Need for Speed: Nitro Updated Hands-On

Drag racing, drifting, and car customization are all in the mix in our latest look at this Wii-only Need for Speed game.

Customization might not be the most important aspect of a successful racing game, but it certainly can't hurt a game's chances. The upcoming Need for Speed: Nitro, heading to the Nintendo Wii later this year, amps up the arcade pace of previous NFS games on the Xbox 360 and PS3 and tosses in a liberal dollop of car customization in the mix. And, as an added bonus, you can race ridiculously souped-up vans. Which is cool. Because, you know, vans are cool. Right?

If you’ve followed our previous coverage of Nitro, you probably know that there's a graffiti element of sorts to the racing in the game. As you speed around the tracks--which are set in exotic locales such as Madrid, Cairo, Singapore, and Rio de Janeiro--the leader of the race will see his chosen graffiti style, as well as his chosen logo, splattered throughout the buildings and objects that make up the level. There's no real reason for this--it just looks cool, and with that in mind, your color, graffiti style, and logo will all be customizable in the game.

Both logo and graffiti style will come with a number of preset patterns you can choose from, all centered around a basic color palette you select. Things get interesting when you design the paint job of your car. You start with the aforementioned color palette and then can select from multiple brushes, as well as a wide variety of patterns and stickers you can place on your car and adjust the size of at will. You add these elements with the Wii Remote--when drawing a pattern on your car, for example, you'll be moving the Wii Remote almost like a paint brush. When placing a sticker, you can twist and turn the object by twisting the Wii Remote until the object is set as you like it.

When you aren't tweaking the look of your car, you'll be blasting it through the streets in drift-heavy races full of sharp turns, aggressive opponents, and, this being a Need for Speed game, cops. You can expect the fuzz to show up any time you drive too aggressively around the circuit, and they'll bust you if you give them a chance. That said, staying away from trouble is typically pretty easy, thanks to the many pickups you'll find as you race through the courses. In addition to wrenches, which you can collect and use to repair your car during a race, you can also pick up police shields which, when used by pressing the Z button on the nunchuk, will lower your police heat level and subsequently raise it for an opponent car.

In addition to standard circuit racing in both single- and multiplayer, the game will include a drag racing mode that is reminiscent of the drag racing found in Need for Speed Pro Street. Here, you race in point-to-point races against a handful of opponent cars, shifting gears at the ideal time (as indicated by an onscreen meter) by moving the Wii Remote back as if it were a gear shift. Shifting early will result in slower acceleration, and shifting late might tear up your engine, so you'll want to be accurate with your shifts, while avoiding the oncoming traffic that can make your race a short one.

Need for Speed: Nitro is the first NFS game built specifically for the Nintendo Wii (as well as a DS version, which is also on the way this fall), and as a result it’s a completely different experience from the Xbox 360 and PS3 NFS game, Shift. It's also a significant departure from recent cutscene-driven NFS games on other platforms, so it represents a bit of a gamble on behalf of EA. Will it be enough to bring racing fans to the Wii? We'll find out when the game is released this November.

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Discussion

28 comments
lauxmonster
lauxmonster

I'm getting this. Doesn't look that bad, really.

Clive-Owen
Clive-Owen

anyway, 60 frame per second presentation makes Nitro a must have,

Marcster1994
Marcster1994

Vans?! Sweet! I can't wait to make other cars inferior while they get beaten by a van >:D

VXLbeast
VXLbeast

It could be good, but I am not expecting much. I hate the cartoony graphics.

net198
net198

It seems to be a good game.

Xiosis
Xiosis

I'm not good at simulation racing games so I hope this game will be fun.

Sechu
Sechu

It is great that two different NFS games are in development. I hope that all consoles (HD, SD) get now the best NFS experience.

PS3gamer890
PS3gamer890

Sure does look promising ,looking forward to it.

blink-jfg
blink-jfg

Looks promising (and really hope it's good).

Zantozzzz
Zantozzzz

I dont know I prefer games like NFS Prostreet or NFS Shift, I dont like street races

Express_Diablos
Express_Diablos

Vans... Racing a Van against a muscle car sounds nice.

PolskaKing
PolskaKing

I wonder if you can use the Mario Kart steering wheel to drive. The game seems really good.

shani_boy101
shani_boy101

i don't get why this is only on the Wii. If the game doesn't suck then its the NFS we've all wanted since Most Wanted or Underground 2. why EA why. make it multiplatform.

Bukluk
Bukluk

Hope that the steering is better than the last 2 ;) :) ...

saad77
saad77

it will be cool for sure

Matt2142
Matt2142

I hope this game will ownnnn!!!!

thunderhorse55
thunderhorse55

@ boardn720: ya dude, there are drag races in NFS:most wanted, and they're soooo freakin fun! but they're to short and there arent enough of them lol

nintendo-naut
nintendo-naut

If it has good local multiplayer I'd definitely consider it.