E3 2007: Need for Speed: ProStreet Impressions
If anyone knows Arnold The Gamer well, then they also know that I'm a huge fan of racing games - in particular Gran Turismo and Need for Speed. To me, Gran Turismo captures the intricacies of driving with good physics, while Need for Speed captures the spirit of reckless racing. When I found out that Need for Speed ProStreet was only shown at EA's private venue in the Le Merigot hotel, I left the pale and dry hangar and stormed over to the hotel. Even though I had to have an appointment to get in (I didn't) I wasn't turned away and one of EA's public relations managers, Dave Tinson, showed me around.
I walked over to ProStreet immediately, it was, after all, the reason I showed up to the hotel venue in the first place. ProStreet was perhaps one of the best revelations to me this E3. I knew EA was aiming for a slightly more realistic approach with ProStreet, but what I saw truly impressed me more than I thought it would. First, I was shown the all new smoke effect that the game now renders when you're burning out. I'm not the least bit exaggerating when I say this: but ProStreet has downright the best looking smoke in any game, by far. The longer I burned out, the thicker the cloud of smoke from my burned rubber became. And don't think that as soon as I stopped burning that the smoke dispersed...oh no, the cloud took quite a while to settle so I could see my car, and even longer to completely disappear. Beautiful.
I took a test drive of the game and instantly noticed how gorgeous and polished the visuals were. The car reflected the light accordingly, as well as properly mirrored the environment around them on their paint jobs. More over, car detail as a whole was fantastic, as even the undercarriages of the car were modeled. And best of all, the framerate was rock solid at a buttery 30 frames per second, without a hitch the entire time I was racing. Sense of speed still remains extremely well done, and on top of that, the game now features real-time damage rendering. A weak bump will lead to scratches and a dent, meanwhile a crash at 60 will lead to a destroyed hood, bumper, headlights and such. Crash at over 100, and you can expect to total your car and lose the race.
The game has been in development for over two years, pre-dating even the development of Carbon. And you can tell that all of that development time has paid off, as the cars feel rock solid. Handling doesn't feel floaty, as ProStreet doesn't share the same game engine as Carbon - thus utilizing different physics calculations. On top of that, the game is no longer open-world, returning the franchise to its classic roots. In total, you can expect 60 cars which will include the all new BMW M3, Mazda RX7, Nissan 350Z, Porsche 911, and the status quo higher-end exotics (I was hinted that a BMW M6 would be one of them). NFS: ProStreet is genuinely the first true next-generation Need for Speed game, and I urge every fan of the genre and series to jump on this when it launches in the Fall.
Related Game(s): Need for Speed: ProStreet
7/13/2007 Arnold Katayev