|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.
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.
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.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor