Need for Speed: Nitro Updated Hands-On

The Need for Speed series gets a refresh on this purpose-built Wii version, and we've got a hands-on look.

You don't need to hang out with the producers of the upcoming Need for Speed: Nitro for long before they'll tell you that this is the first Need for Speed game built specifically for the Wii. Good thing too, because the previous iterations for the Nintendo console have ranged in quality from pretty good to, well...not so good. With Nitro, the developers at EA Montreal are infusing the game with a style all its own, evident from the game's look all the way down to its controls. We've seen Nitro a couple of times before, and recently EA came by the GameSpot offices to give us some updated hands-on time with the game.

When in doubt, drift.

The central component of Nitro's single-player game will be its Career mode, which will have you traipsing all over the world as you race in locales as varied as Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Madrid, Cairo, and, eventually, Dubai. Producers told us that all of these locations have real-world underground racing scenes--a fascinating (if seemingly unlikely) prospect in a strict law-abiding society like Singapore--all of which were researched for this game. A good chunk of that real-world research has been tossed out the window (or, at least, used merely as inspiration) when creating the breakneck racing that is at the heart of Nitro's gameplay.

One cool aspect of Nitro's Career mode is its cooperative aspect--you can play with up to three friends in any Career mode race. Completing races and finishing in the top positions will earn you stars that you can use to unlock new content. When you're playing cooperatively, all of the stars collected by all human players will go to a central pool that can be used by the lead profile to unlock new areas.

Controls in the game are flexible and easy to learn. You can play with a Wii Remote and Nunchuk, or with the Remote by itself. The A button is gas, the B button is your hand brake (which you can tap to drift in corners), and you steer the car by twisting the Wii Remote. Drifting through corners will earn all-important turbo boost, which you can engage by flicking the Wii Remote. While you can't total your car in a race, damage will affect how much boost you can build up--if you incur too much damage, you'll lose your nitro boost altogether. To fix your car, you drive over repair wrenches that you can then use by pressing down on the D pad.

There are lots of different race events available in the game--traditional circuit races and elimination races (where the car in last place will be eliminated after a certain amount of time), as well as time trial and speed challenge events. Speed challenge races will measure your speed through a number of speed traps located at certain points on a circuit; the goal is to finish with a minimum total speed, added up at the end of a race. Unlike the other race types, speed challenge events won't let you repair your car mid-race, so if you bang your way around the turns, there's a good chance you'll lose your nitro boost altogether and won't have a chance of hitting your speed totals. There are also drag racing events, which put more focus on shifting at the right time (you shift by flicking the Wii Remote). As in our previous look at the game, drag events are tough because you have next to no time to react and get out of the way of oncoming traffic--in fact, just like last time, we weren't able to finish a single drag racing event before crashing. Here's hoping they significantly tune things before release.

Nitro's multiplayer races will be fast-paced affairs. (They won't be quite as quick as the single-player races, though, which are running at 60fps. Multiplayer races run at 30fps). Perhaps the biggest strategic advantage you'll have, besides simply taking the corners well and using boost judiciously, is the heat meter and shield pickups. Nitro races will have cops along for the ride, and as your heat level rises in a race, so too will the cops' harassment. To lower your heat level, you drive over shield boosts found on the circuit--activating a shield boost will lower your heat level and automatically put the heat on a nearby driver.

Travel the world--Nitro will take you to Cairo, Rio, and elsewhere.

Whether you're tagging the world with customized graffiti when leading a race, or putting skulls and flowers on your Day-Glo orange van, Nitro will give you plenty of options for customization. You'll be able to change the paint scheme of your car, quickly add stickers and other designs to your car, and create custom logos that will pop up in the world.

Nitro might be built for the Wii, but it's coming to the Nintendo DS as well. The DS game is being developed by the folks at Firebrand Games who previously developed the TrackMania DS game. TrackMania's nutty influence is evidenced by the track design in Nitro for the DS--the last time we played the game, we drove one section of a race on a roller-coaster track, and the most recent time we played it, we were drifting through corners and taking sweet jumps on the moon, which pretty much answers anything you need to know about this version of the game.

Need for Speed: Nitro is due for release on the Wii and DS on November 17.

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Discussion

57 comments
Greek_Boy17
Greek_Boy17

on the surface, this game looks a tad childish. But sometimes looks can be deceiving. I really hope that its truly worthy of the need for speed license, though.

mathewd3
mathewd3

Some of the cars look like Hot wheels cars on the car selector :( Looks ok though, may get

jetstopia
jetstopia

Havent played a N4S game in ages but this looks like it might be worth giving a try, gotta love running from the cops

masterman280
masterman280

the graphic are alot better wwhen you watch a video of it screenshots lies

masterds64
masterds64

@spalacios12 The ps2's time is up-move on.

