Iím reviewing Need for Speed Pro Street, so letís get the positive things said and out of the way first. It looks nice, graphically itís got the bells and whistles that you might expect from an Xbox360 game and a redefined, refined, revamped damage system that models car damage and can lead to some pretty destructive moments that totally trash your vehicle and leave you with a smoking wreck on the highway.
You can go online and race against some really mature players on Xbox Live to listen to their hoots and hollers, experience the true nature of street racing against some pre-pubescent moron who thinks that when they lose against your finely tuned Drag Racing machine they have the right to scream: You suck, so does your mom, at the top of their voice before they quit and rate you down for some imagined slight against their yet to be developed manhood.
Of course none of that is EAís fault; itís the nature of online games. Still, you can have some fun with this game offline however and this is the big however, itís not as much fun as it could have been. Itís time that EA packed in the tuner scene, packed in the bloody street racing scene and went back to the way that Need for Speed used to be in the days of the 3DO and early games, you know, the fun ones like Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 1 and 2.
Iím getting sick of custom tuner parts, wheels from some obscurely named company that I havenít got a clue what the hell they do. I just want wheels that work, thanks. Ok, Iím not really sick of the custom tuning stuff, just the whole boy racer, street racer scene thatís being pushed as some bastard love child of the Fast and the Furious where theyíve replaced Vin Diesel with a generic faceless entity that has as much personality as a balloon thatís been drawn on by a twelve year old with coloured marker pens.
Some people might argue of course that Vin shares the shame attributes as the balloon, but I digress.
The game presents you as said faceless youth, who I shall name: Gen Eric for now. Mr. Eric is some whee-whiz bang Pro Street racing up and coming stylish guy that has a name given to him by the designers however I think itís better if I call him by his true personality, since you donít actually feel any relationship to this disembodied car jockey other than his nickname as the Comeback Kid.
Heís beloved by all the announcers, not everyone loves our hero of course, thereís the evil nemesis as in all of the NFS story based games, someone with more of a chip on his shoulder than the Grandfather of the Playstation and again with as much personality as Liv Tyler in Lord of the Rings. So the stage is set for the game where EA threw aside the idea of open world street racing and placed you back in the good old days of level after level.
You compete in challenge after challenge, all for the honour of getting your mitts on another piece of car, another car or some phat wad of cash. Weíve seen it all before and itís starting to get a little old, but wait, thereís more. You can actually buy car parts with Microsoft points too Ė yay Ė something else I donít want to spend money on since I can unlock them in game.