Need for Speed: ProStreet Hands-On: Online Racing Spotlight

We check out the online options in EA's upcoming street racing game.

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In some ways, Need For Speed: ProStreet is an entirely new take on the long-standing NFS series. Cops and car chases are gone only to be replaced with closed circuit race events that will have you duking it out on four wheels against drivers along a number of driving disciplines--from drifting to drag racing. While we wrote about ProStreet's single-player path in an earlier preview, we recently had a chance to take a more in-depth look at the game's online features, which look to keep players busy long after they've wrapped up their single-player careers.

Competing in online events in ProStreet comes in two basic flavors--racing with friends (or strangers) on the same track at the same time or competing against one another separately in individually created race day events. As you'll see, both have their advantages and disadvantages. For the first part of our time with ProStreet online, we competed in races against EA producers along a number of different online events, including sector shootout, drift, quarter-mile drag, and speed challenge.

Online racing in ProStreet will let you compete head-to-head against friends or on your own time with multiplayer race days.
Before the race events began, we had to choose a car from the available list for each event on the docket. Though our online car list was intentionally edited to keep everyone on the same playing field, in the final game, you'll be able to choose from preset cars, as well as cars in your garage for any event on the schedule. As a result, you'll want to make sure you tailor your cars to different specialties. For example, one car might be suited for drift events, while another will be ideal for your drag races. You can even bring a backup car into events, in case one of your primary rides gets damaged along the way.

The different race events we played all challenge your race skills in different ways. The sector shootout plays a lot like your standard grip race: You go up against all the other cars on the track at the same time. However, instead of racing to cross the finish line first, you're racing to set the hottest sector time. If you break the sector record, you "own" that section of track, either until the end of the race or a competitor breaks your time. You collect points for setting new sector records and the more you beat a previous sector record by, the more points you'll earn. The driver with the most points at the end is declared the winner.

Drift events challenge you to create the longest skids possible on relatively short sections of track. Here, the cars are set to drift more or less automatically, so you won't need to be some sort of D1 fanatic to get your car into the right position. Even with the forgiving controls, maintaining a solid, uninterrupted drift can be a challenge, although the big points rewards at the end are worth the trouble. Drag racing events challenge your reflexes more than any other event in ProStreet. Before the drag event begins, you'll want to smoke your tires to build up traction by keeping your revs in a "green" zone because you'll earn bonuses for building up heat past certain levels. After that, a flag girl will drop her hands, and it's time to zoom down the straight, shifting through the gears with the right analog stick. A green zone near the top of your rev counter will indicate where the ideal "shifting zone" is; if you nail it through all the gears, your ride will speed through the straight that much quicker. You can race drag events in both the quarter- and half-mile variations.

The final event we tried against other online competitors was the speed challenge, a mode that--at least in terms of pure speed--felt much like the tollbooth challenges from NFS Most Wanted. Ostensibly just a high-powered grip race, speed challenges take the top speed to the next level because you'll be racing along longer, leaner tracks with zero room for error. The course we raced on was based on the German Autobahn and had steep banked turns at either end. The sense of speed in this race was quite a bit more dramatic than in the other races. At top speeds, the car was very twitchy from a control standpoint; if you turned too much into one of the curves, you'd experience firsthand the dramatic new damage modeling in ProStreet.

Drift, drag, and grip your way to victory; ProStreet will challenge all your driving skills.

While racing head-to-head with other drivers is the ideal way to experience ProStreet's fun, the game will also let you race in pseudo-online events known as shared race days, that you can compete in whenever you want. To do so, you simply create your own custom race day, fill it up with the different kinds of events you want, and then you can invite friends to participate at their leisure. If you're competing in a shared race day, you can enter any of the events at any time and post new scores as you go. You can restart an event at any point; however, any damage that you've incurred during the race will carry over during the restart (though you can use a repair marker to patch up the damage before restarting). In addition to sharing online race day events, you can share car-setup blueprints with your friends online and then challenge them to set new records with your blueprint. If you like, you can race your friends' shadow cars, essentially recordings of their lap on a particular event, or upload your own shadow car after you've completed a race.

