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Need for Speed Most Wanted is one of the finest driving games of this generation, on any platform. If you play it on the WiiU, you’re going to get a grand driving game. This review applies, and these ten cool things are fully in effect.

But what you’re not going to get is any meaningful added value from the WiiU.

After the jump, driver side gamepad

Electronic Arts has the right idea for how to adapt Most Wanted to the WiiU. Unfortunately, they don’t have the right execution. Sure, you can play on the gamepad if your kids are watching Power Rangers videos on the main TV. But in terms of crafting any sort of multiplayer experience, this is a sadly missed opportunity. While one player drives with another controller, the other player gets the gamepad, with its own screen. Think of all the cool things you could do with this. Maybe the co-driver could provide some of the navigation cues Most Wanted sorely needs? Maybe some sort of head-to-head driving along the lines of Ubisoft’s superlative Driver, with one player jumping into neutral traffic? Maybe the gamepad player could run interference trying to protect the main player from cops during the chase races?

Sadly, none of these options is available. The only thing another player can do with the gamepad is press a few buttons of questionable value. One button turns day to night, for instance. Why is that in there? Another button turns off traffic entirely. Why is that in there? Traffic is a substantial facet of the game, so on the WiiU, it’s now an optional facet of the game? The other player can also press a button to cause a random nearby cop to spin out. There’s no justification for this beyond “just because”, but it can be moderately useful. However, this “just because” feature isn’t available with the controller, so I have to keep the gamepad beside me to stab at the button during a chase. Thanks, WiiU.

I suppose the gamepad is a valuable way to look at the map without calling up a fullscreen map view. But mostly, it’s a sadly missed opportunity in an otherwise great racing game.

4 stars
WiiU