Face-Off: Need for Speed: Most Wanted on Wii U (2024)

If there's any developer ready to give brand new console hardware a fair shake, it's Criterion Games. From Burnout Paradise to its celebrated reinventions of the Need for Speed series, the studio has an impeccable record turning in tightly matched games on 360 and PS3 platforms alike, with no-one left wanting. With the hotly anticipated Wii U version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted it aims to go one better. By no means a straight port, the boat is being pushed out much further this time with its suite of unique GamePad features, improved PC-grade textures courtesy of the console's 1GB of RAM, and a greatly revamped approach to its night-time lighting.

So can this new edition truly be taken as the definitive version? In our original Face-Off feature, it was inevitably the PC version that offered the greatest number of perks in resolution, shadow quality, reflection mapping and object draw distance. However, the two console versions held up to the Guildford studio's long-held standards for parity, with only an occasional lead in frame-rate on Sony's platform dividing the two in the final tally. One immediate benefit of waiting an extra five months for the Wii U version is the inclusion of the first 'Unlimited Speed' DLC pack as standard, plus any basic engine refinements that had been applied to these initial releases.

Alas, these optimisations aren't all included on the disc, and booting the game still demands a sizable 156MB patch install to bring the version up to 1.1.0. With everything set up though, we pit the visual quality of this release against the PC, 360 and PS3 versions with the head-to-head video below - plus our quad-format comparison gallery. Due to the dynamic nature of the game's day-night cycle, it is worth noting that there are minor differences in shadow positions at various points.

From the off, it's a strong start for the Wii U, boasting the very same resolution as its console counterparts. There's a slim, 8-pixel high border to both the top and bottom of the output, which reduces the effective resolution to the familiar 1280x704 value spotted in our last analysis. This minor concession is designed to suit each platform's limited memory bandwidth while avoiding any upscale which might muddy over the image - though thankfully this is absent from PC. On top of this we have a post-processing pass which aggressively attacks aliasing artifacts. This approach may not appeal to all eyes since many fine details are ultimately blurred over, but the overall quality falls in line with the other console versions.

"Criterion has made good on its promises to deliver a more visually rich version of the game for Wii U owners."

Alternative comparisons:

Looking to the promised texture bump, a clear upgrade is in effect which gives us crisper-looking concrete roads, tyre patterns, hubcap designs and building fronts. These end up matching the sharpness of the PC version's higher settings, leaving the PS3 and 360 looking a tad smudged by comparison - especially during the cinematic sequences that roll before each race. However, the bump is only made to specific areas, with lower-priority surfaces like the roads' painted white lining still relying on console-grade textures. In this sense, the Wii U offers something of a middle ground between the PC version at maximum texture quality and that which we've already seen on consoles.

Reflection-mapping also benefits from an upgrade to a similar midway degree on Wii U, particularly where puddles are strewn across busy urban streets. Once again, only certain buildings are reflected on 360 and PS3 - the side effect being that floors appear brighter as a result of a more of the sky being revealed. On the other hand, the Wii U has more in common with PC by mirroring most geometry at a distance, which creates a darker and more natural look to glistening road surfaces. Again, the draw distance on these reflections doesn't quite extend as far as a high-end PC can, but it's an improvement over the other home consoles nevertheless.

Criterion Games makes a big point of showing off its revamped night-time lighting by having Most Wanted start off at midnight on Wii U. During the day, little has perceptibly changed, but once dusk hits it's clear the world is engulfed in a more intense pitch of black - a move that accentuates the glow from particle lighting, coloured sign-posts and street-lamps. The contrasts are more stark now, but the lighting ultimately sits better with the environment. However, the upshot is that streets now appear less saturated in colour, which puts an emphasis on using a car's headlights to navigate poorly-lit roads. The alternative is, of course, to switch back to day via the GamePad's 'co-driver' controls, which causes the sun to whip across the sky in a stylish time-lapse motion.

