News Article

Digital Foundry - Need For Speed: Most Wanted U Delivers as Definitive Console Version

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Nice one, Criterion

Earlier this year, highly respected developer Criterion stated that its release of Need for Speed: Most Wanted U would be based on the PC version, taking advantage of the technical improvements Wii U can offer over Xbox 360 and PS3. The technical capabilities of Wii U in comparison to these rivals has been hotly debated by some, not helped by some rather mediocre ports that perform slightly worse than alternative versions.

Criterion, for its part, has maintained a line that the Wii U is a thoroughly capable machine that, given the right effort and expertise, can deliver visually attractive and high-performance games. The studio's promises with this Need for Speed port have naturally been put to test by the Digital Foundry team, and the overall assessment is undoubtedly positive. The report states that while some lower priority assets are still of typical console quality, improved textures and lighting in some areas do contribute to be more comparable to the title's performance on a high-end PC. In some areas, the overall impression appears to be a middle-ground between older console versions and a top-of-the-range PC on its highest settings.

If you're interested in full details, including areas where the Wii U version is weaker or specifics on its generally more reliable frame rate, we recommend reading the full article; below is the conclusion.

All in all, having taken a decade-long break from Nintendo since the release of Burnout 2 on GameCube, Criterion Games has used the Wii U to conjure up the definitive console version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. It's not an overwhelming advance that matches the visual fidelity of the PC version in all regards, but additions and tweaks are numerous and well-considered. At no expense to the frame-rate, textures stand at the midway point in the quality spectrum, between the more blurry assets we're seeing on PS3 and 360 and the highest possible settings on PC. It's a worthwhile upgrade that extends to reflection draw too, with all other visual facets being identical, and the frame-rate coming away smoother regardless.

Tweaks to night-time lighting are welcome too, bringing a more natural darkness to the environments, while at the same time enhancing the look of directional lights. It's a bold change when compared to the more vibrant lighting of the previous releases, and crucially one which doesn't interfere with the core racing experience. There are shortcomings to the Wii U package that must be noted though; starting with the uncertain release schedule of future DLC, and the cut down to six players for online play. The lack of analogue triggers on both the GamePad and Classic Controller Pro may also be a factor for some, where re-mapping acceleration to the right analogue stick is a necessary workaround for those who prefer to modulate their speed.

In summary, this ranks as the version to get if those points can be overlooked. The conversion is a sound one, and GamePad features are well-implemented and useful - if not all absolutely essential. Many are luxuries, such as the ability to hop into any car immediately, which ultimately make exploring Fairview a much easier experience. Meanwhile, the inclusion of off-screen play brings this version to life in a way no other release can at this time. When considering the mixed quality of ports that have hit the Wii U so far, this ranks among the stronger and most committed efforts to cater for its strengths - a tradition we hope will long continue.

Beyond technical details or comparisons to other systems, we've written that this is "a stunning game, and one of the most visually impressive titles we've seen on the Wii U - or any console - to date." If you haven't already, you can see the full details of our strong recommendation for this title in our Need for Speed: Most Wanted U review.

[via eurogamer.net]

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User Comments (36)

Dreamcaster-X

#2

Dreamcaster-X said:

So nice of Criterion to show these other lazy developers that the Wii U can put out some serious pretty games, even if they are ports!! Thanks Criterion!!!

SkywardLink98

#3

SkywardLink98 said:

It's nice to see the Wii U getting some love after Battlefield 4 and the other games not getting ported to it.

WiiLovePeace

#4

WiiLovePeace said:

I haven't played any other version so I can't compare but I do think Most Wanted U is a brilliant, brilliant game & I absolutely love the gamepad features that simply adds truckloads to the racing experience imo. Online is amazingly intense with only 6 players anyway I think.

Dreamcaster-X

#5

Dreamcaster-X said:

Yeah, it is a visually stunning game & I loved what I've played but Monster Hunter keeps calling me back! =)

GiftedGimp

#6

GiftedGimp said:

While I was suprised at 6 online players compared to the 8 on Ps3 have to on the WiiU version I have had no problems with players being kicked, autolog sign-outs and various other online issues I and my freinds have experienced on the Ps3 version.
So Having less players is better in that regards, and only having 6 players doesn't make the WiiU version any less intense online.

I class this a different version than a 'port', like the xbox vs ps3 but technically it is a port, albeit a brilliant one and as great as it looks its worth remembering if it was built ground up for the WiiU it would probably look/play even better.
If anything nfsmw is a taster of whats to come in the future of WiiU, and it looks really good.

SteveW

#7

SteveW said:

See what happens when developers care! :)

At least the EA DRM nightmares haven't reached the Wii U yet... has it?

AVahne

#8

AVahne said:

I'm still surprised EA allowed Criterion to do a good job with this game. Considering everything else EA has been blocking from the Wii U, this is a nice surprise.

Ambassador_Kong

#11

Ambassador_Kong said:

Strangely enough, I play this more than Monster Hunter and I really like Monster Hunter. Need For Speed puts the lie to all those developers that claim the WiiU isn't strong enough to port their Xbox games.

