Need for Speed ProStreet - PS2 - Preview
During the summer of 2006, Lightning McQueen told audiences all over the world that he was “faster than fast, quicker than quick.” He was, as he noted, “lightning.” His unparalleled speed was unmatched.
Similarly, Need for Speed is a racing series that could be described in the same manner. From Hot Pursuit to Underground, gamers have been turning to EA’s classic franchise for more than 10 years.
In less than two weeks they’ll have another NFS to turn to: ProStreet. Taking elements of last year’s game, Carbon, ProStreet leaves the Hot Pursuit style of gameplay behind (or so it would appear). However, fans of Underground will be thrilled to know that its dragster racing stages are back, along with a new tire burnout feature that lets you do more than blow smoke.
Any Day of the Week
ProStreet’s single-player campaign revolves around the concept of Race Days – scenarios that cluster various competitions together for a chance to win money and vehicle upgrades. You can “win” the day by getting first place in the majority of the competitions. This is not an overly difficult task to accomplish, at least not for the first several Race Days, opening the game to players of varying skill levels. To “dominate” the day, however, you’ve got to reach a certain point total, and that is accomplished by winning every or nearly every competition.
The competition lineup isn’t all that shocking, but there are some new race types, like the Grip Sector Shootout. These races are similar to the regular Grip races (ProStreet’s name for a standard, every-man-for-himself competition) plus the addition of diminishing points. Checkpoints are placed in key areas. Points continue to drop with every second – the faster you cross each checkpoint, the more points you’ll earn. But if the minimum point total is lost by the time you reach the checkpoint, no points will be rewarded.
Time Attack racing has been given a boost with the addition of real-time competition. Rather than throw you onto the track to race solo, all three competitors are now on the track with you. To keep this challenge from feeling like a standard race, each competitor starts the race at a different time. In the beginning, you’ll be a few hundred feet behind a competitor, and he’ll be a few hundred feet behind another, and so on. But as you pick up speed and unleash nitro boosts (which are recharged with two boosts at the start of each race, thankfully), you’re bound to run into your opponents.
This changes the dynamics of the game, as you don’t have to be leading the pack to score the fastest time. But if you try to get in front – or enter a car pileup – it could affect the outcome more harshly than one would expect.
One subtle but helpful new feature is the arrow guide. During any race type, the game provides an arrow guide that wraps around the path of the track. It changes color to alert the player when he or she will not be able to make a sharp turn. Similar to a traffic light, red indicates that you should start braking immediately. Yellow arrows show that you’re on the right track but still need to slow down. And green, of course, means that you should be within or below the speed required to make the turn.
You’ll need all the help you can get now that vehicle damage has become a factor. It’s an unexpected addition – Need for Speed vehicles are typically the strongest in the world. Ram your Mustang into a building and drive away no problem. Not this time. ProStreet warns you of light and heavy damage during the race, and will ask if you’d like to repair your car before each race. It even does this before re-starting a race!
The damage doesn’t go away, and if you don’t repair frequently, you might end up totaling your ride. Then the repair costs will skyrocket. There are repair cards that may be collected by winning and dominating Race Days, but their acquisition is random. And if you have to pay for the repairs in cash, you’ll wish you had fixed the vehicle much sooner.
Are there are any other unexpected features to be found in Need for Speed ProStreet? GameZone is investigating this now and will provide the final verdict in the coming weeks.