Elsewhere, the tweaks are either less obvious or non-existent. The Wii U puts out an equivalent quality of motion blur, particle effects and alpha to the PS3 and 360 versions. Car shadows still look blocky from afar, and smoke from screeching tyres continues to bring out a heavy sawtooth effect across surrounding geometry. This indicates a low-resolution alpha is at play, which has the Wii U falling in line with the PC's lowest visual effects setting. The geometry seen on buildings is identical to the other console versions too, as is the draw distance on cars, bollards and traffic lights, with pop-in only being faintly detectable when careening across busy cityscapes.

Off-screen play is in. Most Wanted can be played entirely through the GamePad's 6.2-inch screen at the touch of a corner button, the downsizing of which helps to hide these visual nips and tucks. The HUD elements and overall field of view are well tailored to this size of screen, which makes oncoming traffic easier to spot than the smaller-yet Vita version when travelling at speed. Failing that, the option to turn AI cars off altogether ties in nicely with this method of playing the game, though this still involves switching between screen modes to view the co-driver menu. Nevertheless, it's eminently playable in this form thanks to the game's pick up and play nature; a true stand-out feature when stood next to the other releases.

When the action is on the HDTV, your options open up massively. Touch-screen controls essentially give us a god-mode; six giant buttons pop up which allow Fairhaven to be manipulated in various ways. Besides toggles for traffic and light, it's possible to hop into any car without needing to fish them out from the urban wilderness. For those being pursued by cops, a giant map also comes in handy for spotting upcoming speed cameras or security gates, with an option to disrupt cop radars at the ready. This doesn't upset the balance of the game too radically; rather, it simply peels away the attention of one vehicle. Being followed by a very short cooldown, use of the ability also has to be timed well for it to serve any real advantage in your escape.

"Co-driver mode aims to make the game more accessible for Wii U owners and it does so without impacting the core experience."

Face-Off: Need for Speed: Most Wanted on Wii U (25)
Face-Off: Need for Speed: Most Wanted on Wii U (26)

Undoubtedly the biggest disappointment with the Wii U release is the cut-down player count in online multiplayer, offering a maximum of six racers rather than the eight possible on other consoles. Seeing as the competitive element counts as the most compelling part of the package, such a compromise can't have been made lightly, and we do wonder what technical explanation there is be for this limitation. As a plus for those concentrating on exploring Fairhaven, there are several Nintendo-themed secrets littered around the world - the specifics of which we'd rather not spoil - plus the bundling of the very first 'Ultimate Speed' DLC. There's plenty of single-player content to discover, but speaking on the game's longevity, the status of the Velocity, Heroes, and Movie Legends packs remains up in the air. However, creative director Alex Ward has hinted that anything could be possible, given enough sales for the version.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted - performance analysis

With all of its GamePad-based features and visual tweaks, a concern is rightly raised that the low 1.24GHz core clocks of the Wii U's CPU may be a limiting factor for performance - an issue that came to a head with the choppier frame-rate of the Black Ops 2 port. From the onset, the setup for Most Wanted remains the same as on Sony and Microsoft hardware: it's a 30FPS target with permanently engaged v-sync to cut out all tearing.

Looking at a mixture of pre-race cinematics and intense city races, it's clear the Wii U version makes good on that promised 30FPS. Very good, in fact - rather than being bogged down by the extras, we're instead seeing a frame-rate that sticks to its target more diligently than either the PS3 or 360 versions. In each case, the worst hits to performance coincide with too many cars, physics-based action involving crashes, or excesses of on-screen alpha. Dust clouds appearing around tyres brings that refresh hurtling down to a constant 20FPS on rival consoles, but the Wii U dips to just 25FPS for that same duration. It's a clear result that tips the scales even further in favour of this latest version of the game.

As performance goes, the only true drawback we can pick out relates to the stability of the game. While posters on NeoGAF are divided on the frequency of hard-locks - with some suffering many, and others none - we can report that in our five hours of play we've experienced only a single lock. Curiously, this kicked in just as we stumbled upon one of the Nintendo-themed secret areas, though the Home button also ranks as a common factor in these reports.

