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Need For Speed Most Wanted Wii U review

Wii U in 'superior graphics' shocker!

Criterion Games hasn't given a Nintendo format any love since Burnout 2 on the GameCube. That title was by far the best version of publisher Acclaim's high-octane city racer and it launched a good eight months after the PlayStation 2 version with improved framerate, textures, particle effects and controls. Since then continents have shifted (possibly) and lifestyles have changed (definitely) but Criterion's relationship with Nintendo hardware is eerily similar. We're all set to get a jacked up version of the nitrous-fuelled racer that came out on other consoles six months ago.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted is a re-imagining of EA's 2005 multiformat release, but while it borrows liberally from the main gameplay themes, everything else is brand new. The city of Fairhaven is a mixture of downtown grids and interstate freeways leading out into hilly mountain passes and looping back through giant industrial parks. It's a cleverly designed city that will always hold secrets, no matter how long you spend tearing round its streets.

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It's easy to take the design for granted when you're screaming along at 200mph: it's when you go for a late evening cruise - tunes blaring and throttle finger severely inhibited - that you get the chance to take in the sumptuous cityscape and convincing world that you've been placed in. Only now do you get the chance to admire the road, barrier and wall textures - high-resolution decorations that have come from the PC game and didn't feature in the other console versions. Enough of the graphics, though: for now, at least, Most Wanted is about the racing.

When hooked up to the internet Fairhaven is always plugged in and ready to roll. By which we mean you're constantly being compared to every other racer out there. Every power slide, near miss, slam, takedown, jump, billboard smash and security gate demolition earns you 'SP' and is immediately added to your total.

Your score is uploaded and available for all to see as part of Criterion's Autolog 2 system. If you pass a speed camera it'll have a big banner above telling you who holds the speed record. If you hit a ramp you'll be reminded who grabbed the most air. It's a sneaky and irresistible play on human nature, because you just know you'll want to smash your friends' scores. Being unable to extract enough speed from your ride gives you the impetus to upgrade, which can be done in one of two ways: Jack Points and Takedowns.

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Most Wanted does away with the obtuse method of making you drive the slowest cars known to man. It's a good job, too, because driving across Fairhaven in a Fiat Punto would take an age. Jack Points are dotted around the map and represent the location of a car that you can jump into. Tapping X instigates a manufacturer logo transition and, four seconds later, you'll be behind the wheel of said car. Once you've found a Jack Point it'll be added to your roster and be accessible whenever you need it.

Within 15 minutes of exploration you'll have enjoyed the nippy mischief of the McLaren F1, the brutish roar of the Bugatti Veyron and the wyvern-like rage of the Lamborghini Aventador, leaving you free to experience the game as it was meant to be: at high speed.

This begs a question though: if access to these kinds of motors is granted at such an early stage, why try harder? The answer is simply because even these high end supercars just aren't good enough by themselves to make you the most wanted racer. You'll be set an open challenge very early on: defeat the Hennessey Venom GT and one of the best cars available is yours, but in a cruel, Ridge Racer-esque tease, it's way out of your league, streaking ahead into the sunset.

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Comments

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  1. imbusydoctorwho Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 13:58

    Really really looking forward to this,I'm kinda edging towards getting this instead of Monster Hunter this weekend.

  2. CDS Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 17:31

    Well since I've played the PSV version to death, and the fact that the PSV is getting no love with the DLC, if I had a WiiU, this would be one of the first games I get for it.
    However, you say the Police are annoying, I've already managed to break them in two different places so that they become useless and unresponsive. And no backup will be called for at least ten minutes after. However, they did get their revenge by crashing into me than arresting me.

    All in all, a good game worthy of a purchase, no matter how unfair some of the challengess might seem.

  3. Super-PWii Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 17:56

    Counting the days to it's release :D

  4. parasky Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 18:31

    Still going to get MH3U as it was the sole reason for my ownership of a Wii U, but this will be my next purchase for the system.

    However, I am quite concerned with the lack of analogue triggers on the GamePad, so I might go and use the Wii Remote for this one.

