|System: Wii, PS2, PS3, X360, PC, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 13, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
The Need for Speed series has been around for quite some time now. It has outlasted many racing series by continuing to evolve and presenting players with interesting and unique experiences. At least that was true before this title was released. This game seriously makes me think that they actually took steps backward for the series. Gone are the fantastic police chases and underground-racing scenes; in their stead, you are given a very uninspired title based on professional street racing.
You play the game as Ryan Cooper, a yet unknown driver looking to make a name for yourself. After your first completed race, you are confronted and called out by Ryo Watanabe. This fairly unrealistic and lame exchange serves as your entire reason for racing in this title. You must then play through a seemingly endless number of events to earn the right to finally put Ryo in his place by defeating him. As with most racing games, you start off with a fairly limited vehicle. As you finish events and earn cash, you can upgrade your current clunker or purchase new and better vehicles. If you finish well enough in some events, you can also win new vehicles or parts for upgrading. There is definitely no shortage of vehicles or ways to customize them in ProStreet.
Car customization and tuning are obviously the best part of this title. As with the previous Need for Speed titles, you can make every vehicle your own by meticulously altering your cars' performances and looks. The options here are very robust and will not disappoint even tech-heads. For newcomers who aren't well versed in the specifics of upgrading their vehicles, the game offers an automatic upgrade ability that will make tinkering with your car seem a lot less intimidating.
Need for Speed ProStreet gives players the option of having several versions of the same car. This may initially sound unimportant, but it really becomes quite essential as you play. This allows you to tune your vehicles specifically for the game's various event types and save them as a blueprint. Each car can have up to three blueprints saved, which makes each vehicle feel very versatile and gives you a leg up on your competition.
To progress through the game's career mode, you will have to compete in several different race days. These are basically just groups of events that you will need to place well in to proceed. If you do well enough and blow away your competition, you can actually dominate them completely. Dominating events is the best way to earn cash and car bonuses and is necessary for unlocking more race days.
In these race days, you will participate in various events including grip races, drift events, drag races, and sector shootouts. Grip races and drifting events are fairly straightforward and slightly entertaining. If only the same could be said about the drag races and sector shootouts. The drag races aren't entirely bad; they are just made less enjoyable because of the lame tire burning minigame that precedes them. A gauge will appear and you will need to keep your speed in the appropriate section to warm your tires and gain a better start. You will need to do this before every drag attempt. Since you will do three runs for every event, this quickly becomes extremely annoying. Sector shootouts are fairly frustrating as well. In these events, you will compete to earn points in the ten individual segments contained in each track. The player with the best time in these stretches is given points based on his/her time through that specific segment. However, you will only be awarded points if you beat the preceding opponents' best times. Unfortunately, what this basically boils down to is that the first player through a section gets points no matter how they finish. Since these events begin with your opponents in front of you, it can become difficult and frustrating trying to overcome this imposed handicap.
Track design is another serious problem in this title. Firstly, almost all of the tracks feel eerily similar. You will play through many events to beat this game, yet the only major differences in the tracks are the directions that you need to turn. Secondly, the tracks are all extremely linear. There are no shortcuts or surprises to be uncovered; you just drive your line and try to finish in first. Lastly, the tracks are all really narrow. With the lack of shortcuts, it can often be difficult to successfully navigate around your opponents on these drab and claustrophobic tracks.