"GPU bottlenecks on PS3/360 aren't as much of an issue on Wii U, though there are occasions when the older consoles manage to pull ahead."

Touching on loading times, the Wii U delivers a solid turnaround which holds up to the 360 version when installed to HDD. Put to a practical test, the Emerson Beltway stage takes the 360 and Wii U releases 15 seconds to load for the first time, while the PS3 trails the pack at 22 seconds. Fortunately, once a level is cached to each respective console's memory, the time for retries is reduced significantly to just eight seconds apiece - an ideal situation for Autolog users striving to beat a friend's record time.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted on Wii U - the Digital Foundry verdict

All in all, having taken a decade-long break from Nintendo since the release of Burnout 2 on GameCube, Criterion Games has used the Wii U to conjure up the definitive console version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. It's not an overwhelming advance that matches the visual fidelity of the PC version in all regards, but additions and tweaks are numerous and well-considered. At no expense to the frame-rate, textures stand at the midway point in the quality spectrum, between the more blurry assets we're seeing on PS3 and 360 and the highest possible settings on PC. It's a worthwhile upgrade that extends to reflection draw too, with all other visual facets being identical, and the frame-rate coming away smoother regardless.

Tweaks to night-time lighting are welcome too, bringing a more natural darkness to the environments, while at the same time enhancing the look of directional lights. It's a bold change when compared to the more vibrant lighting of the previous releases, and crucially one which doesn't interfere with the core racing experience. There are shortcomings to the Wii U package that must be noted though; starting with the uncertain release schedule of future DLC, and the cut down to six players for online play. The lack of analogue triggers on both the GamePad and Classic Controller Pro may also be a factor for some, where re-mapping acceleration to the right analogue stick is a necessary workaround for those who prefer to modulate their speed.

In summary, this ranks as the version to get if those points can be overlooked. The conversion is a sound one, and GamePad features are well-implemented and useful - if not all absolutely essential. Many are luxuries, such as the ability to hop into any car immediately, which ultimately make exploring Fairview a much easier experience. Meanwhile, the inclusion of off-screen play brings this version to life in a way no other release can at this time. When considering the mixed quality of ports that have hit the Wii U so far, this ranks among the stronger and most committed efforts to cater for its strengths - a tradition we hope will long continue.

Face-Off: Need for Speed: Most Wanted on Wii U (2024)

FAQs

Is Need for Speed available for Wii U? ›

Need For Speed Most Wanted (Nintendo Wii U)

What is the rate of NFS Most Wanted? ›

$29.99 at checkout, auto-renewed every 12 month(s) at $29.99.

What resolution is Need for Speed Most Wanted Xbox 360? ›

From a number standpoint, Most Wanted also delivers a 720p, wide-screen experience with 4X anti-aliasing and 30 frames per second.

What is the resolution of Need for Speed Most Wanted 2012 PS3? ›

Cut-backs have been made to the resolution on consoles, though they are slight. The actual visible output on PS3 and 360 is trimmed down to 1280x704 apiece, where 8 pixel high borders can be spotted at the top and bottom of the screen.

What is the difference between Need for Speed Most Wanted and Wii U? ›

The only difference is that the PC version has a higher resolution, so that's to be expected, but the fact that the Wii U version rivals the PC version really shows how dedicated Criterion Games was in making this version of NFSMW for the Wii U.

Can the Wii take Wii U games? ›

No. Wii U games can only be played on the Wii U.

Is NFS Most Wanted 2012 still free? ›

2012's Need for Speed Most Wanted is now free for Windows PC.

Where can I download NFS Most Wanted for free? ›

How to Download and Play Need for Speed Most Wanted on PC
  • Download and install BlueStacks on your PC.
  • Look for Need for Speed Most Wanted in the search bar at the top right corner.
  • Click to install Need for Speed Most Wanted from the search results.
Apr 19, 2023

Who is the most wanted girl in NFS? ›

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (Video Game 2005) - Josie Maran as Mia - IMDb.

