When Need For Speed: Most Wanted came out, EA made certain to hit as many platforms as possible with it. The full version of the game came out on consoles, PC and the Playstation Vita, however due to obvious limitations, the same could not be said for iOS devices. Still, I feel that developer Firemonkeys did a fantastic job with this version. Is it as amazing as the full version? Of course not. That said, it’s also a fraction of the price.
I’ve been reading a lot of reviews from folks disappointed in the lack of features in the iOS version, and I feel it’s important to remind these people that the game cost only $6.99, in comparison to the $39.99 for the Vita version which they like to compare it too, let alone the full price for the console version. Hell, I managed to snag this game during an EA sale for 99 cents.
99 friggin’ cents for this title is a steal.
Lemme tell you why.
I’ve played a lot of racing games on my iPads (plural, as I upgraded to the new iPad when it was first released). I’ve seen the genre go through its growing pains on the tablet, and get to the point where it is now; which is just shy of perfect, as it pertains to driving on tablets, of course.
The controls for NFS:MW are insanely tight. You don’t have to tilt the tablet forward or back to speed up or brake, which is a blessing, as that is one of the worst driving mechanics ever introduced for racing games. Why would you want to make it harder to see the screen or create glare?
In NFS:MW you are always going flat out unless you press down with your right thumb, which activates the hand-brake, or with your left if you want to brake (holding the left side eventually puts you into reverse if you get turned around). Nitrous boosts are activated with a simple flick of your right thumb.
Steering is done by either tilting the device, or if you’ve changed the default settings, you can touch and drag to steer. You can also change the sensitivity if you don’t want to have to crank the device sideways too far. Now that said though, I have found very few corners where I had to turn my iPad too much. In fact, using the hand-brake almost ensures a beautiful, awe-inspiring drift with but the slightest tilt of the iPad. Some corners seem to last forever, as you breeze past on-coming traffic, missing them by inches. It’s absolutely glorious.
For more on gameplay, check out this video I put together.
Suffice it to say, I am very impressed with NFS:MW’s gameplay. Certainly, more would have been better. I would love to experience more of what makes Fairhaven awesome on the consoles, however this is an inexpensive iOS port of the game that isn’t meant to replace the full version available on other platforms. This is meant to be a pick-up-and-go version which allows for quick races on commutes, during commercials and such.
There is enough variety to keep you going for hours if you are a true racing fan, and despite what has been said by some reviewers, you do not have to ever buy any micro-transaction currency to progress in the game. If you can’t beat a race due to the difficulty, that simply means you need to either buy a faster car, or purchase mods before the race; both of which you can do with in-game currency earned by completing races.
If you still cannot beat a race, that means you need to practice. If you feel you should be spoon-fed each 1st place gold, and you can’t do it with faster cars or mods, then perhaps this is not the game for you.
This game is beyond gorgeous. With the exception of just a few cars (which are a little blockier), each looks absolutely fantastic. The city landscape is equally impressive. Each track looks and feels great. As if that were not enough, frame-rates are high enough to ensure smooth racing.
The fact that they even added vehicle damage says it all. The more you abuse your car, the worse it looks crossing the finish line. It’s nowhere near what you will see in the console version of the game, however the fact that they added any at all is impressive.
I would have liked to have seen more activity on the streets, to make them feel more alive, however this is a minor gripe and not something which diminishes the overall score.
As with most Need For Speed games, the audio is top notch. Due to the iPad’s limited speaker, you’ll want to play this game with headphones on. And that’s where it shines. Tires screeching, sirens, and crashes all sound authentic. In the background, you have a great selection of road tunes.
The only exclusion, and it’s odd that they left it out, is the ability to load your own playlist from the music you have stored on your device. People have different tastes, and nothing makes a driving sim more realistic than hearing the same tunes you’d play in your own car. Ok, that was an exaggeration for the sake of effect, but still… it’s important.
$6.99 is a fairly high price-point for iOS games. There are certainly higher priced games, some with nowhere near the level of polish we find with NFS:MW, however there are also some very good racing games for a fraction of the cost. As I mentioned earlier, I picked up this game on sale for a buck, so for me, this was an unbelievable deal. That said though, having put in a considerable number of hours, I can honestly tell you that I would have no qualms about paying full price for this game. It is that good.
In terms of the micro-transaction shop, as I stated, if you are picking up a racing sim, you are likely going to want to be racing. Racing earns you money, with which to then buy whatever cars you want. Sure, some will take you longer to buy due to their high cost, however they are not unattainable. If you want them immediately, you are given the option to pay for in-game currency. Overall, the rates are quite reasonable, in my opinion. The only time they will seem too high is if you want to pick up a high-end exotic car. In that case, sure, ten bucks is overpriced. However in such cases, I would suggest only picking up a portion of the cost and racing to earn the rest. That way, you will actually still have a sense of accomplishment.
It’s not often I say this, especially of an EA game, but this is fantastic value for your money.
I had fairly high hopes for this title, and was not disappointed. I will be picking up the Wii U version when it is released, and am looking forward to it. That said, I know that I will still continue to also play this iOS version whenever I feel for a quick race.
People need to understand that this iOS version was not meant to compete directly with the console and Vita versions. You’d think the price-point would have been enough of an indicator, though apparently not.
Likewise, to those who complained about the micro-transactions as being “necessary”, I would say, L2D.
I am both a fan and a hater of micro-transactions, which is to say my opinion of them varies entirely on how they are handled in-game. I have no problem paying extra, depending on how much the original game cost, how much these items costs and how much they will help me. Not all micro-transactions are evil. And I do not feel they are in this game.
I have started referring to Need For Speed: Most Wanted for iOS as a must own for racing fans. That says a lot right there.