Need for Speed: Nitro Review
Wii | DS
Need for Speed: Nitro box art
System: Wii, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: EA Montreal 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Electronic Arts 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 3, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

One aspect of the game that does not disappoint is the visuals. NFS: Nitro is one of the most polished third-party games on the Wii. Cars look smooth and animations are surprisingly consistent. There are almost no jagged lines, and I was pleasantly surprised at how technically sound the game was. Even the different tracks have a certain vibrancy to them, which was basically unheard of in a Wii game before. There are plenty of moving elements in the background, and as you travel through tunnels and under bridges, the lighting effects and shadows change around your vehicle. Though these may sound like relatively minor details, when you talk about games on the Wii, it is often these small details that are overlooked. However, it seems fairly obvious that EA Montreal took their time with the visuals in NFS: Nitro, and their hard work definitely shows.

Need for Speed: Nitro screenshot

As far as control is concerned, NFS: Nitro is a mixed bag. There are four different control schemes to use: Wii-mote, Wii-mote and Nunchuk, Classic Controller, and GameCube Controller. Interestingly, if you use the Wii-mote alone, you'll have to tilt the Wii-mote from side to side as it sits lengthwise in your hand. This is a huge contrast to most Wii-mote-controlled Wii games, which have you using the Wii-mote sideways and tilting it up and down (like a wheel). However, what is not surprising is that this control scheme doesn't work too well. Using just the Wii-mote is imprecise and doesn't give you enough control over Nitro boosts. The button for engaging turbo boosts is also a little too far away.

Fortunately, there are three other control schemes that do a good job of picking up the slack of the Wii-mote option. The Classic/GameCube selections are the best, as they allow you to use the shoulder buttons to accelerate and brake (like a traditional racer) and use the thumbsticks to steer. Controlling with these two options feels very precise, and if you have either the Classic or GameCube Controller, these will be your best bet for controlling the game. However, the Nunchuk and Wii-mote combination isn't half-bad either, allowing you to use the Nunchuk's thumbstick for steering, which provides ample precision.

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I'm not going to pretend that Need for Speed: Nitro can live up to the grandiosity of Shift. However, for an arcade-style racer, Nitro is a ton of fun. As a racer for the Wii, Nitro is phenomenal. If you are still waiting on a racer for the Wii that is actually playable, here's your game. It may not have the depth of Shift, but it's got plenty of speed to spare, and it will not disappoint fans of the original Need for Speed formula.

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.0
Graphics
Cars are nicely detailed, and tracks are surprisingly vivid for a Wii game.
3.8
Control
Your experience will vary widely depending on your control setting. Classic/GameCube Controllers work amazingly, but using just the Wii-mote is imprecise and frustrating.
3.9
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The soundtrack features plenty of high energy rock tunes; perfect for high speed chases!
3.5

Play Value
Though there's only a handful of modes, the game has a very high "fun factor" and is great in small doses.

3.7
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Own the World: When you're in first place, the walls of the city become covered with your graphic style. Now everyone knows that you're the one leading the pack.
  • Pick Your Ride: The style and spirit of the game are rooted in car culture, with 30 classic and modern licensed cars including muscles, exotics, tuners, and more. Plus, race on 15 tracks featuring traffic, jumps, canyons, and events.
  • Battle to the Finish Line: Increase other racers' heat levels to sick the cops on them, manage car damage to maintain maximum speed, and build up nitro with skilled driving to take the lead. The race is never over until you cross the finish line!
  • Extreme Customization: Trick out your car's appearance using an incredibly deep yet intuitive customization system unlike anything seen on the Wii. Never before in a Need for Speed game have you had this much control over the look of your ride.
  • Co-op World Tour Campaign: Take part in illegal street races across five cities to unlock new cars, parts, tracks, and challenges. Up to three players can also join you to play cooperatively.


  • Screenshots / Images
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