Need for Speed: Nitro First Hands-On

The long-running arcade racing series is coming to the Wii and the DS, and we've got a hands-on look.

Need for Speed: Nitro isn't the first Need for Speed game on the Nintendo Wii, but it does hold the distinction of being the first game developed specifically for the Nintendo console. Considering the track record of mediocre ports of previous NFS games, starting from scratch with Nitro is probably a good thing. At EA's recent pre-E3 press event, we got a chance to check out Nitro on both Nintendo's Wii and DS to see what the fresh approach will mean for the long-running Need for Speed series.

First up, the game's graphics are built off of a modified version of the Black Box engine that's powered the NFS series for a while now, and they have a look all of their own. On the Wii, Nitro has an exaggerated, almost cartoonish look that suits the game better than the old, lower-resolution ports of previous games. The best example of the game's look is the cars themselves. Though Nitro will feature real-world makes and models, the cars have an exaggerated look, with bigger logos and larger rear wheels, which gives them a more toylike appearance that pairs well with the game's blistering 60-frames-per-second pace and arcade physics.

Nitro's controls are designed to be as friendly as possible to NFS veterans and rookies alike. The game will support several different control schemes, including the racing wheel that has shipped with games such as Mario Kart Wii. During our hands-on demo, we tried a couple of different control setups. The first used just the Wii Remote by itself. We held the Wii Remote normally and steered the car by twisting the Wii Remote left or right. To accelerate, we pressed the A button, and the all-important handbrake was on the B button. Powersliding around corners seems to be an important skill, given that it builds up turbo boost, which you can use with a simple shake of the Wii Remote. We also played the game with the Nunchuk attachment, which moves car control to the analog stick.

Speeding through the environments during the races that we played, we noticed a couple of things. First of all, the game will have power-ups strewn around the track. The only power-up available for us was a wrench that would let you repair your damaged car with a simple press of the down button on the directional pad (or the Z button when using the Nunchuk). Producers told us that more power-ups will be available in the final game, including the ability to lower your heat level when dealing with the police that will be in the final game. In fact, cops were few and far between in the build that we played, but we were told that they'd play a big role in races in the final version. Your heat level will determine how much the cops hassle you in races.

One other noticeable bit in the demo that we played was a graffiti system that would mark any nearby buildings that we drove by when we were in the lead of a race. You'll be able to customize the look of your graffiti in the game so that your tags appear in the races you lead. The producers told us that the tagging system will be integral to judging your performance in the game; for example, winning a race will earn you three stars, whereas winning the race and tagging the most territory will earn you four stars.

The Wii game will take place in five cities: Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, Madrid, Shanghai, and Dubai, with a storyline that will follow the progress of your up-and-coming racer as he makes himself known across approximately 130 missions on the world street-racing circuit. Other modes in the game include Race, Drag Race, Time Trials, and Drift Race. In addition, the world tour mode will feature cooperative multiplayer for up to four players; where you'll be able to unlock new cars, parts, tracks, and more.

We also had time to check out the DS version of the game, which, like the Wii version, has been built from the ground up for the handheld. The game has a similar concept of tagging areas of the six cities that will be found in the game but, instead of merely leading a race, you'll need to drive through a series of circular triggers on the track to tag a section of the race. Cops will have a presence in the game but act only as roadblocks; to get around them, you can press the X button and your car will hop into the air and avoid them altogether.

The game will feature 10 game modes and tracks that take some unexpected twists (in one case the road we were driving on turned into a twisting and rolling rollercoaster track). In addition to a standard circuit and point-to-point races, we had a chance to try out one of the minigames, which required us to drive around a baseball stadium and destroy a bunch of pinatas as quickly as possible. It didn't make much sense, but minigames rarely do, right?

Need for Speed: Nitro is coming to the Nintendo Wii and DS this fall. We'll have more on the game in the coming weeks.

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Discussion

78 comments
campbell153
campbell153

I like some driving games, so it would be good to see if this game works out well, since it has been made specificly for the Wii (about time!!!) it should look and play well, we shall see!

brawl_freak
brawl_freak

since this supports GC controller i might rent it to try it out

Redbonk95
Redbonk95

I like the ideas, but i'm not blown over for the styling of the cars. If anyone walked in on me playing, they would think that I was playing a hot wheels game.

blankshore
blankshore

Looks pretty neat. I've always preferred stylized graphics over realism anyway.

penguins227
penguins227

Looks cool, but sort of more elementary oriented.

Snicker-Man
Snicker-Man

at first it look cool but more i look at it the more dumn it looks

amirzaim
amirzaim

The NFS Nitro is likely a racing game that suitable for kids because Nintendo Wii and DS are designed for kids. Different than other NFS series, this is much colourful.

pilot_riaz
pilot_riaz

@Willy105 Why wii remote for racing games, what about the steering wheel the one used in Mario Kart?

Willy105
Willy105

That's odd. This is a racing game. How will Motion Plus be used? The wiimote itself already can do racing games.

gatlingboy
gatlingboy

i like all of the other need for speeds, but i never played 1 on my wii, so this 1 might be interesting

Darth_DuMas
Darth_DuMas

I quite like it, the graphics style looks interesting.

red-drybones
red-drybones

Something about the look of the cars tell that the game is just gonna be plain fun. I actually like that toy-ish look... reminds me of my Hot Wheels days. XD

Lord_Sesshy
Lord_Sesshy

I don't have a Wii so I'm waiting for NFS Shift

DEFORMEDCRANIUM
DEFORMEDCRANIUM

I've got a Need... A Need For this franchise to End... NOW!

redhurley
redhurley

wii motion plus, then def worth picking up.

