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.
When EA split off the Need for Speed franchises into different
streams, with Nitro being the more fun, arcadey title as opposed to
Shift’s more realistic focus, it made sense. I didn’t agree with the
decision, but at a minimum I could see how it might imbue the series
with a clear focus that it seemed to have lost in recent years – albeit
in two seperate titles. Given that mandate, I expected Nitro to come
out screaming with a vengeance, but this is far from the distilled
essence of NFS’s cops-and-cars.
Need for Speed: Nitro takes place
on a series of confined tracks. Not only will you repeatedly visit them
throughout the game, but the lack of freedom they give you makes
battling the cops no fun at all. In fact, not having freeform cop
chases seems like an anathema to the series. Furthermore, a scant two
kinds of power-ups (one for repairing your car and the other to sic the
cops on other racers) don’t do much to invigorate the moment-to-moment
racing. The car customization features (which carry over into your
graphics being imposed upon the tracks as you race) also aren’t
anything to hang your hat on.
The game’s bronze, silver, and gold
cups take you to the same five cities through the game, so the variety
comes more in the race types such as elimination (last place car is
knocked out per lap), drift challenge, drag racing, time attack,
circuit, and speed trap. The latter was perhaps the most interesting,
as you have to carry as much speed as you can through certain sections
of the track in order to clock the highest total speeds. Drifting was
also fun, and doing it in all types of races is beneficial since it
gets you an extra star towards your career progression.
mistake about it: Need for Speed: Nitro’s competitive advantage
shouldn’t be the motion controls – it should be the series’ penchant
for arcade racing, supercharged cop chases, and edge-of-your-seat
racing. Unfortunately It doesn’t even come close to delivering on these
fronts. But, by all means, have some motion controls.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.