|| by Fussbett 12/12/2007, 12:11pm PST
||I had high hopes for Need For Speed's 2007 edition. I have high hopes every year, wishing for a return to the Hot Pursuit glory days of over-the-top arcade racing, about which I won't shut up. I suppose I should give it up, after all there are other arcade racing fish in the sea. Why do I want the Need for Speed series to be something it is clearly no longer? Because I'm a dreamer, damn it, and I think that what we once had was special enough to save. Besides, we don't need another fucking realistic racing game, do we?
Right here is where I originally posted some images comparing the fun looking Hot Pursuit 2 (exploding barrels being dropped on you from a police chopper as you rip through shortcuts in the countryside) to the gritty concrete ProStreet (great looking concrete and road tar), and then I realized I just ripped off Jerry Whorebach's famous Project Gotham 4 post. Instead, let's take a look at the ProStreet main menu:
(click to enlarge)
Ok, each of those icons are race days. The "Battle Machine" thing on the left is your first big race day, and then above that, the skull, German eagle, inverted ankh, and radioactive symbol are all different race days you must beat in order to advance along your quest to take out Ryo, the most pro streeter of all (although in the cut scenes he actually acts very unprofessional, frankly). I'm sure you're imagining Inverted Ankh race day to be awesome. You up against the best racers in the middle east, carving a line through the course that weaves between palm trees, sand dunes and statues of Isis. Maybe some of those things are dripping blood (that's the inverted part). You sir, are what's ruining the Need For Speed series, apparently, and ProStreet is here to correct that with a bumper of realism slamming into your arcade passenger door. Now your passenger's legs are crushed, and she's likely paralyzed for life. She's your girlfriend, Franny Fun, and she'll never walk again. Oh, and you also lost your arm, but worse news is that you're not even in Def Leppard.
ProStreet uses the best racing engine I've ever seen, and the developers harnessed that engine to make boring cars slowly cruise through ugly courses. The damage modeling is incredible, the smoke effects look great, and I'll admit that the realistic physics make it all very convincing. Now take all that and drive your Honda Civic down a quarter mile of straight track in a drag race brought to life via back-to-back Flash minigames. Press a button to keep the RPMs in the green zone to burn out your tires, and then press the a different button when the race starts to shift up. In defence of the developers, drag racing sucks, so I'm hard pressed to make suggestions on improving the gameplay. Though I wouldn't be hard pressed to rip those pages right out of the design document and fire the person who suggested it, and then fire his mother from wherever she works as punishment for rearing such an offensive child.
There is one type of race in NFS:PS that almost captured the thrill of racing cars in a video game, and that's the point-to-point races that happen on a desert highway. Lots of opportunity for spectacular crashes and spectacular near-misses. More of that, please! I can't tell you how to get to that race in the spider web of menus, or even what that type of race was called, because honestly, I can't remember any of them: Grip race, sector shootout, checkpoint rally, time attack, speed runs, fast driving, racing on a track, and finally, circular laps. There's also the aforementioned drag races and a second abomination, the drift race, which is a fad I hoped we would've all left behind already. Put the drifting right into the race, don't create a whole minigame out of it where I have to impress judges for a score like so much FIGURE SKATING.
I "dominated" a couple of the race days until I saved up enough money to buy one of the cars I wanted, but discovered that even though I had more than enough money for many of the cars, almost all were still locked, so I had to pick one of the cars I didn't want. Crushed dreams: more realism for me to enjoy! Looking ahead at the 50 other race days I still had to do, each one more of the same boring bullshit, I gave up. The "Pro" in ProStreet is a 9-to-5 grind that I was happy to abandon. I'm also happy to never see that mess of menus again.
I wondered why this sudden change of tone in the franchise from arcade to simulation, illegal to legal, was needed. I thought we all enjoyed the light gameplay of older Need For Speeds and breaking the law. Imagine my shock when I found that I'm not a true fan, unlike the authors of the Need For Speed wikipedia page, for example.
