Need for Speed Nitro
Going faster and faster...
Posted 3 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
After the poor reception to the last few Need for Speed games, it was only a matter of time before the series looked at ways of redefining itself in the highly competitive racing market. While the most recent, Need for Speed Shift, on the HD consoles saw the series return to a focus on a simulation experience, the gang over at EA Montreal were tasked with creating a fun racing experience for Wii owners. The result is Need for Speed Nitro. Rather than taking the route of a serious, simulation racer, Need for Speed Nitro is just the arcade racing game Wii owners deserve, even if there is a lack of variety in its offering.
Nitro is all about driving fast and having a lot of fun doing so. This is a pure arcade racer in every aspect. The best place to start, and where you’ll probably spend the majority of your time is the game’s career mode. Here you will begin as a lowly street racer hoping to achieve greatness.
To do this you will race in a series of different competitions across five cities: Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, Madrid, Singapore and Dubai all leading up to the Grand Prix in order to win the three available cups. Each city has two courses and one drag strip to race on. The courses themselves are nice with a good mix of twists, turns and short-cuts. The only downside to the career mode is that its based primarily around repetition. There are only a handful of different race types: Circuit, Elimination, Drag, Time, Drift and Speed Trap. The same pattern exists in all three Cup series with the only difference being access to new cars.
Each race type also includes Star Objectives, as seen in NFS: Shift. Your requirements will always consist of finishing in the top 3 with some races requiring the achievement of a specific amount of style points and completing a lap under a specific time. As you progress through the game, stars will be needed to unlock future venues and cars.
The collection of cars is nice albeit, a bit small. There are only 30 cars available to you, varying from family type vehicles like the VW Van and Nissan Cube to super cars like the Audi R8 and the Pagani Zonda R. Of course, you will only start off with the weakest bunch, but as you progress through the career and earn money you will be able to afford the best cars.
Thankfully every race can be won regardless of the car you pick. Considering the various styles of cars to choose from, your ability to win the race will factor more than simply having the fastest machine. This wouldn’t be called Nitro if it didn’t require the use of Nitrous Oxide. Nitro is obtained by properly revving your vehicle before the start of the race and by doing cool things on the course such as long drifts or drafting. With the simple shake of the Wii-remote, you trigger this boost and see your self quickly move from worst to first in seconds.
Continuing on with Nitro’s focus on arcade action is the number of different ways in which you can race. It’s clear from the moment you start up that the preferred method of racing is using a single-hand. Simple controls of using the A button to accelerate, B to brake then tilting the controller left and right to turn your car is the way in which they want you to take on each race. This is clear by the game’s opening tutorial which comments on your ability to still down your favourite drink while racing.
While the simple Wii-Remote control works it isn’t the best choice for every race type. Those who want more precision will go with the Wii-Remote coupled with the nunchuk or mix and match depending on the race type. The ease of turning with the tilting of the remote works great during drag races while the nunchuk will offer more precise drifts for other events.
As with previous Need for Speed titles, the police have been brought back and are still set on trying to stop you. Unlike past games where the cops were often quite reckless and part of the storyline, the cops typically won’t ruin your race and can even be used to your advantage. They will go after all racers and, if you’re lucky, you can get behind them to obtain some much needed boost. Also included are special item pick ups that you can trigger on racers ahead of you which cause the authorities to focus their pursuit on them rather than on you.
Graphics and Sound
This may not be the most detailed racing game on the market, but in their attempt to cater to the Wii-set, EA Montreal has put the focus on giving you the opportunity to customize your cars in a number of different ways. While you won’t be able to improve the performance of your car, Nitro includes a fairly deep and unlockable selection of graphics and designs that allow you to create a truly unique automobile. There are a lot of different colors and styles to choose from, and those with creative minds can easily lose track of time cutomizing and designing their ride. The only downside to this is the lack of online multiplayer which prevents you from showing off your designs to others.
In terms of graphics while racing, Nitro performs really well within the constraints of the Wii. None of the courses or locales are particularly impressive but there is enough there to give you some idea of where you might be. These are not perfect replications of the actual cities but there is enough of a difference in scenery so that you can tell when you’re racing in Dubai and when you’re racing in Cairo. While the frame rate is consistently high, there is only one view point and that can sometimes be problematic. Because you can’t adjust it in tight areas, it can be quite difficult to see exactly what is in front or behind you.
In game sound effects are alright but nothing truly remarkable. There isn’t a great sense of speed when it comes to the sounds while racing but there are some small touches that try to alleviate that. You will hear a lot of tire screeching during turns and when the police are after you and there is plenty of radio chatter to ensure you know they’re on to you. The game’s soundtrack is your standard EA Trax affair with a few cool tracks that actually sound great when coupled with the frantic racing action.
There might not be any sort of online multiplayer but up to four players can still race together in split screen. If you decide to race with friends in eliminator races, those who get knocked out early get the opportunity to race in a police vehicle and attempt to stop the leader. Another nice added touch to the local multiplayer is that your friends can also get involved in your career mode, which can also be beneficial if you’re trying to collect all the game’s stars.
For the first Wii-specific racer by EA, Need for Speed Nitro is a step in the right direction. The only major factors that hold it back from absolute greatness are the repetitive career mode and lack of online play. Other than those two gripes, there is a lot to enjoy for racing fans and the series should become a must-play for Wii owners in the years to come.
+ Plenty of great control options
+ Easy to pick up
+ Runs smoothly
- No way of showing off your custom designs
- Career mode lacks variety
- Wish there were more cars to choose from
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Release Date : 2009/11/17
System : Nintendo Wii
Publisher : Electronic Arts
Developer : Visceral Games Montreal
Category : Racing
ESRB : E10+
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10