Need for Speed: Most Wanted was the closest Criterion has come to re-creating their Burnout franchise since Paradise. It is nice to see the Wii U’s library grow, even if this addition happens to be a game from last fall, with a few new bells and whistles. The same meaty experience comes with enough new features to appease those that waited. While there might not be quite enough reason to double-dip, the new features easily make this the version to own.
If you want to dive deeper into Need for Speed: Most Wanted, you can check out our full review of the game from November. This review will only cover what is new and noteworthy in the Wii U iteration.
The most important thing to note is that all the high-octane racing and super-tight controls of the original game are intact here. The game works with all three forms of control options, with the Pro Controller being the most ideal, though the GamePad is just as serviceable. I cannot recommend the Wii remote function unless the GamePad is just not an option.
Much like in New Super Mario Bros. U, Most Wanted comes packed with a way for observers to join in the game without directly playing. The co-driver mode quickly became a favorite mode in my household. This allows one player to control various toggles with the GamePad such as time of day, weather and what car the other player is driving. It can also be used to interfere with cops in pursuit mode, as well as turning on and off traffic. This is a fun diversion for casual players simply looking to play around. It is worth noting that these options can also be toggled when playing with the GamePad directly, which is also nice.
Off-TV play continues to be one of the biggest selling points for Wii U versions of games, and Most Wanted supports the feature better than most. Switching between views is as quick as tapping the (-) minus button, and the audio adjusts accordingly on-the-fly. Speaking of sound, Criterion has really taken advantage of the Wii U speakers on the GamePad. When playing solo, the cop chatter comes over the controller’s speakers, giving players a sense of separation. The effect is subtle, but really neat in practice.
Also included in this package, is the DLC pack released back in December featuring new cars and events. This adds five new cars to the already impressive roster, as well as 25 new events and 70 new milestones. It was a substantial pack, and it ran $15 when it was released. Having it on board for free is definitely a nice bonus.
Visually, this is the best version of the game by far. The frame rate has been smoothed out fairly well, and the switch between night and day with the co-driver mode is seamless. The game looks fantastic, even when playing on the GamePad’s smaller screen.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted is yet another conundrum for gamers. For those that don’t already own the game, this is without a doubt the best package available, but I have to imagine that audience is significantly small. It also lacks enough new to warrant double-dipping for those that already own the game on another platform.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.