  5. andrea987 Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 19:11

    It's in the post, hopefully I'll be playing it tomorrow!

  6. Xenobladeperson Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 19:20

    I have it on PS3. It's definitely not essential, but still really enjoyable.

  7. Waldy565 Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 20:25

    THANK YOU TOM OR WHOEVER UPLOADED THIS! Right, I'll read the review now!
    Nice review Chandra. The game, as you've described it, sounds exactly how I thought and hoped it would be! Definetley gotta pick this up at some point, I enjoy racing games to be fair (from MK and F-Zero, to Forza, F1 and, of course, NFS) Criterion Games sound like an awesome dev team though!

  8. CDS Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 20:44

    Oh you'd be amazed at what Criterion have produced.

  9. BattleGooseUK Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 20:50

    I have it preordered, and I'm glad it seems (so far at least) to be the best version... But I want to know why the online is now only 6 players and not 8 like on other consoles.

  10. Ronnande Wednesday 20th Mar 2013 at 21:30

    I find it somewhat funny that multiplatform sites doesnt mention with a word the graphical or performance enhancements in the WiiU version in their reviews. While in games like Batman (which did have some minor performance issues) they made sure none could miss that fact. :D

  11. Pyron12 Thursday 21st Mar 2013 at 16:23

    The final score and verdict surprised me.

  12. samz1 Thursday 21st Mar 2013 at 18:04

    I tried to buy this today in the metro center as in your magazine 21st of march was the release date in game thay didn't even no this was coming oout untill thay checked their book and then when thay realised it was told me thay weren't stocking it same with h.m.v and granger games :(

  13. 1singie Thursday 21st Mar 2013 at 19:28

    sounds great! loved burnout 2. any idea when the demo is out for it?

  14. 1singie Thursday 21st Mar 2013 at 19:30

    I find it somewhat funny that multiplatform sites doesnt mention with a word the graphical or performance enhancements in the WiiU version in their reviews. While in games like Batman (which did have some minor performance issues) they made sure none could miss that fact. :D


    its quite obvious these major game sites are owed or heavily influenced by competitors!

  15. jarvismp78 Thursday 21st Mar 2013 at 19:44

    Excellent!!! Now this is what we need to see. Games that show the amazing potential of the Wii U whilst improving on the original versions. Now let's see more of this.

  16. andrea987 Friday 22nd Mar 2013 at 13:29

    Fantastic racer, one of the best I ever played, and amazing, smooth graphics! Recommended 100%!!!

  17. GiftedGimp Friday 22nd Mar 2013 at 18:49

    As had this on Ps3 I knew this would be great, however Criterion deserve a lot of credit, this is Not just a port, its a New Version on WiiU, and the best, not just graphically.

    Also liked the fact my speed points, over 8 million of them and my freinds from the ps3 version got imported via origin.

  18. kingdra king Friday 22nd Mar 2013 at 20:05

    Ive heard (on miiverse actually) that this game is really hard to come by in retail shops that is so I'll try to find this online

  19. GiftedGimp Sunday 24th Mar 2013 at 00:21

    Ive heard (on miiverse actually) that this game is really hard to come by in retail shops that is so I'll try to find this online

    ONM need to investigate but I heard there been some sort of distribution problem.

    However the eStore DL is Ł45 for the 7gb download or shopto has copies in stock for Ł40
    http://shopto.net/videogames/wiiu/WIIUN ... ost-wanted

  20. liveswired Sunday 24th Mar 2013 at 09:25

    I hope Wii U owners pick up this game - they've been moaning about have no good games and now there finally IS one.

    It will prove to publishers that the Wii U is viable for 3rd parties as long as the game quality is excellent and considering this is the best arcade racing game on a Nintendo platform since Burnout 2 and F Zero GX - it should sell like HOTCAKES.

    Certainly as a Nintendo fan I have felt deprived of decent racing games since the SNES - which is disgraceful.

