Need For Speed: Most Wanted For The Wii U: The Best Version You’ll Find?

Matt Hawkins takes Need for Speed: Most Wanted for a test drive on the Wii U.

Need for Speed Most Wanted Ultimate Speed Pack

At a press event in New York City yesterday, EA had a number of titles on-hand, including the Wii U port of the recently released Need For Speed: Most Wanted.

For years, we have grown used to the Nintendo port of a previously released game for Sony or Microsoft’s machine falling short in various regards. Despite all assurances to the contrary, which are often given in a somewhat half-hearted manner. At least this was how it was with the after the fact Wii ports; they never looked as good as the Xbox 360 or PS3 iterations.

And due to the pattern being so ingrained, it's easy to assume that history would repeat itself, especially since many after the fact Wii U ports have felt the same. Which is why it was a breath of fresh air to hear Jayme Figueroa, Associate Product Manager at Electronic Arts, state with the utmost degree of confidence and straightforwardness, that the upcoming Wii U version of Need For Speed: Most Wanted state is the best version you will find at the end of the day. It's a point I asked for him to reiterate repeatedly, and which was done with zero hesitation.

Figueroa explained that the team at Criterion Games, best known as the creators of the Burnout series and who was recently given stewardship of EA's long standing Need For Speed franchise, with the hope that they would turn the once floundering IP around (and which they've largely succeeded at), are huge fans of the Wii U hardware.

NFS Most Wanted

Which is why, when it came time to produce the requisite port, they wanted to do something truly substantial. So first's first; every single thing that was found in the original Xbox 360, PS3, and PC ports is included. Actually more so; the first DLC that came out for those versions, the Ultimate Speed Pack, and which added five new cars for $10, is already included.

Though the key differentiation is how the GamePad is employed. There's a new featured that was dubbed "father and son mode" that allows two people to play a solo race simultaneously. Initial reports sounded hardly special, and the name given also didn't instill one with much excitement. But the execution is a slightly different story.

It works like this: the primary driver controls the action with Pro Controller. Or the Wii Remote, or the Wii Wheel, or any other controller that one can plug into the Wii Remote's connector port. When asked if I could use my special edition Super Famicom controller, designed primarily for authentic Virtual Console gaming, the answer was an emphatic yes.

The second player, the assist, has his or her hands on the WiiPad. And on the screen are several options to help the first player in case there are any problems. The two primary means is removing all traffic and placing them back in. While Figueroa raced, I chose the option multiple times, but because we were on a strip of road that didn't have many other cars period, it was hard to see this effect played out.

The other means of assistance is distracting cops. If the driver has the law on his or her tail, a simple press of the touchscreen will cause them to spin out. Which one supposes can be handy in certain scenarios, but it was again difficult to fully comprehend the action on screen, since you're not really seeing the fuzz crash into each other, since you're long gone by then. I asked about the potential for abuse and was explained how the primary driver is given points for performance, which includes cop evasion. The more one has to rely upon help, the less points are given at the end of the race. Makes sense.