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

Since Most Wanted, the Need for Speed games has gotten better and better and sometimes worse as well. ProStreet is ok since I do need a break from the cops and Carbon and Undercover is still cool. I would be curious more on gameplay then on graphics. I do like to have different controls with the other games like MK Armageddon, SSBB, Mario Kart Wii and NFS Undercover which is the first. Arcade is still the best style of racing compare to simulation in which you have to race for real but that's just me. I just hope the cop aspect would be intense as Most Wanted, Carbon and Undercover so it will keep me from getting bored.

DEFORMEDCRANIUM
DEFORMEDCRANIUM

NFS Nitros' Cartoon Look = Cop-Out EA still won't put money into Graphics R&D. What A Lazy Developer!

SSBFan12
SSBFan12

The game uses the Wii motion plus, so I am getting it.

k0r3aN_pR1d3
k0r3aN_pR1d3

Now they start bringing out the muscle cars. Sheesh. Maybe if the game has a pontiac GTO, i might consider.

Vimanesba
Vimanesba

mmm I like the idea of arcade physics back to NFS, though the graphics don't convince me much... we'll see

maverick_76
maverick_76

Man I thought this might have been for PS3, looks cool

Aurey
Aurey

Looks like Jet Set Radio meets NFS. I'm in!

clue942
clue942

This looks really good and promising, the Wii needs more big franchises to focus on them exclusively like this. I think the problem why the Wii gets downplayed is because the good games are multi-platformed and developers have high hopes for there games but since the Wii doesn't have the power or memory they have to take stuff away so we miss out on and Graphics(which matters to most people but I don't care really if I wanted graphics why would I buy a Wii...)

ScionofEntropy
ScionofEntropy

This sounds like it could be a welcome change, but I think I'll stay cautious and see first. It's good they built it from the ground up, but after a few disappointing games in the past couple years, I'm still not sold.

Evilhen88
Evilhen88

Cartoon isn't always bad Battlefield Heroes is cartoon and it's probably one of the best in the series. so lets give it a chance and see how it goes. But the power-ups and being able to jump over cars might ruin it.

nintendo-naut
nintendo-naut

NFS is really the only street-racer I like. It just seems like they haven't been as good since Hot Pursuit 3. I hope this is good, and I also hope you can toggle some of the gimmicks (e.g. graffiti and mini-games) off for multi-player.

Mr_Pepworth
Mr_Pepworth

woa this game looks really amazing i cant wait until fall

ali_hamza
ali_hamza

wow... they make a game for the Wii, and even the cars look childish lol- but for real, I would rather play this than NFS Shift, idk why they keep switchin up the gameplay styles...

smetloos
smetloos

I am tracking it... just in case that it is going to be really good.

erendux
erendux

grafiti thing awsome, game is... if we think previous vers. little bit strange.

erendux
erendux

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

riou7
riou7 moderator moderator

hope this game better than before

SteveTwo
SteveTwo

Why does my car hop over police on the DS version? If the police know this, you'd think they would make taller roadblocks...

kweeni
kweeni

looks cool...but then again that what i used to say to prostreet and undercover untill they came out...but who knows...

nigioh
nigioh

I wouldnt be too quick to judge this one. If it turns out like Mario Kart Wii with real cras were in for a blast...

Fireinthelol
Fireinthelol

I sigh at new NFS games. The first 3 were childhood favourites and now they're just milking it dry. After Hot Pursuit (which albeit wasnt a greatish game) NFS has become steadily more and more lame or as I like to call it "sigh-material"

blue-man
blue-man

Looks different from the other NFS games.I think it will be fun

Innos007666
Innos007666

Another NFS game, nothing exciting when you hear for new NFS. There are so many so, I stop counting. And wtf is that paint on buildings ? You drive and actually spraying around or something? They are out with ideas.

Heretix_Aevum
Heretix_Aevum

Another crap game. The dude was calling them "Num-Chucks". Destined to fail.

wiidsduelpack
wiidsduelpack

The graphics look great and the sound seems awesome? More awesome is the fact that you can use the wii wheel? Forgot to say if it had online gaming? If it had, I think this would be a success and another great wii game?

wiidsduelpack
wiidsduelpack

Kris024, have you even played a N64? Graphics looks great and you can play it with the wii wheel? They forgot to mention if it had wifi? This might be a good racing game and maybe the best for the wii at this point?

residentgta
residentgta

Let's just hope this game will not be like a Prosh*t.

isaacmj
isaacmj

I was very disapointed by Pro Street, but I'm a NFS fan so I'll just keep my fingers crossed

ea_goodandy
ea_goodandy

I just read that someone thought NFS Underground had realistic physics. LOL Yeah... I think the only NFS game that had realistic physics was Porshe Unleashed.

ea_goodandy
ea_goodandy

I don't care what you people think. Here lately, I've been buying games and getting so bored with them in less than an hour and I think it's because they aren't made to be fun. They are made to be cool... But I want a fun game. This Need For Speed game looks like it'll be simple and fun. That's what I want! That's what most Wii owners want.

AKADreyadigg
AKADreyadigg

wow... they make a game for the Wii, and even the cars look childish lol- but for real, I would rather play this than NFS Shift, idk why they keep switchin up the gameplay styles...