    If this title bombs I can see EA withdrawing even more support for Wii U releases - and you know what? They would be totally right.

  21. liveswired Sunday 24th Mar 2013 at 09:35

    I find it somewhat funny that multiplatform sites doesnt mention with a word the graphical or performance enhancements in the WiiU version in their reviews. While in games like Batman (which did have some minor performance issues) they made sure none could miss that fact. :D

    I read quite a few that mentioned the graphical improvements.

    Luckily enough Nintendo had the sense to put in 1GB of graphics memory which allows for more hi res textures and lighting FX than rivals. This is actually the only area Wii U can command a lead on the Xbox and PS3 as they all seem to share similar polygon performance - with the ps3 easily the most capable in the best hands.

    But at the end of the day it's still 720p and while it is impressive for the current gen games consoles - the Wii U will look so outdated when the next gen arrive.

  22. bigterence Sunday 24th Mar 2013 at 09:52

    Must- have game on Wiiu for fans of racing games.Bit tough,but graphically superb,good use of gamepad.This release so early in WiiUs life promises a lot for the future.Wiiu gives us On-gamepad play,backwards compatibility,Ninty only titles,both boxed and online games,graphics that are plenty good enough thankyou,online apps.A superb future for Ninty and Ninty supporters.

  23. mandlecreed Monday 25th Mar 2013 at 20:24

    I assume this is a shortened version of the magazine's review, and in the mag you mention the handling model and how good/bad it is under the thumb, as I can't seem to see any mention of it in the text on here.

    If I missed it, I apologise and will of course book myself in for an eye test with Specsavers.

    Anyway, 45 quid on the eShop is quite reasonable. I got Burnout Paradise for 43 spondooli second hand not long after its release on the 360, and I'm still playing that. Sooo... I might just invest...

  24. Nintimdo Wednesday 27th Mar 2013 at 19:36

    Couldn't decide between getting this or Lego City Undercover, i went with Lego City....needless to say i made a mistake, Lego City is BORING!!! :cry:

  25. Mineturtle Friday 5th Apr 2013 at 11:59

    I have nfs most wanted for xbox and it is great, no doubt will it be better on wii u :D :D :D

  26. bigterence Thursday 11th Apr 2013 at 08:53

    Nintimdo...Are you Mad lol.Lego laughs at "boring".

  27. SymonDT Friday 31st May 2013 at 23:37

    Need for Speed.... What happened? You have created the most amazing games for a car fanatic... I mean Underground, Underground 2, Most Wanted(the old one), Undercover..... These are the best games i have ever played... because you could pimp og design you vehicle down to the smallest detail... You could tune your car so much that it would spit fire from the exhaust... You felt like your were in a Fast and Furious movie, because you were racing in the streets between other civilian cars... But now? you just pick a fast car and if you're lucky you can chance the colour... You even took the races of the streets in "Shift".... I know i'm not the only one feeling like this, the Need for Speed users need to get a game like the old ones... I stopped buying Need for Speed because the concept was taking away.. I could use more time design my car than driving it and it was all worth it... I hope the Need for Speed team is reading this because this is true word from a unhappy fan... Just look at the new version, it's disappointing again http://axeetech.com/2013/05/31/need-for ... z2Uuc6ESXx

  28. liveswired Tuesday 11th Jun 2013 at 22:42

    I find it somewhat funny that multiplatform sites doesnt mention with a word the graphical or performance enhancements in the WiiU version in their reviews. While in games like Batman (which did have some minor performance issues) they made sure none could miss that fact. :D


    its quite obvious these major game sites are owed or heavily influenced by competitors!

    I read quite a few that spoke about enhancements - most I came across did. Unfortunately the graphical enhancements could easily have been achieved on ps3/360 had they 4 months extra development time as well - but really this is countered by the fact the Wii U version only has 6 player online - obviously this is to balance out the Wii U's lesser CPU power.

    The Gamepad additions are undoubtedly a highlight and are excellent - but to me all gamepad really does it highlight how much Nintendo should have went multitouch.

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