Spalacios12
Spalacios12

hey i noticed something.......... if they were able to make this for the wii then the ps2 should have gotten it too since ps2 didnt get a new nfs! =]

Spalacios12
Spalacios12

if this had wifi-----10 but overall it looks great! i only wish it had a liitle bit of burnout qualities like if you crash your car will go into a slow motion destruction piece to piece........ Total: 8 of 10

coug22
coug22

reminds me more of Burnout than nfs

junor69
junor69

good god it looks like PS1 Game wow just wow

JohnnyBiz
JohnnyBiz

Jeez... apparently the WII graphics aren't getting any better... pretty sad. Reminds me why I haven't played my WII in a LOOOooong time.

rgame1
rgame1

no oline no buy. I am sirry but multiplayer is important to me. Thats the main reason i comeback to mario kart so much.

smashninja22
smashninja22

this looks way cooler than need for speed shift

killeracer0210
killeracer0210

Great graphics, very cute cars, Faster than needforspeed shift, I would get it on Nintendo DS version.

huntervaneg
huntervaneg

As I always say: "I hope the best for this game (so far I cannot be sure it will happen) just because the Wii (in fact the gamers) needs desperately good games."

xts3
xts3

The game doesn't look that great because EA isn't spending a tonne of money on it, lets face it EA is TESTING the Wii with it's own game since the Wii is so underpowered they can't just port from Xbox and PS3

black-knight012
black-knight012

.....if this is a serious wii racing game, how the F**k are they still in business? my god can someone tell nintendo to make something good with the wii? or just make a good wii? Either is fine cause that looks really shi* compared to 360 and PS3.

WildStyle123
WildStyle123

The only thing in my opinion that sucks is that there is no Wi-Fi but besides that the game seems good.

red-drybones
red-drybones

I'm sure the game is meant to look the way it is, the cars. Hey, Wii owner should be happy. Why? because has spend time and resources for a game for the Wii :D... that's a big step forward from past games. HOPEFULLY other developers will follow their example.

VillasAE
VillasAE

Lol...and sigh... Even though the wii is much more powerful than the ps2 and the gamecube, somehow these graphics look worse than older nfs games such as most wanted and undercover on the previous consoles. I've got a wii and I'm really dissapointed. I only have it for a year or so and I've only played metroid corruption, mario galaxy, ssmb and mario kart wii. I haven't been bothered to buy any third party games 'cause most of them are really crap. Third parties have to start making actual games for the wii and not some cheap and unintuitive conversions of games for the more powerful consoles. One recent example: Dirt 2, gamespot score: ps3 - 9/10, xbox360 - 9/10, wii - 4/10.

figaroatl
figaroatl

I think its great that someone came up with a new racing game concept, I mean sheesh, shift and undercover are same old same old+ a few new tracks, cars, and graphics. Hopefully the game will be as good as I imagine; if its not, my wii is as good as out the window!

gazabaza
gazabaza

i'm getting a 360 but not sure whether to get shift or nitro oh i have a wii

beel-kun
beel-kun

If this game has Wifi I will be glad plus DLC Will be a good idea for players to enjoy more cars!!! I just don't know what to says, but what makes Wii racing games sucks that there's no Online at all... How shame

redoAlf
redoAlf

cmon need a good wii game :(

AngelCage-2
AngelCage-2

The grapic detail looks awesome.... if the game was on PS2/PSP :P PS2 Burnout Revenge looks better.

ATTE93
ATTE93

i like this game

R_D_L
R_D_L

Is it just me, or do all third party wii games look worse than ps2 games? (Sigh...)

Gill50511
Gill50511

The graphics look like something of the Out Run games you find in arcades. These cheap looking graphics Better be covered by the game play or this need for speed game will be a disapointment.... like before

JERMINITIS
JERMINITIS

I'll pass. That's sad considering that I'm all about the Wii.

fuzzmower
fuzzmower

3D-models and graphics look horrible from these images. But what do I know, have only tried Mario Kart on Wii. But if this is as good as it gets then no, not buying a Wii anytime soon.

Neku_rules
Neku_rules

Man , just wait to see it in action, maybe the animations are really good and the new style could be great.

JHCP
JHCP

no good graphics

charizard1605
charizard1605 moderator

Looking forward to this for the DS...

jimy1475
jimy1475

i hawe no hopes on this one

razielmn
razielmn

graphics Looks just like PSP games to me

Raephius
Raephius

Positive Comment: Cool :) The Wii Doesn't really have serious racing games, so it's nice to see this. I wonder if they'll focus on SIM racing or Arcade Style... Negative Comment: Wii usually gets the poop end of the stick with games because it can't handle the demanding graphics like X360 & PS3. And does EA make a new Need for Speed every time someone farts? Couldn't they just make a good one & continue to work on it with DLC?

Korrupt_Soul
Korrupt_Soul

Shift looks better graphics wise. Whatever the case they'll never bring back what they had with the Underground series.

MecaShadow
MecaShadow

I still say this sounds like it'll be great fun, as the Wii could use a nice fast-paced arcade racer that isn't a bad Mario Kart clone. Here's to hoping this turns out as promising as it looks in the end.

wineva
wineva

controls sound stupid

TheCadaver
TheCadaver

looks pretty good sad to say its like no comparison to gran turismo 4 graphics wise , which was made 4 years ago -_-