The Need for Speed (1995)
The first installment of the NFS series was beyond doubt the series' only serious attempt to provide a realistic simulation of car handling and physics without arcade elements except Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed, which is the most realistic. Electronic Arts teamed up with automotive magazine Road & Track to match vehicle behaviour, including the mimicking of the sounds made by the vehicles' gear control levers. The game also contained precise vehicle data with spoken commentary, several "magazine style" images of each car interior and exterior and even short video-clips highlighting the vehicles set to music.
The Need for Speed II (1997)
Many fans of the first edition of Need for Speed were disappointed to find NFS II was arcade-like instead of preserving the realism of NFS.[verification needed] Though the gameplay was arcade-like, the levels were intricately well designed.[verification needed] In addition, track design was more open-ended; players could now "drive" off the asphalt [If you can even call that driving!!! --Fussbett], and even cut across fields to take advantage of shortcuts.
Wikipedia: Jerking off, TURBO SPEED. I think "Many of the missions were considered to be really difficult." is a great line for an encyclopedia.
Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed (2000)
...is different from the previous versions because it featured only Porsches and featured a wealth of information regarding them. The cars handled more realistically than in any other NFS game, and there is an in-depth catalogue of different Porsche parts that span throughout the years. The player had to win races in the Evolution career mode to unlock cars in chronological order from 1950 to 2000. Porsche Unleashed also featured a Factory Driver mode, where the player had to test Porsches with various stunts and move on with his career. The game is also the first in the series since the first NFS game to not feature a split screen mode. However, the game did contain a well constructed LAN multiplayer feature.
In terms of game construction, it is most often hailed as Need For Speed's best collaborated effort to bring forth one singular car brand and amplify and deepen the depth of knowledge both on history and motor functions. [Apparently that sentence is visible from space, it's so ridiciulous --Fussbett] It features historical videos and many pictures of old photos of Porsche vehicles. The Evolution concept was a hit for many people, creating many new Porsche fans due to the game's high level of academia and depth of Porsche cars. The Factory Driver was also a different kind of unlocking, except to do with performing and excelling in certain slaloms, speed races, deliveries, etc. Many of the missions were considered to be really difficult. In addition, the graphics of the game were relatively impressive for the time the game was released.
Wikipedia:Can anyone believe they made this instead of Porsche Unleashed 2: More Porsches?!
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 (2002)
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 is the debut Need for Speed title of Blackbox Software and the first Need For Speed for the "sixth-generation" of consoles. Hot Pursuit 2 draws primarily from the gameplay and style of NFS III; its emphasis was on evading the police and over-the-top tracks featuring lengthy shortcuts. Although the game allowed players to play as the police, the pursuit mode was drastically less realistic than preceding versions of NFS; players merely needed to "tap" a speeder a certain number of times to arrest them, as opposed to using actual police tactics such as the PIT maneuver to immobilize a speeding vehicle. [You don't even need to fill out any police paperwork. --Fussbett]
While well-received by the press, it lacked the realism and sheer depth of Porsche Unleashed.
Need for Speed: ProStreet (2007)
Key features of the game include very advanced graphics, realistic damage, realistic racing (instead of the arcade-like racing of previous titles), modelling, burnouts and more.
So there it is, the universe has once again been corrected. Put down your Gran Turismos, your Forzas, your Project Gothams. Your pleas for a realistic racing game have finally been answered.
Epilogue complaint: Clutch's "Power Player" is on the soundtrack, but has been censored. Guess the offensive word: "I don't care about the altitude, I just want another drink." That word is not welcome at our fine country club.
