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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Electronic Arts
Developed By: EA Montreal
Genre: Racing
Players: 1-2
Rated: E10 (Everyone 10 and Up)
Release Date: November 3, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Marcus Prunty

February 2, 2010 - There have been many Need For Speed games on the Wii; from Carbon to ProStreet and even Undercover. However, when it actually comes down to shear enjoyment, none of those installments in the franchise are as good as Need For Speed: Nitro. This game takes a different path than that of the recently released Need For Speed: Shift on the Xbox and PS3. This game is more in the arcade style of Need for Speed 2, however carrying on the standard racing feel of NFS, having the ability to drift and use nitro boosts to blaze your way into first place.

This game doesn’t go with the traditional or realistic cars of past NFS games, and instead hits hard and fast with over-the-top speedsters that you can fully customize. The action within Nitro is broken down into five distinct racing regions, all of which have their own distinct and memorable drivers. Unlike previous Need For Speed titles on the Wii, Nitro is the first title released that was specifically built from the group up for the console. Nitro supports many control schemes --Wiimote and Nunchuk, Wii Wheel, Classic Controller, GameCube controller, etc-- allowing the player to feel comfortable playing the game without being bogged down with learning difficult control schemes. No matter what control scheme you use, there are on a couple of buttons you will actually use. You have your gas, break and nitro boost buttons. For those familiar with Burnout Paradise on the PS3 and Xbox 360, you will feel right at home with how the nitro boost is acquired and utilized. Since Nitro dawns an arcade racing-style, drifting is rather simple to use and can be performed simply by tapping the break button as you enter your turns.

Need For Speed: Nitro has two distinct gameplay modes to choose from ; Arcade Mode and Career Mode. Within Career Mode you travel to the five regions talked about earlier, which include Rio, Cairo, Madrid, Singapore and Dubai. Before you enter a race, you will be given an option to choose what car you want to drive within the game; which includes regular city cars, performance cars and super cars. Out of the three distinct categories of cars, the regular city cars seem out of place, however they are in fact supped up versions of traditional cars found within games like Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo. As you win various races within each region, you unlock a certain number of stars, which are required in order to gain access to other regions, new vehicles and the ability to customize said vehicles. First place nets three stars, while second and third place receives two and one stars respectively. You can also acquire stars by drifting during a race and completing a lap under a 1:15. This creates serious replay value within the game because there is a set number of stars needed to open the next city, you find yourself replaying completed races, making sure you acquire all the stars possible.

While racing is the heart and soul of Need For Speed: Nitro, customizing your vehicles is another important aspect to the game. While most of the customization is down to the outward appearance of your vehicle, you will end of spending a lot of time making sure your car is the perfect representation of your personality. This customization tool also extends itself to the city landscape, which allows the player to create a world all their own. In order to take advantage of the tool, you must be the lead car. You can look at this extra option as a reward for those players who put in the extra work to be #1, rather than simply playing the game just for fun.

While many racing games require you to play through the Career Mode in order to unlock all the cars and tracks for its Arcade Mode, Need For Speed: Nitro gives you everything from the beginning. Within the Arcade gameplay mode, you can choose between four distinct racing modes --Team Race, Elimination Race, Drag Race and Circuit Racing—all of which offer up varying degrees of individuality to the Arcade Mode. While it seems that your focus should be on your opponents as you are tearing up the streets in each region, you must keep a watchful eye out for the cops. The fast you go, the more races you win, the police become an ever increasing thorn in your side and this is where your Nitro boosts will come in hand. However in this game; there is what I like to call power-ups, which can help you out greatly. My favorite power-up is the police badge, which diverts the attention of the cops towards your opponents. This powerup works in a similar manner to that of the red turtle shells within Mario Kart. There is also a wrench power-up, which is used to repair any damage that your car has fallen victim to.

“Success doesn’t go without some failures”, which is the case with Need For Speed: Nitro. For one, there’s only one camera angle within the game and it’s from the rear of the car. Now this is probably one of the simplest viewpoints in any racing game, however having only one viewpoint is so 80’s. Pretty much all racing games have several different options when it comes to the in-game camera -- side view, a bumper view, a cockpit view—which allows the game to appear to a wider audience. Another problem with this game is it’s highly repetitive when it comes to the career mode. While it’s not hard to complete a race, it will take you several turns on several tracks in order to acquire enough stars in order to gain access to new regions, vehicles and customization options. In addition, as beautiful and amazing as the landscapes are, they do sometimes blur and blend in with the tracks. This can lead you to drive straight into walls and crash or at the least almost miss the curve and have to hit the brake hard, which will slow u down a lot and cause you to lose places in the race.

Need for Speed Nitro is a very well designed arcade-style racing game. It’s one of those racing games that anyone can pick up, including novice gamers. The cars are powerful, yet beautiful beasts that can be customized to the tastes if the gamer. This game is a lot of fun and a great fit for the Nintendo Wii’s audience. If you want a simplistic, yet engaging racing experience; Need For Speed: Nitro is a definite must play.


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