Why NFS: Pro Street is a Bizarre (but not bad) Game
EA's attempt at a more simulator-like NFS Game
This was EA's attempt to draw gamers away from the now rising street racing scene on the world, mixing some elements from previous games with real life tracks and a more simulator-like handling system, leading to mixing and underwhelming results.
Let's start with the Car list, so far in the series, this game had the most variety when it came to cars, from classic muscle cars, hot hatches, euro saloons, supercars and the brand new Nissan GT-R R35, the selection wasn't half bad taking into account the lackluster absence of Nissan on Most Wanted 2 years prior.
The gameplay which focused on legal races on real life tracks, was split onto 4 types of races: Grip which was classic Circuit racing with 3 gimmicks Time Attack, Sector Shootout and Grip Class, which are all basically minor changes to the formula to focus your attention on either making quicker times between laps and checkpoints.
Next we have Speed Events, which are sprints or circuits in highways all with the purpose of achieving and maintaining the top speed of the car without losing control, this is definitely the most challenging racing mode due to the weird handling mechanics, which makes steering at over 200mph pretty much a gamble of whether you're slightly turning or just gonna steer directly onto a pole and total your car.
Drift mode is based on scoring points depending on speed, drift angle and racing line taken, no new features were implemented, handling makes it a bit unpredictable but overall is more enjoyable than the previous modes,
Finally Drag Races make a return after their absence on the previous game Carbon, this time due to the Pro setting, expands to 1/4 mile and 1/2 mile races including a Wheelie competition, by far this is the highlight of the game, quick races focused on how well you can launch off the start line and shift gears precisely on a matter of seconds, without worrying about crashing on oncoming traffic.
The campaign is your average NFS plot, new racer in town encounters top racer, in this case called the Showdown King, and make your way to beat him, the difference is though there are other 4 main bosses to defeat on each Race type to truly become the "Street King", this makes the campaign to shift between championships or race days focused on just one race type to multiple depending on the path you're taking.
Car customization is almost as unlimited as on Carbon, with both Autosculpt and a wide array of parts returning, with an overhaul on the Paint and Vinyls area, with a setup that finally lets you create unique designs, instead of the preset templates used on previous games like Underground.
The Main bosses of the campaign, from left to right (Drift, Grip, Showdown)
Overall, the game doesn't feel like a Need for Speed game, its lackluster on the fun part and feels off compared to the other games of the franchise, this might be because it was rushed and the team developing it was split between this and Undercover, which became the franchise's lowpoint.
Is it a good game? Short Answer is yes but barely, not great, not spectacular by any means, but a nice little experiment that shows EA's interest on expanding the franchise, but ultimately failed to took off on this game, but eventually would on the "Shift" spin-offs. As a buggy, and weird game it definitely has its perks and quirks, making it more enjoyable than expected.
This game always will be a mark on the Racing games of the Mid 2000's as something that didn't live up to the expectations, but it shouldn't be forgotten or completely disregarded as one of the worst, simply because it's not just overall mediocre like Undercover. Pro Street simply is an example of a different idea executed poorly, and therefore, as an obscure Need For Speed Game, it's an interesting experience, not for everybody of course.