The Need for Speed series has always been a car tuner enthusiast’s wet dream because of its endless list of customization options, beautifully rendered cars and gameplay that truly mimics the racing underground world. Thankfully, EA has taken the third in the series up a notch by reinventing the car models to look more realistic, enhancing the cars’ damage effects and delivering vehicle performance that truly feels customizable.
The first thing you will notice about the game is the look of the cars. The cars really look like they were put together using odds and ends, especially in the earlier races, where you’ll see different colored headlight covers, different rims, unfinished paint jobs and other odds and ends. Furthermore, the cars take damage realistically from paint scrapes to holes actually being punched in the fiberglass, all car damage in some way will effect performance and will have to be addressed in between races.
The gameplay is similar to previous Need for Speed outings with different events covering Grip races (eight car standard racing) and timed events. Most of the race days are Grip events so you’ll simply race against eight other cars to get to the finish line first. The timed events usually focus on your class of cars and gaining the fastest times at various checkpoints. The developers added three levels of difficulty so everyone should have no problem getting through the numerous race days to face the ultimate racer, Ryo.
An interesting mini-game that’s been included is the drag racing events. The tire grip mini-game before the drag race was a bit awkward and confusing and probably should have been left out. It wasn’t until we realized how long the career mode was that this minigame got very old. It’s nice that the developers have broken the events into different styles of races and break the monotony, but there should have been a few underground races thrown in for good measure.
A major qualm we have with the game is the sheer number of events. There’s almost too many and it would have been nice to unlock faster and better cars more quickly. Racing with a beat up 4 banger gets pretty old fast, especially when you know there is a Lamborghini in the game somewhere. Also, many of the courses are just the same track rerouted. It would have been nice to see a little more environment changes more often. Our guess is that if you’re heavy into the car simulation aspect you wont care about where the car races just as long as it performs realistically.
Realistic is where the game shines, however. If you’re into tuning cars and fixing damage from previous races then you’re definitely in for a treat. Everything is customizable about the cars and you’ll be find yourself needing to dominate races in order to get the points needed to update and repair your cars. Not only is it necessary to win the race, you’ll want to break time records and get through the game with the least amount of damage. A cool new feature is the ability to shape the body of your car and run it through a wind tunnel to see if you’ve improved the car’s aerodynamics. The creative tool that allows you to customize the body paint and decals are cool, but why can’t you use your car online? What’s the point of designing a cool car if no one is going to see it?
Xbox 360 owners of the game are rewarded with a flurry of in game advertising that almost becomes distracting because all the events are sponsored by real world companies. The sponsors change frequently and you almost feel like you should have gotten the game for free by the time you’re done with it. In addition, Xbox 360 owners also have the ability to purchase unlocked cars at any time, which will allow a gamer with extra cash to breeze through the game’s levels without really earning it.
The game’s announcers and overall story don’t seem to have the polish a game like this needs to feel authentic. Character models are a bit exaggerated and don’t seem to fit with the level of detail given to the cars. Also missing are the fun cop chases that were in the previous two games. For some reason, the developers left this out and it feels more like a Forza game rather than a street racer.
Overall, Need for Speed: Pro Street suffers from monotony as the game’s career mode is way too long and repetitive. We found it hard to press through, especially, since the many of the races are rerouted environments. The cars look great on the 360 version of the game and the damage effects are as good as those found in the Burnout series. If you’re a car moder then you’ll definitely have fun fixing and modifying your damaged cars.
- Score: 7.2
- Cars and physics shine in this game, but the gameplay gets repetitive in an overlong career mode.
— J. Thomas