Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Review: Need for Speed:Most Wanted U (Wii U)

An actual reason to dust off my Wii U controller? Sweet! The Need for Speed franchise is like crack for true gearheads or any car aficionado, and Most Wanted U is no different. Taking a sandbox approach, you are given keys to a sweet ride and told to go acquire cars, race, modify your rides or pretty much just tool around causing mayhem. No two drivers will have the same experience.

With an impressive roster of fantasy cars (I call them fantasy cars knowing full well that I'll never own any of them) you can mix it up on the streets of Fairhaven with the local racing talent. Getting noticed enough that they'll be willing to take you on means that you're going to have to spend time building your reputation. Thankfully, pretty much everything you do in-game will help build your score: unlocking cars, speeding, driving like a jackass… yup… and most importantly, evading the police when you are being dangerous. For some reason, the police have a dim view of stunt racing through downtown.

For each car, you have a series of races that you can compete in to unlock new parts for it. Parts range from different tires – stock/racing/off-road, et cetera to frames or nitrous systems. (Tesla – an electric car has a nitrous system, I just don't get it… the nitrous is supposed to make the battery burn faster?) You'll need some impressive cars to be able to challenge the best of the best. More importantly, you'll need to be good enough to make that car dance, because those races are frantic and you'd better be able to do more than just hammer the gas.

Compared to the other console versions, the Wii U version doesn't lose out; visually and aurally there is no drop in fidelity. This version uses the Gamepad in an interesting way. It allows additional game changes while playing with the press of the touchpad: you can turn off traffic, repair the car instantly, make it easier to escape the police, bring up a more detailed area map, or swap cars on the fly.

Theoretically, the "co-driver" could make the game easier for someone learning; however, usually this would degrade into screwing with the driver as just supporting someone else playing a game is FRICKING BORING. Further enhancing the "easy mode" you start off with a nitrous system in all cars, which you used to have to earn in the first race. It's not a big difference, but it does make the stock cars less awful to drive from the start.

Most Wanted U can optionally synchronize with EA's Origin servers. The game recognized my active PC
game, and brought over my previously earned points and cars (just not my unlocks). So I wasn't required to spend all that time re-finding every car that I've already done – but I was getting points for doing so and repeating all those tasks. Compared to other versions, I found the Gamepad control sloppy at times – not as responsive compared to the console or the PC version (where I also use a gamepad). Switching up to using a Gamepad Pro made some improvement, but I still found it not as tight for handling compared to other systems.

All in all, Need for Speed: Most Wanted U is the standout game on the Wii U for racing, and probably one of the better games available on the console right now. It does have some faults, but is still an excellent example of the Need for Speed universe.

- Tazman

The Good:
- Includes the original Need for Speed: Most Wanted and the Ultimate Speed Pack
- So many additional options to choose from
- Will synchronize with your Origin account – acquired points on other play-throughs will transfer over

The Bad:
- Use the Control Pad Pro. if you don't you'll be cursing up a storm

Score: 8.5 / 10