Editorial: EA, We Have a Need for Speedy Chases

Throughout its time, the Need for Speed series has grown to become one of the more renown racing games in the market. However, Electronic Arts’ last release, Need for Speed: Pro Street, has been getting disappointing reviews from fans of the series. In fact, many fans of the Need for Speed series admit that the past few games have been taking the game down the wrong path.

A common and popular theme and game mechanic that the NFS series capitalized on was car chases – specifically police chases. From this idea, the Hot Pursuit editions evolved, and the games, which included police chases, have been among the most popular NFS games. Is that what Need for Speed: Pro Street lacks?

Need for Speed: Pro Street has no police chases, no free-roaming city, no sappy, Fast and the Furious-like storyline. The story, from what I can grasp, of NFS: Pro Street is that you are Ryan Cooper, a former street racer who wants to go pro and race on legit circuits. That’s it. Oh, and you want to beat the guy ranked number one. There’s no substance to it. At least in Most Wanted, you had a vindictive jerk out to get you, a girl helping you out, cops to outrun, and your pimp BMW to win back. In NFS: Porsche Unleashed, you could take on the role of a Porsche test driver and complete assignments in that manner. Pro Street’s story is just really vague and generic.

The game play feels almost identical to that of Forza Motorsport 2 in the sense that the game gives you racing lines to follow that let you know when to brake and accelerate through turns. The setup is also similar: you pick your car, you pick your “race day” or tournament/challenge and you hit up each track. If you are a fan of racing games, you would be more satisfied with the experience Forza Motorsport 2 gives you. Even hardcore Need for Speed fans may be tempted to let this one go and just play Forza. Why? ProStreet tries to give you a game that Forza has nearly perfected. The only difference is that ProStreet tries to do it with less finesse and a lot more “street” scene attitude, but the lack of there actually being streets, traffic, cops, and brash challengers makes that hard to pull off, and Electronic Arts have disappointed Need for Speed fans in this title.

The Need for Speed name carries more expectations than just another racing simulator, but Pro Street delivers just that. When I first started playing Pro Street, my first reaction was that I felt like I was playing Gran Turismo. They emphasize correct driving lines, braking and accelerating correctly through turns, tuning your car specifically for certain events, etc. adding to the realism of the game.