Need For Speed: ProStreet by 12/12/2007, 12:11pm PST
Flatout UC NT by 12/12/2007, 1:04pm PST
So that game is not all about ejecting the driver through goal posts? NT by 12/12/2007, 2:04pm PST
Yeah, that one came off as *carrot top novelty sunglasses* W-W-W-WACKY! NT by 12/12/2007, 3:14pm PST
It has some stupid minigames entirely seperate from the main game. by 12/12/2007, 7:22pm PST
They're not mom-cars at all!!! NT by 12/12/2007, 7:23pm PST
I hope Eyo makes up his mind about those mom-cars. NT by 12/13/2007, 9:45am PST
I'll be picking up the new Sega Rally once it hits the bargain bins... by 12/12/2007, 5:45pm PST
Excellent post. Would read again. Five stars. NT by 12/13/2007, 10:21am PST
I missed the best one. by 12/17/2007, 11:53pm PST
I just picked this up in a Blockbuster used bargain bin. I hold you accountable NT by 04/24/2008, 2:45pm PDT
If you buy racing games at all you deserve it. NT by 04/24/2008, 5:38pm PDT
No racing games, no fighting games. FPS 24/7!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NT by 04/24/2008, 5:40pm PDT
No sports games either. NT by 04/24/2008, 6:16pm PDT
I forgot to mention that Mass Effect was fucking terrible, incidentally. NT by 04/25/2008, 12:37am PDT
How many minutes did you play before giving up? 8( NT by 04/25/2008, 2:29pm PDT
I learned about the taxation of the trade routes in the grand senate space stati by 04/25/2008, 2:32pm PDT
That doesn't happen in Mass Effect so I don't know what you are talking about hm NT by 04/25/2008, 2:43pm PDT
Here's what DOES happen in Mass Effect. by 04/25/2008, 3:35pm PDT
Re: Here's what DOES happen in Mass Effect. by 04/25/2008, 4:19pm PDT
Don't forget, final fantasy is awesome again! NT by 04/24/2008, 8:53pm PDT
How is GTA4? NT by 04/24/2008, 11:05pm PDT
It is impossible to know, it's not out yet. NT by 04/24/2008, 11:12pm PDT
Wrong, I always judge games before they come out. 8( NT by 04/24/2008, 11:12pm PDT
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA *bowm* NT by 04/24/2008, 11:13pm PDT
Well looks like I won again, BUT AT WHAT COST? NT by 04/24/2008, 11:13pm PDT
So far Sega Rally Revo is pretty good, but the physics are too slidey. 75%. NT by 04/25/2008, 8:36pm PDT
I can't tell if this is a good review or not. Right now I'm leaning toward "not" by 05/24/2008, 8:15pm PDT
I want a new Carmageddon NT by 12/12/2007, 5:54pm PST
I want a new Twisted Metal. NT by 12/12/2007, 8:24pm PST
Q1 2008 NT by 12/12/2007, 9:13pm PST
$19.99 by 01/16/2008, 3:17pm PST
I want a new Death Rally. NT by 12/13/2007, 9:22am PST
I want a new Interstate '82. NT by 12/13/2007, 9:25am PST
Sprint and/or Micromachines NT by 12/13/2007, 9:46am PST
Where is my fawkin Car Wars vidya game? NT by 12/13/2007, 11:43am PST
I'm telling you, a Rockstar Autoduel remake would be the awesomest thing. NT by 12/13/2007, 6:13pm PST
They have to keep it in Central / Western New York, though by 12/18/2007, 12:45am PST
I want a new Twisted Metal 2 NT by 12/13/2007, 11:07am PST
EA CEO admits ProStreet wasn't good, offers everyone their money back. by 06/18/2008, 6:10pm PDT
Whoa, he offered me a Schlitz! This is a real no-nonsense blue collar CEO! NT by 06/18/2008, 6:59pm PDT
When I was poorer and my guts were tougher by 06/19/2008, 12:12am PDT
Whoever bought it deserves to be ripped off. NT by 06/18/2008, 11:12pm PDT
I don't play racing games. What's Pro Street again? by 06/19/2008, 10:16am PDT
Re: EA CEO admits ProStreet wasn't good, offers everyone their money back. by 04/27/2009, 11:07pm PDT
EA finally delivers on the promise of more story in the Need for Speed franchise by 06/06/2011, 7:52pm PDT
Need For Speed: SHIFT details coming to light... by 04/27/2009, 9:00pm PDT
Re: Need For Speed: SHIFT details coming to light... by 04/27/2009, 10:45pm PDT
Criterion given the NFS franchise, told to make Hot Pursuit. by 06/14/2010, 3:02pm PDT