Is Need for Speed Most Wanted backwards compatible? ›

Unfortunately no. You can view a list of all backwards compatible games at https://www.xbox.com/games/backward-compatibility The backwards compatibility program ended last year, so anything that has not been made compatible, will not be.

Is Need for Speed Most Wanted The Best Need for Speed game? ›

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is one of the most iconic installments and a smashing hit from the franchise. It is still considered one of the best racing games and carried forward the open-world concept from Underground 2, while also maintaining the cop chases from NFS Hot Pursuit.

Can you play Need for Speed Most Wanted 2005 on Xbox? ›

Developed by EA Canada and EA Black Box and published by Electronic Arts, it was released in November 2005 for PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Nintendo DS, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Advance and Xbox 360. An additional version, Need for Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0, was released in the same year for PlayStation Portable.

How do I change the resolution in Need for Speed: Most Wanted? ›

Following is the quickest way: - Goto the folder where the NFS MW is installed (mostly in C:\Program Files (x86)\EA\). - Search for the file "nfsmwres" and double click on it. - Here you can change the resolution to 1280*720.

What is the highest resolution for PS3? ›

Set the resolution. * The video resolution is selected in order of priority as follows: 1080p > 1080i > 720p > 480p/576p > Standard (NTSC:480i/PAL:576i).

What resolution is GTA 5 PS3? ›

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) is available for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Xbox 360. For both platforms, the native resolution of the game is 720p. If you are playing GTA 5 on your PS3, then make sure that you've selected 720p resolution via your PS3 Video Output Settings, to get the best quality video output.

Are there 2 versions of Need for Speed: Most Wanted? ›

Need for Speed: Most Wanted may refer to: Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005 video game), developed by EA Black Box. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012 video game), developed by Criterion Games.

Why is NFS Most Wanted 2005 so good? ›

What sets Most Wanted apart from many games though, is that there's a real sense of progression. From the first race you compete in, you have a clear goal; to beat Razor, no matter what the cost is.

Which is better NFS Most Wanted or Hot Pursuit? ›

After Hot Pursuit came the Most Wanted spiritual reboot, which ended up being nothing like the original game in nearly every way. For those who've played it, 2005's Need for Speed: Most Wanted is widely considered the best game in the whole series.

Is Wii U better than Wii? ›

The Wii U Is the Best Way to Play Wii Games

The Wii U is basically an improved Wii. Nearly all Wii games are playable on the Wii U and in HD, no less, making it the best way to experience almost any Wii game you desire. Backward compatibility is something that Switch owners have never experienced.

How many Wii U games exist? ›

There are 795 games on this list, 206 of which were released physically on a disc. The list is sorted by game titles, their developer(s), publisher(s), released for and release date by Japanese, European, and American respectively.

Can you put a Wii disc in a Wii U? ›

Yes, it's possible to play Wii games and use Wii accessories on Wii U. However, please note that it is not possible to use Wii U games or accessories on Wii.

Is NFS Most Wanted offline? ›

Need for Speed: Most Wanted (Offline) (Regular) Price in India - Buy Need for Speed: Most Wanted (Offline) (Regular) online at Flipkart.com. The product is genuine and it works just fine except few lags.

Which NFS game is free? ›

Electronic Arts NFS World is the franchise's one and only free-to-play title. Exclusive only to the Windows platform, Need for Speed: World was the first free-to-play title of the franchise.

Can you buy cars on NFS Most Wanted? ›

New Cars are purchased with Cash acquired from placing in Races. Cars become available for purchase based on the number of accumulated Speed Points or after defeating Most Wanted drivers.

