After several years of stagnating
entries, EA has made the much-needed move of revamping the Need for Speed racing
franchise for 2009. The publisher is doing so in a big way, announcing three
separate entries spanning different themes, with Need for Speed: Shift hitting
next-gen consoles, Need for Speed World Online for PCs, and Need for Speed:
NITRO for Nintendo Wii and DS. At a recent press event held at EA LA, the
publisher showcased the latest build of Need for Speed NITRO, a decidedly more
arcadey and accessible entry to the series.
Need for Speed NITRO approaches the
series’ stock formula differently than previous entries, presenting a variety of
different control options, accessible gameplay elements, and a distinct
art-style, which allows you to develop your own designs on your console and tag
the environment with them.
Control-wise, NITRO offers up
several different possibilities for gamers, making sure that anyone can be
comfortable with the game. The game’s default option allows you to hold the Wii
remote vertically (with the IR sensor pointing towards the screen) and tilt your
wrist to move their car from side to side. Additionally, you’ll be able to turn
the remote sideways and tilt it (a la Mario Kart Wii), or use the Wii-mote/Nunchuck
NITRO’s racing model is very
exaggerated and over the top, in an effort to elicit the same type of atmosphere
and feeling as cartoon racers like the aforementioned Mario Kart. You’ll be able
to pick up power-ups on the track as you race, like wrenches that repair the
damage done to your car. Additionally, you’ll be able to “own the world”,
basically tagging the environment with a custom-made logo as you maintain the
lead in each race.
Need for Speed: NITRO also features
a pretty unique look that separates it from the rest of the Need for Speed
franchise. The look is a lot cartoonier than previous iterations of the series,
with brightly colored vehicles and environments, and a smooth clip that stays at
60 frames per second. Look for it to launch this fall.