Need for Speed: Nitro
|Need for Speed: Nitro|
|Developer(s)||Firebrand Games (DS)|
EA Montreal (Wii)
|Series||Need for Speed|
|Platform(s)||Nintendo DS, Wii|
Need for Speed: Nitro is a racing video game and the fourteenth title of the Need for Speed series. It was published by Electronic Arts for the Wii and Nintendo DS platforms. It is also one of only two games in the franchise to date (the other being the mobile No Limits) to not be made for PC and the only game of the franchise to be released only for Nintendo consoles. It was announced in January as part of a three-game announcement that includes Need for Speed: Shift and Need for Speed: World. The game was developed by EA Montreal who have previous experience with Nintendo titles, although the DS version was developed separately by Firebrand Games' Florida studio. An improved version of the DS edition of the game, Need for Speed: Nitro-X, was released for DSiWare in November 2010.
Need for Speed: Nitro is an arcade style racing game that emphasizes speed and excitement over realism or vehicle tuning. The Wii version allows up to four players to race, with a maximum of eight racers at once. The Wii version lets up to four racers compete in drag races, too.
There are thirty classic and modern cars included in Nitro, placed in three classes. The "C" class refers to family cars and includes vehicles like the Renault 4, Toyota Corolla and the Tesla Roadster. The "B" class refers to performance vehicles such as the Porsche Cayman, Ford Escort RS Cosworth and the Nissan Skyline GT-R. The last car class, "A", refers to supercars, such as the Lamborghini Reventón, Ford GT and the Nissan GT-R. There are also 2 SUVs unannounced but officially available in this game; the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S ("B" class), and the Hummer H2 ("C" class). There is two pickup truck available for each system version of the game; the Ford Explorer Sport Trac in the Wii version ("C" class), and the Ford SVT Lightning for the DS.
Events feature different modes, namely circuits, team circuits, elimination races, drift challenges, speed trap challenges, drag challenges and time attacks. Career mode allows players to compete in several cups and build up a roster of vehicles, while Arcade Mode lets players immediately jump into a race with customized difficulty and race conditions. During races, police will attempt to block and ram racers, causing damage that will reduce the players' top speed and amount of nitro available. Police are not in drag races. The game features power-up icons in the race that immediately repair vehicle damage or increase your opponents' police heat level. During a race, players are awarded "style points" based on performing powerslides and drafting, and nitro is recharged over time. There is small nitro and powerful nitro similar to the Wii version of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.
The game has an aesthetic feature called "Own It"; while a player is in the lead, the surrounding landscape and buildings are textured with his car's colors, graffiti, and tags, all of which can be created with the game's new car customization system. Lines on the road will also have the color of the car colors. The "Own it" feature is a convenient way to indicate the race leader, and players get additional style points for staying in first.
The five cities that in which are in the game are Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Cairo, Egypt Madrid, Spain, Singapore, and Dubai, UAE  (and San Diego in the DS version). Each city has two full race circuits, one track for drag racing, and the game takes certain parts of a circuit for time trial, speed trap, and drift events. The two circuits in Dubai are the Palm Jumeirah (artificial islands) and the Dubai Marina. The tracks for drag racing are almost in straight lines. In Dubai, the Burj Khalifa, the Burj Al Arab, and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel are seen in the video game while racing. In Singapore, races take place during sunset. In all the other cities, races take place during the day. In Rio de Janeiro, Christ the Redeemer can be seen.
There are 35 opponents with names in the Wii version of the game, although five of them are "leaders", one for each city, and receive cinematic treatment in the form of a quick intro video clip when the player first accesses a city in each cup. Jawad, the leader of street racing in Dubai, is the most competitive and the hardest to beat. He drives a black Lamborghini Reventón. The street racing leader of Cairo, Egypt is Omar. He drives a Lamborghini Gallardo and a 1965 Volkswagen Beetle. The street racing leader of Rio de Janeiro is Thiago. He drives a Dodge Challenger and a Dodge Charger R/T. The street racing leader of Madrid is Luis. He drives an Audi R8. The street racing leader of Singapore is Zarinah. She drives a Nissan 370z and a Ford GT.
In Rio de Janeiro, racers use muscle cars such as the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro. In Singapore and Dubai, exotics such as the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo are used by racers. In Dubai, there is even Lamborghini Gallardo traffic.
Both versions of the game support multiple control schemes. The Wii version supports five control schemes across four Wii peripheral configurations - the Wii Remote, the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, the Classic Controller and the Nintendo GameCube controller. Two of the five control schemes involve using just the Wii Remote, in which one uses it as a steering wheel. The Nintendo DS version has two control schemes, one that assigns pedals to the shoulder buttons, and another that assigns pedals to face buttons.
There are 26 songs in the Wii version's soundtrack. Some artists in the soundtrack include k-os, Dizzee Rascal, Danko Jones, LMFAO, and the Crystal Method. The soundtrack covers many genres, especially EDM, rock, and rap. Also, Need for Speed: Nitro has a similar soundtrack to FIFA 10, which was developed by EA at around the same time.
Development and marketing
In the new franchising model for the series adopted by EA, Nitro takes its place aiming at casual gamers rather than the hardcore fans of the series and is also Nintendo exclusive. As with previous titles in the Need for Speed series, Nitro features a large catalog of customizable licensed vehicles, as well as cops. It is distinguished by fast, arcade racing with an anime-like visual, akin to Blur. Need for Speed: Nitro is also the first Need for Speed game that has traffic cars that can also be bought in career mode (with the exception of the Volkswagen Golf traffic car).
A trailer was released on the Need for Speed website depicting four cartoon-like vehicles that are actually disproportionate real-life vehicles. The cars were a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T, a Nissan Skyline, an Audi R8, and a Lamborghini Reventón. The trailer also displayed the buildings in different vibrant colors and several disproportionate police vehicles, such as the Shelby GT500.
Need for Speed: Nitro was met with generally positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Wii version 73.31% and 69/100 and the Nintendo DS version 71.71% and 70/100.
Mark Bozon from IGN awarded the game an 8.0 out of 10, stating that "Nitro is a blast despite its faults". Although 1UP enjoyed the title, they criticised the game for its shallow campaign, awarding the game a B-.
Eurogamer was considerably less impressed, awarding the game a score of 5 out of 10, stating that "[although] it might scream 'excitement' at the top of its tiny lungs...Need For Speed: Nitro's initially endearing zest quickly degenerates into repetitive strain." Despite this, Eurogamer praised the innovative use of the changing level appearance depending on the player's car.
Official Nintendo Magazine gave a more positive review, rating it 80% and saying; "Need for Speed: Nitro doesn't do anything remarkable. It doesn't have a fancy gimmick that no other game has featured before, it doesn't have the sort of visuals that will blow you away, and it doesn't offer outstanding online multiplayer gameplay that will have you playing for years to come. It's simply fun to play, and in focusing on quality over quantity EA has managed to put together one of the best racing games on the Wii."
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