Sorry, the systems are changing and that means all developers need to learn a new bag of tricks. The WiiU isn't weaker, it's just different.

WanderingPB

#12

WanderingPB said:

Overall this game is truly incredible…i only bought it to play w/ my friend but now i cant seem to put this game down. The open world driving with extras galore…a definite must have to anyones WiiU library

WanderingPB

#14

WanderingPB said:

@Ambassador_Kong absolutely! funny i was thinkin the same thing about those developers who say that the WiiU isnt strong enough…guess it actually shows that those developers arent CAPABLE of making good games huh? Interesting…

Haxonberik

#15

Haxonberik said:

Definitely picking this one up and Lego City in the bext weeks. My deadline for buying games for a while will be April, so I'll play this until another chance to buy Pikmin 3 or the Wonderful 101 comes.

DarkAngel_17

#16

DarkAngel_17 said:

I don't like driving games, but glad this is a port with loads of effort put in it. Good job guys!

supersix

#18

supersix said:

So happy this turned out just as promised. Having a ton of fun with the game and it's nice to see hard-working devs getting more out of the console. I've been around long enough to remember the PS3 getting bashed the same way and it wasn't until games like MGS4 came out that devs could no longer make excuses. Even though it's an older game I think the Deus Ex remake will help to change expectations as well.

Jaco

#21

Jaco said:

I wish I had the money to get this game or any of the other games that are out :(
Looks like im going to have to wait till summer to get them

Pachterkid

#22

Pachterkid said:

You deserve all of the praise that you're getting for this game, Criterion. You put a lot of time and effort into this port and it shows. Keep up the great work! :)

Dr_42o

#23

Dr_42o said:

I downloaded it last thursday, play online all day. Bugatti Veyron Super Sport with pro mods FTW.

Question.. I often win every event in the online speedlists. However, I still place around 5th overall.. Why come this happens? I should win everything if I win all 5 events.. HELP ME!!

Neram

#24

Neram said:

I really want to try this game. It's hard to justify any 'realistic' racing game after being spoiled by the Forza games. Hopefully there will be a demo someday.

luminalace

#25

luminalace said:

I love this game and glad to know the wait was worth it. Now Criterion just needs to give me the Heroes pack cause I would pay for it.

Melkaticox

#26

Melkaticox said:

Hopefully all this good press helps the game! In sales, I mean.
Really, really hope so...

HawkeyeWii

#28

HawkeyeWii said:

Really want to get this! So is the subtitle "Most Wanted" make it a different game than a basic NFS, like are you getting out of your car in this one? Because I remember one of the game titles in the series having that feature to it and I didn't like it too much.

GiftedGimp

#29

GiftedGimp said:

@Dr_42o Because overall The winner is based on speedpoints, Winning races is only 1 of many ways to earn speed points.

@Neram Its not a 'Realistic' racer, its a arcade racer/crash-em-up, and if down to lack of analog triggers you can't justify racers NFSMW allows analog accel/brake to be assigned to the right stick, which works really well.

@HawkeyeWii No you don't get out of the cars, the subtitle Most Wanted is because of the police chases, the way your ranked on the leaderboard against your freinds and the way you need to earn a set amount of speeds points/level up before you can go for the 'Most Wanted' cars.

Nintendo4Lyfe

#30

Nintendo4Lyfe said:

Can't wait to get Most Wanted U next weekend. Thanks in part to Glyde.com for saving me 25% off!!!!!!

LEGEND_MARIOID

#31

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Even if you have only a passing interest in more "hardcore" racers, you WILL love this. A triumph. Really,really well put together game.

ThumperUK

#32

ThumperUK said:

I really love this game, despite being useless at racing games! I just hope the sales are a success for Criterion (they deserve it for such a great version), plus it will also mean its more likely we'll get DLC. I don't miss analogue acceleration (I tend to race full on anyway!).

This game is great whether you want to play a long session, or even if you just want to play a short game. Either way, it should be a must-buy for every WiiU owner.

skjia

#33

skjia said:

Agree with a lot of the people on here. I'm extremely impressed with the game. I'm glad I waited for the Wii U version. It's definitely the prettiest game I've played on the Wii U and really shows that it's completely up to the challenge if third party devs are willing to give it a chance. I really encourage anyone who's interested in this game and can afford it: Don't wait for sales. Get it and support Criterion. They deserve it.

Dpullam

#34

Dpullam said:

I played quite a bit of the demo of this game a few months back and I was pretty impressed. It controlled really smooth and was pretty intense at high speeds. I am certainly keeping this game on my list if I want to get a racing game besides Mario Kart. It's also great that the Wii U received the best version of this game thus far.

Metal_Slugger

#35

Metal_Slugger said:

I just got my copy and really thought the lack of analog triggers was gonna be weird. Thats not the case at all I barely even notice it. Just when I am putting around the city is all. The steering takes awhile to get used to a lot of play in the stick not as tight as I hoped for. FUN game though.

Araknie

#36

Araknie said:

TOTAL LIE!
The GamePad has Analog Triggers, you learn to use Left Analog Trigger to sprint in ZombiU.
This is silly.

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