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Need for Speed Most Wanted U vs PS3+360 – Digital Foundry Tech Analysis

I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Digital Foundry, but they have a job to do. In their latest tech analysis, they compare Need for Speed Most Wanted on Wii U, against the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. Hit the link to see a summary of the analysis.

Here is their conclusion of Need for Speed Wii U:

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.

One other thing to add is the Wii U version does run at a more consistence framerate. The PS3 and Xbox 360 version can go as low as 20 FPS, while the Wii U’s lowest framerate is 25 FPS, with a more consistent 30 FPS. However, I’m never buying another EA product again new, so I’m waiting till this game is used for $20 before I play it. Sorry EA, you’ve lost all my respect.


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  • Really good post, thanks for all of that, provide useful info

  • kneehighspy

    I loved EA back in the late 70's and early 80's when their titles came in what looked like old LP Vinyl record cases, the days of hard hat Mack, pinball construction set, archon and last but not least, mule.

  • Bay2OnWiiU4Life

    Need for Speed: Most Wanted U is my first and FINAL game that I'm buying from Electronic Arts. I hope that Peter Moore becomes the CEO and fix the root of the problem… bring EA back to Nintendo consoles.

    • wooferz

      Even if EA did support Nintendo what games does EA have that are actually worth $60? Their CoD clones; Battlefield and Medal of Honor? Dead Space? The medicore Dragon Age series? Crysis, the graphics demo that poses as a game?

      • Bay2OnWiiU4Life

        Good question, Wooferz. For now, all answers to these questions will remain unsolved.