nitro for your boost. You can also gain points for drifting and drafting, so skillful driving allows you to build up nitro ready for a race-winning burst of speed. The game however does look very polished, with some nice lighting effects and a very smooth frame rate, and certainly keeps up with other racers on the system.

We only had a short time to get a hands-on with Need for Speed Nitro and although it's not an unmitigated disaster it does come across as a little uninspired. Hopefully some further playtime will show the game in a more favourable light, but on this evidence it looks like the wait for Wii's champion racer continues.

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User Comments (33)

Objection

#1

Objection said:

Its too bad this title doesnt seem to deliver. There aren't many high quality racers on DS or DSiWare.
EDIT: Or Wii or Wiiware. :P

Roopa132

#2

Roopa132 said:

@O_B ever heard of Asphalt? That's retail and DSiWare and it's great.
And besides, this is Wii what has that to do with DS or DSiware?

Objection

#7

Objection said:

@Roopa-I said "not many." You were able to list one. I could say Mario Kart and someone could say maybe one more and that'd be it. But I did mean to include Wii and Wiiware, see edit above.

Shiryu

#8

Shiryu said:

They should have just called it Burnout Wii and be done with it. Looking quite forward to it, November 6th (EU) can't come soon enought. =)

Supermarioman

#9

Supermarioman said:

Mario Kart, Excite Truck, Excitebots....... DOH! Thats all we have that are Great Racers and their all arcade like! However I rather liked Need for Speed: Carbon and Pro Street, thats probably becuase I don't play many Need for Speed games! I do hope this will be at least decent!

M00se

#11

M00se said:

NO WII WHEEL!!! THATS STUPID!! A WII WHEEL WOULD EMERSE U IN THE GAME! ILL PASS!

JonWahlgrenAdmin

#13

JonWahlgren said:

I like the cop mechanic, but the rest sounds a little drab. Hopefully the full version is more inspired!

motang

#16

motang said:

I am huge fan of Gran Turismo series, and I am looking forward to 5 whenever that comes out. :P

I might check this one out when it's released.

Sean_Aaron

#17

Sean_Aaron said:

I'm still very curious about this game, but Excite Bots is crossing the Atlantic to me even as I type, so it just won't do to have a second racing game so soon!

Machu

#20

Machu said:

James, you were supposed to say how wicked and awesome it is. I'm not impressed.

brandonbwii

#22

brandonbwii said:

If EA wanted to make an accessible, arcade-style racer for the masses, why didn't they have the team work on a Burnout Wii instead.

I'm still holding on to a bit of hope for this title (there are a handful of cool things James forgot to mention like cosmetic customization and multiplayer). Still the hands-on was a bit of a buzzkill.

DarkEdi

#23

DarkEdi said:

I always like to see the places in car games. I hope it has a lot of good visuals and a nice control without a hundred car parts because it get bored. I like more to drive, see cities and compete (i wish wifi)

Sean_Aaron

#24

Sean_Aaron said:

@Chatham: totally. I get the same sensation of speed thrill from watching videos of Excite Bots as I do this and with images of Poker Races dancing in my head I've been wanting to get it for months.

This looks like it could be groovy with the car selection (the exotic Japanese imports are cars I routinely see on my way to work -- well WRX and Lancer Evolutions, anyway). Someday I hope someone will do a game with tricked-out Opels and Citroens, but in the meantime this may have to do...

James

#25

James said:

@everyone - this was only based on a really brief couple of races so as brandonbwii rightly points out, there's loads of stuff I didn't get chance to play so I've reserved comment on the multiplayer, customisation and Wii Wheel support (which is in!)

Sean_Aaron

#26

Sean_Aaron said:

I should have a Wii Wheel soon. I'm sceptical, but upon reflection it might well enhance the gameplay. If so then I'll be keen to check this one out. Anyone at EA reading this that wants to send a copy my way?

LEGEND_MARIOID

#27

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

The Wii Wheel does enhance the gameplay IMHO and so say many a hardcoreist I know. The fact a NFS game is on my radar is progress for the game in my point of view I guess.

Orgone

#28

Orgone said:

The patterns on the road looked cool but Burnout 2 is still superior than any NFS game so far.

ReddLionz

#31

ReddLionz said:

If this had Wi-Fi, it would be an insta-buy for me. But since it doesn't, I'm probably going to get New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

Sean_Aaron

#32

Sean_Aaron said:

If the RRP wasn't 39.99 I would use my GAME store credit for this, but that's a bit dear for my wallet.

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