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Need for Speed Most Wanted Review

A New Driver Behind The Wheel
by Matthew Kato on Mar 19, 2013 at 05:26 AM
Reviewed on Wii U
Also on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher Electronic Arts
Developer Criterion Games
Rating Everyone 10+

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 DLC.

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.

Bring over everything from the Xbox 360/PS3 version and add a few Wi U-exclusive wrinkles
The game looks good on the big screen or on the GamePad, but if you play on the latter, it can be hard to pick out some environmental objects
You can use the GamePad's mic during multiplayer sessions
I prefer the feel of the racing on the other versions no matter which Wii U control scheme you use
Everything is here on paper, but the tweak in the driving changes the feel of the game

Products In This Article

Need for Speed Most Wantedcover

Need for Speed Most Wanted

Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: