A Review Of Need For Speed Pro Street
A look into previous versions
The game may be called Need for Speed, but there is every chance that you will end up in need of desperate patience as you embark on this sequel, reviews Sohail SaleemThe Need for Speed (NFS) racing series is without a doubt one of the best racing series ever to have graced consoles or the PC. Unfortunately, while NFS: Most Wanted was the finest sequel that the series had offered its racing fans in quite some time, NFS: Carbon (the next instalment) failed to live up to the expectations that Most Wanted built up.
The Pro Street
ProStreet tells the story of Ryan Cooper, a faceless driver (he always wears a helmet) trying to make his name in the legal racing scene, but after winning the first race he is dismissed by the champion, Ryo. And so, it is up to you - as Ryan - to make your way to the top, challenge Ryo and beat him.
To get to the pinnacle you will have to participate in a number of races which are divided into several Race Days happening at different places. Races include Grip Races, Sector Shootouts, Drag, the returning Drift and Time Attack.
Even though there is a variety as far as the different types of events are concerned, the racing in the game is not particularly exciting or adrenaline pumping for reasons more than one. Firstly, since this time around it is all about legal racing, you will not be tearing through the countryside or city streets. The free-roaming aspect of the series is completely gone and you are now left with racing around tracks on airfields where each ‘new' track is just a variation of the same old track with a few new twists or turns.
The fact that the career mode is particularly long does not help this technique since it essentially means that you will be driving around the same tracks over and over again. Also, in the game, you do not just have to win the Race Day, but also ‘Dominate' it.
Each Race Day has particular target points that you must achieve in order to dominate it, and the only way is to compete with majority or all the events and earn the desired amount of points. So when you combine repetitive tracks and forced participation in the career mode, the racing becomes a chore rather than a thrill.
Secondly, the highlight of racing in NFS: Most Wanted was the high speed chases with the police all over the town. While the role of the cops was decreased in NFS: Carbon, in NFS: ProStreet, the cops have been completely eliminated from the picture. As a result, you are left with only one racer that does not have much excitement to offer.
Thirdly, the charm of visually customising your car is also lost in ProStreet because there is no reason to install new car components such as rims, sideskirts or exhaust pipes, etc. In NFS: Underground 1 and 2 you had to install these components to increase your cars' rep to progress better in the game. In Most Wanted and Carbon, these parts helped you to lose heat that you may have gathered while engaging with the police, but in ProStreet these parts serve no purpose except for the body kit and spoiler which do improve the performance of your car.
Other than that you will not be compelled to spend your hard-earned cash on the remaining component and you would be better off spending the money on performance enhancing parts such as engine, brake and suspension upgrades, etc.
There are many fast and exotic cars locked away, for which you have to slog through the first dozen or so races in slow cars that make the initial pacing of the game excruciatingly slow. It feels more like a ‘need for patience' game, rather than a ‘Need for Speed'. Winning these races earns you cash and winning Race Days and Dominating them allows you to pick a random prize such as extra cash, repair markers and unique parts for your car from five cards.
The game on PS 2
The graphics of the game on the PS2 are downright ugly. When compared to the last great racing game that appeared on the console - Gran Turismo 4 - the level of detail of the tracks and the cars found in ProStreet are miles behind to what GT 4 had to offer two years back. The cars of NFS used to look great, but this time around they look quite average and so do the tracks. The reason that I am comparing this game to a simulator rather than an arcade racer such as Burnout is because this game copies majority of the elements from simulators and tries to be more of a simulator than an arcade racer which it should be.
Next, ProStreet also features a damage model which is completely absent from the PS2 version of the game. Ramming your car's head-first into a wall at 100 mph results only in a few scratches with no windscreen damage or mashed bumpers etc. Unlike the past two games which had cut-scenes that were a mixture of real actors and animated backgrounds, ProStreet features no such mixture which is sad since these hybrid cut-scenes added an extra layer of slick to the game. And even though, it does feature in-game cut-scenes they are not very good compared to what the previous games had to offer. Also, the storyline is not particularly interesting, neither are the characters very likeable.
The audio of the game is no great shakes either, mainly due to the DJs that are present at each Race Day. These DJs are obsessed with calling out your full name every time they mention you or something that you may be doing. During the races, they are constantly talking about useless stuff and even when the game is loading and saving they irritate by getting on your nerves.
There are around thirty licensed tracks in the game from various genres such as rock and hip-hop, but nothing is particularly outstanding or memorable. The sounds of engine are not very distinct and crashing sounds made by the cars as they ram into walls or anywhere else do not sound very convincing or realistic.
All said and done, it is not easy to release sequels every year, so credit has to be given to EA for trying something new with the Need for Speed series. The game does offer a decent racing experience, but at the end of the day, NFS: ProStreet fails to deliver on almost all aspects and fails to live up to the expectations yet again. This is one race you would want to withdraw from.