Publisher: EA Games
Developer: EA Black Box
N Amer - 10/30/2007
E3 2007 Preview
It’s all about bringing the experience home, making it more true to life, and immersing players in the speed and repercussions of too much speed.
Need for Speed Pro Street, an EA release on the 360, was on display at Le Merigot, as part of EA’s presence at the Electronic Entertainment Expo’s Media Summit. While available on other platforms, the version shown was on the 360 and took full advantage of the platform’s graphic capabilities.
“We’re taking street racing to the next level,” stated EA’s Mike Mann, who was demoing the title.
While the environments are fully three dimensional, and great care has been taken as far as the texturing is concerned, the real stars here are the cars. The car is critical to success in this world. The game is “running on a true physics system that pushes the rawness and power” of the vehicles, Mann said. But there are other elements that also bring this home. Tires can smoke and the smoke reacts in true-to-life fashion, rolling around the wheels when the car is stationary. Damage is a based on the car’s geometry, as well as collision point of impact and speed. Damage will compound, so while you may scrape the paint the first time rubbing a wall, you may strip molding or start to lose parts of the car as you continue. Not only will damage impact the car’s performance, but it will also cost you financially.
The game will allow players to tweak their machines, to achieve the finest handling machine for each track, almost in the mold of the old EA title, Motor City Online, but taking it further. In fact, that could be the mantra for this title. As Mann stated, “we are really pushing next-gen technology.”
The sound was negligible during the demo, blurred into the pulse of other EA titles situated in the room at the hotel. But graphically, this game is a treat. And the controls are easy; to learn. Right trigger is gas, left is brake, and the B button is nitro. You can build a car for drifting, but the track provided was simply for speed. There were checkpoints that measure speed, and the goal of the demo track was not to outdrive the other cars as much as it was to record the highest average speed through six checkpoints.
At higher speeds, the car stability came into question, especially when trying to navigate corners. A little damage affected the steering mechanics and, in this case, let to a bigger crash in which the car was totaled. It was spectacular, fun, but costly.
This is a sweet-looking title that will carry the NFS franchise forward well.
The title will be available on the PS3, PC, Wii and PS2 (in addition to the 360) and is slated for a November 2007 release.