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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Black Box

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

November 13, 2007

 

 

- Racing, even without the trademark street racing of Underground, Most Wanted or Carbon, is still solid and enjoyable

- Drag races are adrenaline-pumping joyrides at ridiculous velocities

- Enhanced car design and modification features

 

 

- Did away with the typical street racing that made the franchise so popular and replaced it with generic circuit racing that can be found in many other racing titles

- Have to possess nearly perfect handling dexterity on some tracks

 

 

Review: Need for Speed: Most Wanted (360)

Review: Forza Motorsport 2 (360)

Review: Project Gotham Racing 3

 

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Need for Speed ProStreet

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

When Need For Speed took it to the street first in Underground, then in Most Wanted followed by Carbon, the car racing franchise reached a new level of excitement and greatness that elevated Need For Speed to the top of the car racing genre. For whatever reason, Electronic Arts decided to take the one element that Need For Speed did extremely well, street racing, and shifted gear in its newest rendition, ProStreet, repositioning the racing onto a much more structured worldwide circuit that seems somewhat constricted with its sometimes closed-course racing.

 

need for speed prostreet          need for speed prostreet

 

Gone are the total openness and even the “naughty” nature of illegal and downright criminal racing that branded the last three versions of the franchise, to the lament of many Need For Speed motorheads everywhere. However, while it’s a questionable tactic by EA to totally revamp the focus of Need For Speed from its popular street racing roots, as gamers would have probably been happy with a sequel to the very good Carbon, ProStreet and its more structured racing events isn’t a bad alternative.

 

What ProStreet suffers most from ironically is not its performance under the hood, because it’s revved up where it matters most, with very good racing events,

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including those requiring drift, grip and speed expertise, along with improved tuning features and the usual good controls. No, it’s the too-close similarity to other racing games that takes the street out of Need For Speed and creates just another good racing title not too different at first appearance from Microsoft’s own Project Gotham Racing. It was that street element in

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Need For Speed, just like Burnout’s crashing gameplay, that stood out amongst the racing game crowd.

 

Many of ProStreet’s features, though, elevate the game from the run-of-the-mill pack. Drag racing is a great event, sure to delight the thrill-seeking racing gamer with adrenaline-boosting battles of pure speed: one car against the other, the fastest to the finish line wins all. In order to become a drag champion, gamers must tune their cars to their highest performance levels, and with the new Blueprints feature along with Autosculpting, you can design that ultimate auto.

 

need for speed prostreet          need for speed prostreet

 

Performance-wise, this game is a two-way street. On the one side, it really isn’t that difficult to finish first in race event after race event. But crossing over the other side, there are certain races that require an inordinate amount of car-handling skill due to ProStreet’s new physics engine to avoid losing control and totaling a vehicle in spectacular car-flipping fashion. There’s a delicate balance of not too difficult with just hard enough to keep gamers on the road to glory while still inducing a few beads of sweat to appear on their brow.

 

For the rest of ProStreet’s experiences, gamers will be racing in “organized” race days, with multiple events to prove their savvy in. If gamers do well, they’ll face off in a “boss” battle before moving to the next day’s worth of events in another worldwide locale, again with the final goal being to defeat a “boss” on the gamer’s journey to becoming the king of “street” racers.

 

Need For Speed as a franchise, although giving a solid on-track performance in ProStreet, might want to consider a U-turn and returning back the street racing that made playing a Need For Speed title so titillating. There are still chills and thrills to be found in ProStreet’s more organized “underground” racing series, though, as the racing action still very much fills the need for speed for racing gamers.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(December 13, 2007)

 

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