|Wii U's option for offscreen play leaves the TV HUD-free.|
Due to its open-ended nature, there isn't a whole lot of structure to the game except for the goal of racing and wrecking each of the ten Most Wanted racers (plus one more in the Wii U version). To be able to race them, you have to accumulate points according to your notoriety. You get these points for doing just about everything, including finding the collectibles mentioned above and escaping the cops, but mostly by completing the races and challenges for each vehicle. If you're like me, you'll have a few of the Most Wanted races unlocked before even trying. These races aren't really much more exciting than any other race except that the police chase you more aggressively and the difficulty is a bit higher. Sure, you also unlock their cars for winning, but you already have every single other car at your disposal from the start (assuming you can find them in the city), so it's not that big of a deal to unlock the Most Wanted cars.
It's nice that there's so much to do, but since you can do it almost any order, it means that the sense of progression is a little out of whack. Just as you're getting good with one vehicle, having progressed through its easy, medium, and hard challenges, you'll find that you're out of challenges and need to move onto a new car, once again going through easy, medium, and hard. Apart from the Most Wanted races, the difficulty doesn't and can't really progress with your skill level and, instead, oscillates between easy and difficult.
|The Wii U version also makes use of Miis for previously smashed billboards.|
Alright, so, how does the Wii U version compare to the other versions, you ask? Like this:
On Wii U:
+ Miiverse integration
+ Everyone has a microphone, though most don't seem to use it.
+ Slightly better graphics, or so I've heard.
+ Includes the Ultimate Speed Pack (5 extra cars, 25 challenges, and 70 milestones)
+ Offscreen play
+ Options on Gamepad to switch day to night, turn off traffic, and disrupt cops
- Availability of other DLC is dependent on this version's sales, making it unlikely.
- Online multiplayer only supports six players instead of eight.
- Wii U has no console-integrated achievements.
- Wii U GamePad has digital buttons
- Can't add a custom soundtrack
The final word:
Need for Speed: Most Wanted U is incredibly fun, but it isn't for everyone. If you need more direction in your games, you might find yourself just wandering around, wondering what the point is of it all. Furthermore, if vehicle customization is important to you, Most Wanted is going to leave you disappointed. If, on the other hand, you just want a sequel to Burnout Paradise, this is the game for you. It has some room for improvement, but it's still a darn good game in its own right.
Are you a fan of racing games? Maybe you'd be interested in the improvements I'd make to Mario Kart or the criminally overlooked Excitebots.