If you’ve been in the gaming circuit long enough, chances are there’s at least one iteration of the Need for Speed franchise that hit the sweet spot for you. For me it was NFS 2 and Most Wanted that worked the magic. I loved the fact that they were built on simple but fundamentally strong mechanics – for instance, NFS 2 had its scenic street racing and strong racing dynamics (at least for its time) while Most Wanted used the Black list and those awesome cop chases as a pivot.
The bad news for me is that they took out all those elements from the equation this time; all that’s left in Need for Speed: ProStreet is a somewhat sturdy, but bland racing experience.
The way I see it, the game’s designers took a simple and superficial concept – car damage – and based all the important elements of the game around it. Since they decided that a car’s damage would affect its performance, they couldn’t possibly accommodate such a device in the semi-arcade racer realm the series resides in, right? So they went ahead and pushed the realism level up a few notches, throwing the game midway between a simulation and an arcade racer. This in turns bought about many changes in the franchise – some of which are good, and the rest crap.
The change I hate the most is with the way the cars control. I don’t remember any of the NFS games requiring me to brake this much! The cars feel extremely sluggish where speed and handling are concerned. I’m sure the cars featured in the game aren’t this bad in real life; it almost feels like the cars are possessed by something that tries really hard to go against your will as your turn. It seems as if they’ve tried to make the game somewhat like Forza Motorsport 2, but not quite achieved that – and in the bargain they’ve killed everything in the series that made me tick.
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