Need for Speed: Most Wanted U review

  • Fun and varied multiplayer racing modes
  • Challenging racing system that values skill over luck
  • Great leaderboard implementation
  • Underwhelming singleplayer campaign
  • Poor feedback regarding racing routes
  • Poor fit for GamePad's off-screen play

Editor's Note: The below review pertains only to the Wii U version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. Check out our complete Need for Speed: Most Wanted review for more on the game as a whole.

When Need for Speed Most Wanted burst onto the scene last fall, it combined many of the best features of the franchise--intense high-speed police chases and loads of real-world vehicles--with the strongest traits that the developer Criterion had cultivated in the Burnout series over the years; namely, over-the-top vehicular destruction. When it was announced that Most Wanted would be coming to the Wii U, some were worried that something would get lost in translation.

The Wii U version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, which released on March 19, 2013, is no afterthought. It sports a terrific look and sound to go along with its meaty campaign. A clear hierarchy of controllers exists for Most Wanted’s notoriously demanding mechanics; the Wii U Pro Controller offers the best experience, followed by the GamePad then the Wii Remote.

The Co-Driver mode, unique to the platform, is an interesting feature allowing a second person to lightly influence the main player’s game. While most core gamers won’t give it a second thought, it can certainly be fun for parents to let their youngsters distract cops during a police chase, choose different vehicles and paint jobs, or change it from day to night.

The Wii U’s off-screen play on the GamePad is beloved by many system owners, and Most Wanted offers it as well. While it looks superb and is welcome in situations when your significant other wins the rights to the TV, the split-second reactions needed in the packed-to-the-gills streets on the small screen will have you pining to get the action back on the big one.

As a standalone Wii U title, Most Wanted U offers a tremendous amount of fun to lots of gamers. If you’ve already spent a decent amount of time tearing up the streets of Fairhaven, it may not be worth your while to revisit. However, since any progress you’ve made in the game on any platform will automatically be brought forward, that could actually turn out to be a bonus. Need for Speed is a powerful, compelling game with some creativity to go along with its deep gameplay, and Wii U owners should be happy it’s around.

More Info

Release date: Mar 19 2013 - Wii U (US)
Mar 21 2013 - Wii U (UK)
Available Platforms: Wii U
Genre: Racing
Published by: Electronic Arts
Franchise: Need for Speed
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Alcohol Reference, Comic Mischief, Violence


  • DMR440 - April 2, 2013 10:21 p.m.

    what luck to stumble upon this review. I'm a big NFS fan so now I gotta get my hands on it
  • Rub3z - March 19, 2013 3:02 p.m.

    Wait, wait... I'm interested in this, but this two-paragraph review of this version only addresses the features added by the gamepad. Is it really running PC assets used for the game as opposed to what the 360 version is running? I know it's also 1080p as opposed to 720p, but what about the extra content? Does it come included with all the DLC and content updates released so far, including the Airport, Movie cars, NFS classics, etc?? If you guys could inform me, that'd help a lot.
  • Rub3z - March 19, 2013 9:52 p.m.

    Nvm, only the Ultimate Speed Pack. However, it only goes for 30 bucks, so in total if you got the add-on packs ($25) it'd still be less than a full-price at launch, and far less than full price plus the additional cost of that DLC. Hmm...
  • Swedish_Chef - March 19, 2013 11:13 p.m.

    According to other reviews out right now the game does actually use PC textures making this the best looking console version of the game. When you consider that this is game that already looked good on other consoles now running at 1080p with PC textures and with the ability to project data to two screens at once while keeping a smooth framerate (not sure of specifics), the game is definitely a big technical achievement and shows the potential of the Wii-U's future.
  • majormoses117 - March 19, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    So.. no flying cars or police car tornadoes and pyramids?
  • Stillnotlola - March 19, 2013 4:16 p.m.

    The world may never understand, dude. Can't wait to see if there's any more random crap like that :D
  • XIV14 - March 20, 2013 10:05 a.m.

    lol...that's what I was looking for.

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