So, I’ve previously reviewed Need For Speed Carbon. In the course of that review, I explained that I liked the game, and enjoyed playing the game, but had some major problems with the pursuit system of the game, and how sparingly the game gave out get out of jail free cars, and other items to take tick marks off your cars wanted level and impound meter, making it more likely that you, as a player, would encounter a situation where you’d be unable to continue, but wouldn’t have a game over.
Thus I traded that game in and moved on to the next game in the series – ProStreet. ProStreet was practically infamous for the negative review scores it got, from losing the illegal street race edge and making the races legitimate, to the increased realism. However, after having my aforementioned bad experiences with Carbon, this sounded like just what the doctor ordered.
As the saying goes though, the more things change, the more things stay the same.
In not only the previous Need For Speed Games, but in Midnight Club, Project Gotham Racing and Forza as well (I mention both of those as ProStreet tries to be more simulationist like Forza, and the prior incarnations were more arcadey like Midnight Club, and to a lesser extent, PGR), your car could take damage. The damage would effect your car’s performance, but it would always be repaired at nearly no cost to you at the end of the race. As smashed up as your favorite car would be, you’d know that you’d have it available in the next race undamaged and ready to run. Unrealistic? Yes. Lowering the risk of the races? Yes. Did it also prevent you from being denied your best car, leaving you to have to grind through lower-level races again with a lesser car to upgrade it or buy a new car? Yes!
Now, ProStreet, having lost the storyline justification of having your cars impounded to take your best cars away, instead requires you to pay money to repair the damage to your car, or use repair slips to cover repairing the damage. If your car is totaled, you can’t race with it anymore. Is this starting to sound familiar? Yes, it is!
Look, EA. The point of racing games is to drive expensive cars you’d probably never afford to own really fast along courses you’ll probably never be able to get to (or don’t exist), using more skill than you’d actually have. Damage to your car or having your car totaled is meant to be a temporary setback, not a major one. If you total your car, you simply have to start the race over, instead of having to start the game over from the beginning. Frankly, in a racing game, considering how long career modes in these game tend to be, you should never, ever, ever find yourself in a situation that you have to start Career Mode over, either because the game requires you to, or because your best car is out of commission and thus you cannot progress without spending weeks, if not months, of real world time grinding tracks in the game to get the money to soup up you second or third best car (particularly if in the course of that grinding your second of third best car could also be taken out of commission).
I urge you, in the course of your next few games in the series, that you take this to heart, and put out racing games that have a fun, enjoyable racing experience, one where I race again on tracks or re-do races not because I messed up, but because I enjoyed the track. Thank you very much.
In the mean time, I’m trading in ProStreet and will probably pick up Grid, give that a try.