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Need for Speed Pro Street First Look
First look exclusive to NFS fansites of the next sequel of the series: NFS Pro Street

Another game in the series was announced today, the Need for Speed Pro Street, and the NFS fansite owners were one of the first outside of EA to actually play it at EA Blackbox in Vancouver, Canada. So what does the 19 months in development game look and play like? Well, I can assure you that it is completely different than any Need for Speed up to date.

The main advertised features of Pro Street are DAMAGE, PHYSICS and SMOKE. And I think it's justified to say that these features are superbly done. Damage consists of extra parts denting, bending and falling off. But it's not just limited to bumpers, doors and hoods, but also the car chassis. All in all it looks pretty life like and it will surely have a large impact on gameplay as if you run your car into the wall at 200 km/h, all you can do is end the race. Yes, this means that there is no race restart – if you damage your car in a race, you'll miss that race completely. There's also lower levels of damage, that will still allow you to finish the race but it will make it more of a challenge as damage will have a slight effect on the performance of the car. Don't worry about the cost of repairs – they designed the damage so it's there, but it will not drain you of your hardly earned cash. There are cheap ways of repairing your car by actually duct taping your bumpers back to the car. And what's better than to show your battered car to let the other racers know that you're a race track veteran!

One thing that was made completely from scratch is the game physics. The way the Need for Speed games drove from Underground to Carbon was pretty much the same – pedal to the metal with braking an unknown concept. That tactic will get you to the first turn in Pro Street. Then you'll cry over the wreckage of your car. Yes, the car handling is now much more realistic and with all the assist off, you'll find it quite challenging to drive. There's a big difference between turning the assists off or on – no assist basically means no abs and no traction control and as a consequence faster laps. If you don't end up in a cloud of smoke after a spin off of course. Smoke in Pro Street definitely looks the best in any game to date. When doing a burnout, you'll actually notice smoke coming radially out of the tyres and it will stay in the air for quite some time. Race starts should look very good, especially if you start last as you'll have a hard time seeing where to go!

You already know that there's no free roam this time. The reason lies in the game being a legal street racer – which means weekend events on either closed roads or actual race tracks which are all based on real locations throughout the world (Japan, North America, Europe). All the racing will be done in clear sunny skies – no night racing and no weather changes. Also closed tracks mean no traffic and no cops. Yes, cops are not returning this year, but with this game's physics and setting, including cops would be a bad idea in my opinion. Noticed the no traffic feature? Yes, that means that we'll be getting proper DRAG racing! Underground styled drag racing where it's you versus your car to get the best possible time and to achieve that you won't just need perfect shifting, you'll have to tune your car to have the least drag, the highest power and the best acceleration. Which is a very important part of the game – for the 4 game modes available in game you'll have to have at least 4 cars, one car tuned for one race type.

The story itself has been done completely different this year – no animated sequences, high profile actors, cheesy storyline. The goal of the game is to become the Street King – the guy who owns all four race modes. You'll be able to do that by competing in so called race weekends, special events held at different locations. You'll be able to take a max of 4 cars to these events which simply means that if you total your drag car, you'll have to drag with a car tuned for circuit racing. There are two more race types beside drag and grip (fancy name for circuit) – speed challenge, which are up to 20km long staged races where you have to achieve the highest possible to speed and drift which like drag, has been completely redone. The physics engine has been done so well that car handling in drift isn't as different as in previous NFS games. It will be easy do do drifts, even connect one or two turns, but to master it will take quite a lot of skill and of course like with other modes, a properly tuned car.

And speaking of cars, you'll see the biggest car list in any NFS game up to date – more than in Carbon, totaling at about 50-60 cars with a age span of 40+ years, from 26 manufacturers, 8 supercars, tuners, muscles. Once again in car view is not present, but to make up for that, they returned autosculpt which is now available on all parts. But not just that, visual tuning now actually makes a difference, which you'll notice the most when you take your car into a wind tunnel where you'll be able to get the best possible drag/downforce ratio by adjusting spoilers, changing air intakes… Visual tuning is back, but is somehow limited compared to Underground 2. No separate bumpers, just body kits. No aftermarket parts, but they promised that the kits this year look real life like, not like the whale like stuff present in previous games. A really deep feature is performance tuning. Dyno has returned, there are 250 aftermarket companies, thousands of parts and like most of the game is designed, you can simply slap on a performance upgrade for a large amount of money, which will upgrade your car automatically, or you can do the cheaper way of installing every part by yourself. Remember how you need to have different cars for different race modes? To help you make performance setups, the so called blueprints were introduced. A blueprint is basically the selection of parts and how they are tuned. Once you create a blueprint, you can put it on any car or share it with your friends over the internet.

The appearance of the game has improved as well. Cars look much more real than in Carbon, almost photo real. EA Trax is returning with licensed songs and composed songs varying from electro and dance to punk and rock made by famous DJ Junkie XL. There will be up to 8 racers in one race with no catch up and real life like AI that occasionally makes mistakes. Locations should be varied, but unfortunately no exotic beaches or alpine roads, which is actually quite a shame as with this physics model, doing an alpine pass race would be a great experience. One thing the game is currently lacking is a good sense of speed, but I'm sure they will improve that by adding some motion blur and a few other tricks.

Pro Street definitely isn't like any other Need for Speed game! This time it seems EA actually listened to the fans and they included and repaired most of the features requested. The circuit race mode looks pretty much like other race games, but drift and the yet to be seen drag and speed challenge should make the game something else. November is still pretty far away and a lot of time will be spent polishing the game to make it look and play like a real Need for Speed.

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by SKYLINEHUNTER55 on 16. August 2007 00:32
Does your ride go on fire it would be better of with: HYDRAULICS
jdemongx`s avatar

Comments posted: 4
Date joined: November 2005
Last active: 4945 days ago
by jdemongx on 19. August 2007 23:00
i'm worried, im not to good at racing games but i love cars

i dont think id be any good with damage

oh i've always wondered what the heck is catch up
peterfaj United States
Comments posted: 47
Date joined: October 2006
Last active: 2674 days ago
by peterfaj on 15. April 2008 16:16
catch up makes bad AI (computer) drivers be faster and catch up to you. And I think that if you're losing, then AI drivers get worse.
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