Need for Speed: ProStreet Review
PIV 2800, 512MB RAM, 8.1GB HDD, 128MB video card
|ESRB rating: E
release date: Nov 07, 07 (released)
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As most of you should know, Need for Speed has been around for more than 10 years. The developers are trying to bring something new with each iteration and this time their goal was to offer a slightly more realistic approach to racing, toning down on the arcade aspect of the game. So, it's not about being a bad-ass and making a name among illegal street racers, but rather trying to push your car to the limit in a series of official races and events - most of which occur on real world locations throughout the US, Europe and Asia.
Let's see what this baby can do.
I can still make it...
ProStreet puts you in the role of a racer named Ryan Cooper, who needs to accomplish a series of challenges and events before he can take part in so-called Showdown races. His ultimate goal is to challenge the "king," Ryo, an expert in every racing discipline. In other words, there's a long way to go, before you become an influential racer.
The first thing I encountered was ProSteet's somewhat awkward interface. Browsing the menus may take some getting used to, especially when you're trying to use the Career map. After dealing with this slightly bothersome aspect, I started to get into the spirit of the game. You have to finish races and "dominate" events in order to earn points and cash prizes. Dominating involves winning almost every challenge in a single race day. Most race days center on grip racing, drift racing, speed challenges, drag racing and such.
My first real disappointment arrived when I had to tone down some of the visual effects to ensure a smooth frame-rate, which I'm sure will be the case for gamers with modest rigs. If you have a slightly stronger PC, you'll surely appreciate how the game looks. Car models are highly detailed and the tracks look nice too. One thing though; you might have a hard time looking past all the advertisements and billboards. At times, ads and posters could easily distract you during races. It happened to me a couple of times and I actually swirled off track. Sponsors and ads are an expected part of real-life races, but EA overdid things in this game (other NFS titles were better in that sense).
The game's audio is okay, but nothing exceptional. The choice of tunes is fairly enjoyable and you'll be pleased with the sound effects, although I must admit they could've incorporated a wider variety of engine sounds. Also, by the end of every racing event, you'll feel a powerful urge to muzzle the announcer who keeps yapping on about the same things over and over again. The developers have shown us enough mercy, so you can switch off the announcer's voice at any time.
The principal of racing is very different from what we've experienced in earlier NFS games. Tracks and races are now police-free and your cars are susceptible to light and heavy damage, unlike before. So, is this good or bad? Well, I for one was thrilled when EA mentioned they're finally including "realistic" damage. When racing at high speeds, players must take extra care or they'll run the risk of totaling their vehicles. The good side to this is that it really makes races more believable than before. The downside is that sometimes even the slightest collision could result in light damage. Totaling your car is also something that's bound to happen often, especially when you're taking part in speed challenges and you have to achieve maximum velocity in order to win. Due to all this, you're likely to restart races plenty of times and that tends to get a wee bit tiring. The good news is that if you damage or total your car, you'll be able to fix it by using cash or markers. Markers allow you to repair the vehicle for free, but you'll have to earn them along the way (winning races, dominating events, etc.).
The concept introduced with ProStreet works okay and I must say the Career mode was fun for a while. After designating and fine-tuning specific cars for each event (drag racing, drift, speed challenge and so on), the racing may begin. Remember, your aim is to achieve better results than other drivers. The cool thing is that tune-ups and custom upgrades make a significant impact on how the car acts on the track. Customization plays a key role and it means you can directly influence the car's overall performance on the track. For a number of events, this is extremely important. If you participate in drag races, engine power and aerodynamics should be your chief priorities. Alternatively, when competing in grip races (essentially classic circuit racing), you're gonna want to improve handling among other characteristics. Whatever you add or remove from the vehicle can affect it during the race.
6.4 Above Average
Customizing cars, decent damage model, plenty of cars, events, challenges and tracks, looks nice;
Nothing innovative, not nearly as fun as earlier NFS games, online potential not fully used, frame-rate issues on moderate rigs.