Wii Review: Need for Speed Nitro

November 12, 2009 by  

One step forward, 5 steps back?

Need for Speed Shift took the series towards a more realistic style of racing, while Wii owners got their very own dedicated NFS title…Nitro. The series made a great stride with Shift, but will Nitro undo all that?
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Nitro is more of an arcade-style racer with cop cars chasing you and multiple control methods like the steering wheel, using the nunchuk, classic controller and GameCube pad. I personally prefer the steering wheel setup, although it doesn’t always handle the way I’d like it to. Every vehicle handles almost identically apart from a bit of weight from heavy/lighter vehicles, I found it very hard to turn corners without bashing alongside them and losing races as a result.

Cop cars will run you off the road, but you can nab items that shift the focus of the cars onto someone else…it almost seems like the blue shell from Mario Kart and that’s my problem with Nitro. It doesn’t feel like a traditional NFS game, the controls are good….but the game itself lacks polish and originality.
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As you would expect with a name like Nitro, boosting is the main focus of the game which you earn by starting perfectly, drifting and getting items along the track. There’s also a pretty good feature in which the background gets tagged in your graffiti as you drive…although it serves no actual purpose apart from looking good. The career is incredibly short and I was disappointed a lot by that, there is potential here…but it’s over before you know it.

The visuals leave a lot to be desired, car models lack detail and damage effects are laughably bad. The cartoony look is nice, but it doesn’t cover up the bad textures. To add insult to injury, there’s no online multiplayer of any kind. The only thing here is 4-player split-screen which simply doesn’t cut it in my book.

The Verdict

Need for Speed Nitro is a decent arcade racer for the Wii. The problem is that it’s far too brief and ugly to look at that you’ll be wondering how it went wrong. The controls are there, but the rest is poorly executed. It’s hardly a step back for the series, but it could have easily been one more step forward with just a bit more content and some polish.

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