What is the cheat code of NFS Most Wanted? ›

Need For Speed: Most Wanted PC Cheat Codes
Cheat CodeEffect
castrolUnlocks the Castrol Ford GT.
givemethegtoUnlocks the GTO.
iammostwantedUnlocks all cars.
burgerkingUnlocks the Burger King Challenge.
Sep 11, 2020

Is NFS No Limits free? ›

Need for Speed: No Limits (stylized as NFS No Limits from 2021 onward) is a free-to-play racing game for iOS and Android, and a mobile installment in the Need for Speed video game series, developed by Firemonkeys Studios and published by Electronic Arts.

Who is the villain in NFS? ›

Darius is the main antagonist in Need for Speed: Carbon. He is the leader of the Stacked Deck crew and initially seemed friendly towards the protagonist, until it was revealed that it was he who set him and Nikki up in the past and towards then.

Who is razor in NFS? ›

Clarence Callahan, also known as Razor, is the main antagonist in Need For Speed: Most Wanted. He later reappeared as a recurring antagonist in Need For Speed: No Limits, and as an unseen minor character in Need for Speed: Unbound.

Who is the girl in NFS undercover? ›

Maggie Q portrayed the character of Chase Linh, the game's main antagonist towards the end of the story.

Does Xbox have NFS? ›

+Offers in-app purchases. Game requires Xbox Game Pass Ultimate or Xbox Live Gold to play on console (subscription sold separately).

How many cars are there in NFS Most Wanted 2005? ›

With this 36-car set, players can test EA's physics system, get a feel for a variety of vehicles, and then tell the cops to come and get it. Using new features including SpeedBreaker (like Bullet Time) and Gamebreaker (environmental hazards) as well as nitro to evade cops, your arsenal of tricks is loaded.

Can we play NFS in Xbox? ›

+Offers in-app purchases. Online multiplayer on console requires Xbox Game Pass Ultimate or Xbox Live Gold (subscription sold separately).

What is the best NFS game ever? ›

Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2005

the game has it all. From reckless cops to great car customization and responsive car mechanics to engaging game modes. Most Wanted is not just the best NFS game, but it is one of the best video games ever, period.

Which NFS is open-world? ›

4 Need For Speed: Underground 2

The first Need For Speed to go open-world, and by doing that it changed the course of the franchise, which is still being felt to this day. Not only is it the first open-world racing game, but also one of the most iconic racing games in modern gaming.

What was the last Need for Speed game? ›

The series released its first title, The Need for Speed, in 1994. The most recent game, Need for Speed Unbound, was released on December 2, 2022. Additionally, a free-to-play mobile installment released in 2015, Need for Speed: No Limits, is actively developed by Firemonkeys Studios, the developers of Real Racing 3.

Can Xbox 360 play original Xbox games? ›

You can play some original Xbox games on your Xbox 360 console if you have an official Xbox 360 Hard Drive. Things to keep in mind: If you're not able to play a game on the following list, try updating your console software. Game saves from an original Xbox console cannot be transferred to an Xbox 360 console.

Can you buy NFS Most Wanted on Xbox One? ›

need for speed most wanted xbox one - Best Buy.

What game is like Need for Speed: Most Wanted? ›

How do I force change resolution? ›

Click Start, and then click Control Panel. In the Control Panel window, click Appearance and Themes, and then click Display. In the Display Properties window, click the Settings tab. Under Screen resolution, click and drag the horizontal slider control to change the screen resolution, and then click Apply.

How do I force a different resolution? ›

Change the screen resolution
  1. Stay in, or open, Display settings. Open your Display settings.
  2. Scroll to Scale and layout.
  3. Find Display resolution, and then choose an option. It's usually best to stick with the one that's marked (Recommended).

How to play free mode in NFS Most Wanted? ›

There's no free roam mode in the Android and iOS versions of Need for Speed Most Wanted. If you want the full portable game, just go buy the PS Vita version which is 98% identical to the console and PC version.

What resolution is PS2? ›

The PlayStation 2 can natively output video resolutions on SDTV and HDTV from 480i to 480p, and some games, such as Gran Turismo 4 and Tourist Trophy, are known to support up-scaled 1080i resolution using any of the following standards: composite video [should read component video - the higher resolution RGB connector ...

