Need for Speed ProStreet Reader Review
Amazing to think that the Need for Speed series is now 13 games old...
Yep, ProStreet sees the series entering its 'awkward teen' phase though at least this time round you can see what's going on as EA have decided to emerge blinking into the daylight once more. But hark, what's that? The sound of roaring engines without the shrill wail of police sirens in the background? What's going on?
Well you might've gleaned a small clue from the subtitle of this one. Prostreet. No, not a dodgy cul de sac in a red light district but a series of racing challenges on purpose-made tracks, proving once and for all who has the fastest street-modded production car.
Oh yes, the modding stuff is still there. You can still take a measly Volkswagen Golf, strap a ton of Halfords bits to it and produce something with more horsepower than a formula one car. And this particular element is the direction the series took in the Underground years, and seems to be the direction it's sticking with until someone sees sense and brings the proper supercars of yore back.
Shiny new engines
The new NFS engine is a nice piece of work though. Cars look fantastically detailed, though the tracks are a bit staid and boring (city streets swapped for tracks that look a bit like something you'd race go-karts round). You'll be pleased to hear that there's no tearing at all, but there's a fair amount of frame-droppage during busy races.
And with regards to the racing bit, there are several different types of challenge to undertake, from grip racing (blasting round the track in whatever you turned up in), speed races (hair-raising eyeball-melting more-or-less straightline races to gauge which is the fastest car on the flat) and my personal favourite the drag races. These really are ace, take a naff old 60s muscle car, give it 20" rims on the back, 4" rims on the front, and mod the engine till it squeals - bingo, one mentalist car with so much power it literally shakes on the starting grid.
Na na, hey hey, kiss it goodbye
It's a shame then that despite all the goodies under the hood, the game soon descends into repetitiveness. It's quite strategic, balancing out the amount of money won with buying the correct upgrades but as with previous games in the series, one seriously wrong upgrade mistake could pretty much cost you dearly and if you're left with a garage full of cars that can't complete at the level you've reached, you've no choice but to trash the game and start again. Never liked this aspect to the turd-polishing Need for Speed games and it's a shame to see it here again.
There are pre-set challenges in a variety of pre-selected cars which can bail you out if you need a quick cash fix, but again, it can take quite a while to build back from a screw-up so be wary, save often.
In conclusion, Need for Speed Prostreet seems a little lost and awkward though technically it's one of the better games in the series. For me to start gushing, the whole IP needs to go back and take a long hard look at Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit and learn some valuable lessons in how to structure a nice uncomplicated game that ticks all the right petrolhead boxes. You don't need a sandbox city or a series of lacklustre racing venues, just some interesting tracks, a truckload of cars, and cops. Oh and daytime, keep the daytime, we like the sun...
6 / 10