Need for Speed Most Wanted U Review for Wii U

Need for Speed Most Wanted U Review for Wii U

This One Goes Out To U

I was first introduced to the Need for Speed series back in the 1990s with Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit for the original PlayStation. While I haven’t done a thorough job of keeping up with it since then, it’s a series I still feel inclined to check up on every now and again. What I’ve noticed through the generations is a weird evolution that, for the most part, has been pretty positive.

That evolution culminated last October in Need for Speed Most Wanted, which I reviewed all those months ago . I gave it a score of 4.7 out of 5, so obviously I liked it quite a bit.

Need for Speed Most Wanted U Screenshot

Still, I’ll admit that I was a little less than enthused when the Wii U version slid across my desk and landed in my “To Review” pile (a pile that is admittedly metaphorical). See, reviewing games that you’ve already reviewed once is sort of weird, since the magic of that initial playthrough has worn off and you know, for the most part, exactly what to expect. This was compounded for me in Most Wanted, as I actually played almost half the game about a month before review time, then started from scratch for my review. So I wasn’t sure that I wanted to jump back into a game I’d already played through 1.5 times already.

But after I got Most Wanted U installed (I got a digital copy rather than a physical one), Muse’s “Butterflies and Hurricanes” started playing during the game’s opening cinematic, and I felt like I was returning to an old friend. (I suppose that’s a testament to both the game and the song.)

That’s not to say that Most Wanted U is the exact same experience as the original version. See, back in October when I wrote my initial review, I praised the way it allowed players to explore Fairhaven City however they wanted. But I almost feel like I have to take back a few of the things I said back then, because what felt open and free back then feels smaller now that I’ve played the Wii U version.

Need for Speed Most Wanted U Screenshot

I mean, in the original game, players were free to explore the city as they saw fit, basically doing whatever they wanted to do in just about any order they wanted to do it in. But with Most Wanted U, players are given an almost godlike power to change the city into the city they want it to be. Okay, so that’s a pretty huge exaggeration, but the GamePad features definitely give players far more control over what happens here. For example, with a quick tap, players can change the scenery from night to day or vice versa. With another tap, they can make all the traffic in the city disappear or reappear.

And this isn’t the only positive use of the GamePad. One of the things I wasn’t so fond of in the original game was the way you switched cars. See, you could switch to any car you’d already jacked at any time, but you would be returned to the specific jackspot for that car. Most Wanted U makes the transition between vehicles so much smoother with an easy-to-use touchscreen menu, and it also lets you swap cars without teleporting to some far off location. It sounds like such a small thing, but trust me, it makes the game immensely more enjoyable.

Need for Speed Most Wanted U Screenshot

Even so, you don’t necessarily have to use the GamePad, as the Pro controller is fully supported. In fact, there’s an additional control scheme designed for two players that makes use of both the GamePad and the Pro controller simultaneously. The person driving holds the Pro, while the GamePad player can navigate menus and even distract the cops if they’re giving chase.

And the first DLC, the Ultimate Speed pack, is included for free. It adds five more Most Wanted cars and a bunch of new events around the city. Since I never got around to playing this additional content when it first came out, I enjoyed being surprised by new races popping up in places where I didn’t necessarily expect them to. Of course, the downside to all this is that this version of the game won’t get any future DLC, while the other consoles will continue to be supported.

Now, all of this makes it sound like Most Wanted U is the definitive version of the game. And I’d be inclined to agree if it weren’t for the game’s one major shortcoming: the controls. The Wii U version just doesn’t feel as responsive as the PS3 version (the version I played for my previous review). I don’t want to make this sound like a completely broken wreck of a control scheme, because it’s really subtle. But in a game where split-second reaction time can make the difference between victory and a horribly tragic car wreck, the tiniest drop in responsiveness becomes painfully noticeable.

Need for Speed Most Wanted U Screenshot

Also, the nitrous boost is assigned to the B button, which means your thumb has to stretch a bit in order to hit it. And since that’s an incredibly important button, it feels like it shouldn’t require such a feat of thumb dexterity. This problem is exacerbated if you decide to use the Pro controller, because the face buttons and shoulder buttons are even further apart than they are on the GamePad. Then again, you can remap your button layout as you see fit to attempt to alleviate the problem.

Lastly, there are motion controls, so you can break out your old Wii Wheel once again. Of course, the novelty of these sorts of control schemes has long worn off by now, and you’ll long for the accuracy that comes with the traditional sticks-and-face-buttons control scheme.

Even if you’ve already played Need for Speed Most Wanted on another console, there are a few new things worth coming back for. Also, it should be noted that all your Speed Points will transfer between versions via Origin. That means that if you’ve already unlocked all the most wanted races (like I did), they’ll be available to you as soon as you start the Wii U version of the game.

Of course, if you’re a Wii U owner who hasn’t played this one yet, it’s probably time to rectify that.

There’s no discernable difference between this and the PS3 version. It looks amazing, but it’s hard to not wish for at least a miniscule upgrade. 3.5 Control
The controls just don’t respond the way they do in the other versions of the game. It’s a small thing, but one that makes the game less enjoyable. 4.2 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
There couldn’t have been a more perfect intro song than “Butterflies and Hurricanes,” but those police scanners need some more variety. 4.8 Play Value
Fairhaven is packed with things to do, and the additional content packs it even fuller. 4.5 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Most Wanted – Designed Especially for the Wii U – The critically acclaimed racing game that won the hearts of press and fans alike returns, this time on the Wii U. Designed specifically for the platform, Most Wanted U boasts gameplay mechanics built for the unique features of the Wii U GamePad controller. Whether you’re playing with a friend, family member or even by yourself, Most Wanted U makes the race to become Most Wanted more fun, more social and more interactive than ever before.
  • All New Way to Play Together with Co-Driver – Introducing the new local co-op mode, Co-Driver, players can team up in Need for Speed Most Wanted U to top the Most Wanted list. One player drives using the Wii Remote controller or Wii U Pro Controller, while another player uses the Wii U GamePad to make way for victory. As the co-driver, you can provide control and navigation assistance, distract cops, even control the amount of traffic on the road making the Most Wanted U experience the ultimate way to stir up trouble for the cops, for your friends, or just for fun!
  • Play single-player your way – Players can access everything they need to become the Most Wanted from the get go. Drive cars when you want to without switching location, jump to any event at the start of the game with events open.
  • EasyDrive is far more accessible – Change mods, switch into favorite cars on the fly, track milestones, even unlock the connected open world, all on the fly through a far more accessible EasyDrive. With such a robust competitive advantage, Most Wanted U gameplay is built to ensure there’s never a dull moment.
  • Handheld Play – Now players can seamlessly take Most Wanted U’s adrenaline fuelled intensity and blockbuster action from the TV to their Wii U GamePad. With the entire game playable off-screen using the Wii U GamePad, gamers never have to put the heart-pounding, open world action down.
  • Even More Content – Most Wanted U comes packed with all the content from the Ultimate Speed Pack, Most Wanted’s first downloadable content on other platforms, is now included free on the Wii U. Now players can take to the streets five of the most ludicrously fast vehicles ever made and also enjoy new High Speed Races and Speed Runs and more than 70 new speed themed milestones, plus stacks of additional rewards and unlocks.

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