The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
The Wii U, unlike the Wii, shows that Nintendo finally has
given third-party developers and publishers a system that is on par with what
the other console manufacturers are currently doing. The ability to port over
material to the Wii U gives the system's software catalog a boost – particularly when a game utilizes exclusive Wii U features like the
GamePad. In the case of Most Wanted, however, all things aren't equal.
The content for the Wii U version of the game is all here,
and then some. The open-world city of Fairhaven is filled with races with which
you can upgrade your cars, boss battles for the Most Wanted cars, all kinds
of billboards to smash, and other secrets to uncover. The ability to switch cars
on the fly not only means more races at your disposal, but it's also handy when
the cops are hot on your tail. The Wii U version of Most Wanted comes with even
more cars and challenges thanks to the inclusion of the Ultimate Speed Pack
The game also benefits from developer Criterion's commitment to online. Cruising around with friends and taking on different multiplayer events back-to-back is a lot of fun, and I love seeing what billboard jumps and speed camera speeds your friends have posted when you're cruising around in single-player. Of course, such a distinction between the single- and multiplayer modes is largely irrelevant.
Of course, another added feature for the Wii U version is
its extensive use of the GamePad. Whether a friend is manning the GamePad while
you race or you use it yourself, you can disrupt nearby police, remove traffic,
repair your car or select upgrades, and more with a touch of a button. If
someone else is controlling the GamePad, they can even drive for you if you're
having trouble. You can also race directly from the GamePad, although I would
advise against this. Although the game looks good from the peripheral as well
as on a big screen, it's hard to pick out objects on the GamePad when the
detail is scrunched down. This can lead to some crashes when you can't pick out
that concrete median.
While it's up to you how much you use the GamePad to your
advantage, no matter which way you choose to control the game (including
combinations with the Pro Controller, using the Wii controllers, or the GamePad
as a motion-based controller itself), it doesn't feel as tight as the Xbox
360/PS3 versions. Steering, acceleration, and braking seem more binary, and the lack of a
spectrum reduces the subtlety of control that can mean the difference between
finessing a tough corner and veering wildly from curb to curb. Most Wanted is
all about going full throttle and flirting with wrecking at every turn. Having
to pull back because of the controls is against the game's philosophy.
This edition of the game has many of the components that
made the title successful on the other systems, and more, but the
behind-the-wheel experience puts it in second place.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.