These different takes on the old NFS formula all work pretty well and will keep you on your toes at first, but with 24 races in career mode you’ll soon find yourself falling into a routine. Doing the same four or five race types for six cities in a row gets a little repetitive, but the core gameplay is remarkably solid and the course design is colorful and creative, so career mode is fairly enjoyable overall. My only real issue with career is that you must play through it all the way on the bronze difficulty to unlock silver and gold. Bronze is really, really easy, which makes the game accessible for novices but players looking for a challenge will have to finish the lightweight mode before they can get it.
NFS Nitro gives you a wide selection of options for customizing your profile and vehicle. You can choose the color of the body, highlighting and rims, the specific body graphics and their color, and even the tag you use during races. If you don’t like any of the preset graphics or tags you can create your own in a decently deep image editor. You get a total of 33 cars to unlock, from vintage Fords and Dodges to Corvettes, Porsches and even a VW bus. Each one has its own handling but there isn’t as much variation as I would’ve liked. It’s still a nice selection for a car fan, though.
Nitro’s multiplayer doesn’t have as many options as career but you can play multi-card in either versus, co-op Tag’em All or co-op Smash’em All. Single card download play only lets you race on a single track but it is a nice inclusion. The multiplayer doesn’t include online play, but it’s robust enough to be a decent substitute for the venerable Mario Kart when you want something different for local play.
As you’d expect with any game backed by EA’s publishing budget the production values in NSF Nitro are a cut above. The courses themselves look very nice when you’re racing along at high speeds, just don’t slow down too much—the textures can get a bit grainy, but then again you aren’t supposed to stop and admire them at length. The cars are the real stars of the show and are all rendered beautifully. Their glossy specular highlighting gives them an almost cel-shaded appearance. The sound effects are a tad stale in comparison, but a healthy selection of licensed music fleshes out the audio portion. You can even scroll through the music tracks at will during a race. As an added bonus NFS Nitro is compatible with the DS ruble pack, a feature you don’t see too often.
Need for Speed Nitro isn’t revolutionary but it is a well rounded package with a lot of content. That content tends to repeat a bit but it’s enjoyable enough that you’ll feel compelled to finish the career mode. NFS Nitro might have had some issues on the Wii, but on the DS it’s a solid game that I enjoyed regardless of what mode or race type I was playing.
Need for Speed Nitro has a lot of solid content, good production values and a large quantity of customization for a DS game. The different race types tend to repeat but the core gameplay is fun enough that you won't care. If not realistic, NFS Nitro is a well rounded racing game that gives you your money's worth, and is surprisingly robust for a portable title.
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