|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Left Field Productions||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 15, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
While we're on the subject of Nitrobike's problem areas, it's appropriate to bring up the subject of the game's visuals. To be blunt, they're not nearly as good as they could have -- and should have -- been. I hate to keep comparing this game to Excite Truck, but there really are a lot of parallels. It's pathetic, though, that a game released for the Wii more than a year ago looks significantly better than a similar game released present day. Bikes and their riders look a bit pixilated, and with all the action going on on-screen, the framerate occasionally takes a noticeable drop. Wii owners are probably used to it by now (that is, playing games with sub-par graphics), and it doesn't hugely detract from the gameplay experience, but the game certainly could have looked nicer.
For those who can look past the game's visuals, though, and the sometimes-annoying controls, there's a lot of depth to be had here. The career mode, in particular, has a lot going for it all will keep you engaged for a while. There are tons of events to be completed, and while a lot of them are simply races, there's also a good amount of variety to keep things fresh, interesting, and exciting. There are also some fun little mini-games, which don't hugely affect the fun you'll have with this game but demonstrate the efforts made by the development team to change up the racing genre and make the game worthy of the Wii's general innovation.
And then, of course, there's the multiplayer. Local multiplayer supports up to four people, and it's a lot of fun to take part in the frantic action with up to three of your friends. The online multiplayer option is also fantastic and allows you to go head-to-head with people around the globe with copies of the game. The online will likely take up the majority of the time you spend with this game, and that's by no means a bad thing: the online is fun and exciting, and will definitely appeal to hardcore, arcade-racing fans.
Ultimately, though, the thing that hurts Nitrobike the most is that it just doesn't bring much new content to the table in terms of Wii racing titles. In fact, aside from the well-done online mode, it's a near carbon-copy of Excite Truck. If you're the type of person who, like myself, didn't really care much for Excite Truck, you're going to want to pass on Nitrobike. If you really loved it, though, or if you're looking for a solid, well-rounded entry into the world of Wii racing games, then Nitrobike is certainly worth a look.
CCC Freelance Writer