What resolution is PS5? ›

PS5 Display Resolution

Following the September 7 2022 firmware update, the console currently supports the following resolutions: 720p. 1080p. 1080i (presumably for TV content support)

What image quality is PS3 eye? ›

The PlayStation Eye is capable of capturing standard video with frame rates of 60 hertz at a 640×480 pixel resolution, and 120 hertz at 320×240 pixels, which is "four times the resolution" and "two times the frame-rate" of the EyeToy, according to Sony.

What resolution is Resident Evil 5 PS3? ›

It runs at native 720p, and employs the use of full-on 4x multisampling anti-aliasing on Xbox 360, while using the 2x Quincunx technique on PS3.

What resolution is Red Dead Redemption PS3? ›

640 by 1152 pixels, in fact, compared to the Xbox 360's 720 by 1280, which is 184,000 pixels missing, or about 20%.

What is the lowest resolution in GTA V? ›

If you're playing on a big Full HD or 4K screen, you'll want to run GTA 5 at its native resolution (1920 x 1080 or 3840 x 2160). But 4K means you should have a top-of-the-line graphics card (or two) to run smoothly.

Can you play Need for Speed on Wii? ›

Need for Speed: The Run - Nintendo Wii.

What devices can you play Need for Speed on? ›

Games
TitleYearConsoles
Need for Speed2015PS4, Xbox One
Need for Speed Payback2017PS4, Xbox One
Need for Speed Heat2019PS4, Xbox One
Need for Speed Unbound2022PS5, Xbox Series X/S
21 more rows

On which platform Need for Speed is available? ›

Watch Need For Speed Full Movie Online in HD on Sony LIV.

What systems can you play Need for Speed on? ›

Need for Speed (2015)

Released in 2015, this game was a complete reboot of the Need for Speed franchise and was developed by Ghost Games. It was released on the Playstation 4 and Xbox One as well as PC using the now-defunct Origin gaming platform by EA.

Which version of Need for Speed is free? ›

Need For Speed No Limits.

Can you play GTA on Wii? ›

Gta 5 For Wii : Target.

What games are available for Wii? ›

Can you get NFS Most Wanted on ps4? ›

need for speed most wanted ps4 - Best Buy.

What was the first NFS game? ›

The Need for Speed – (1994)

Does Nintendo have Need for Speed? ›

Reignite the pursuit

Feel the thrill of the chase and the rush of escape in Need for Speed™ Hot Pursuit Remastered on Nintendo Switch™ . Unleash a savage sense of speed both as an outlaw and a cop in the world's hottest high-performance cars.

Is The Movie Need for Speed A Disney movie? ›

Need for Speed held its world premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre on March 7, 2014. The film was released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through the Touchstone Pictures banner on March 14, 2014, in selected 3D, IMAX, 4DX and 2D theaters.

Is Need for Speed only on PlayStation? ›

Q) Why is Need for Speed only available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One? A) Developing the game for the new generation of consoles allows us to fully focus on delivering the best experience possible for our fans. The extra horsepower of the newer consoles is allowing us to build the ultimate Need for Speed experience.

Will Need for Speed be on Xbox? ›

+Offers in-app purchases. Game requires Xbox Game Pass Ultimate or Xbox Live Gold to play on console (subscription sold separately).

How to install Need for Speed Most Wanted on PC? ›

How to Download and Play Need for Speed Most Wanted on PC
  1. Download and install BlueStacks on your PC.
  2. Look for Need for Speed Most Wanted in the search bar at the top right corner.
  3. Click to install Need for Speed Most Wanted from the search results.
Apr 19, 2023

What consoles is Need for Speed Unbound on? ›

Need for Speed Unbound
Platform(s)PlayStation 5 Windows Xbox Series X/S
ReleaseDecember 2, 2022
Genre(s)Racing
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
12 more rows

Will Need for Speed play on PS5? ›

Need for Speed Unbound is the latest in the NFS franchise and is available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S as well as PC.

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