Once you're done competing, you can check your progress against your friends by referring to the leaderboard for that event. Oddly enough, it doesn't seem to be possible to check those leaderboards from the race event hub. Instead, you have to back out to the main menu, which is a bit unwieldy. Still, these pseudo-online events are a great way to compete against friends in the different ProStreet events without having to coordinate schedules so you can all be online at the same time. While it's no substitute for tearing it up head-to-head with real drivers online, it's nice to see that ProStreet will be giving players options when it comes to hooking up with friends. We'll have more on the game in the future, so stay tuned.

Discussion

33 comments
Micdude47
Micdude47

OMG i cant belive this doesnt have cop chases THATS SO GAY thats the reason i brough NFS most wanted and Carbon

Hazy_Shade
Hazy_Shade

Looks and sounds good, can't wait.

Rizhall456
Rizhall456

is that a Chao in the sky in that screenshot??

denaz
denaz

Aw no cops!! That sucks, i used to love that part of the game! But still shaping up to be a awesome game... guess this is ANOTHER game i have to preorder:P

sephiroth_4
sephiroth_4

Too many friggin games! They all shouldn't be $60!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Agermemnon
Agermemnon

Shaping up well and the track racing NFS style could be a welcome break from the street stuff ?

q64silver
q64silver

Most Wanted 2 should be the next one in the NFS series after ProStreet ;)

NFS102
NFS102

November 13, best game eva is coming out.

Skylinefreak27
Skylinefreak27

I can't wait to get this game. I think its going to be as good as underground 2. I'm glad the Need For Speed series went to these "tuner" type game because i hated hot pursuit and all the earlier need for speed series games.

Nitro720
Nitro720

I 'm seriously getting this game!!!!!!

sherif2004
sherif2004

you cant say it is too great because all new next genration games look the same

km1498
km1498

I was hyped up for this game(when I first trailers I was really excited) but now...I don't know, I think I'll wait for a full review. With that said I do hope it turns out good as I've been a fan of the series for ever.

dirty55409
dirty55409

Anyone remember Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2? Those were the good old days... I loved that game on the PS2! Ever since the Fast and Furious oriented games have come out I've been completely turned off by the series. They should return to the good old fashion helicopters, police flat out speed! no more Nitro for your dodge neon :( lol

Ba0ng89
Ba0ng89

i think you could otherwise its not gonna be realistic anymore rite?

knight0029
knight0029

I look forward to this game... Hopefully I can turn the corner and smoke the other guys vision (If I am in front)

Ba0ng89
Ba0ng89

Dude if the game doesnt come out yet then please dont say anything because you never know and thats all im gonna say. On Topic : the graphic looks pretty good and the NFS series have been always great so i dont think this one would be an exception. :}

ryo_strife24
ryo_strife24

Once again this looks to be another EA rental for this gamer. They are out of their league to compete with PGR. That's why they need to stick with the Underground & Most Wanted formula, once again EA has shown that it can turn gold into crap. Seriously the only EA game I *might* pick up is Army of Two but even that is a long shot. With Assassin's Creed, Kane & Lynch and the future GOTY Mass Effect coming out that month, Army of Two is looking like a rental.

hendrikinator
hendrikinator

If I want a closed circuit game, I'll buy PGR4 or Gran Turismo, this title is not keeping consistant with the previous titles. I've played every single NFS game since number one, I liked Carbon and Most Wanted a lot, I don't think I'll even rent this game... For shame EA... for shame...

LiLLaRkIn
LiLLaRkIn

i think this will crush pgr4 and any other racing rame in the future.....

fastrome
fastrome

thea's game is so good one

RKSK
RKSK

I think this game will turn out better than the previous games. If u want to get cop chases, buy Carbon or Most Wanted, This is the updated version of Hot Pursuit 2

KingKoop
KingKoop

I cant believe they've disposed of the fuzz, that was often the best part about NFS games being chased down the highway at ridiculous speeds in your pimped out Vauxhall Corsa :lol: I hope EA know what they're doing but that aside NFS: PS does look quite sweet.

xboxFan101
xboxFan101

NFS is not known for closed circuit i don't like this game what they need to do is bring back the best one they made to date NFS most wanted was the illest of all NFS with the black list and all . carbon was weak it just had sick costumization . now juiced is the only underground game n that game is weak we need cop chases man .............or u no what mayb they put the cop chases in burnout now wouldn't that be something or what

wellbigd
wellbigd

I also hated the police chase and that fake excuss for drifting in carbon this game looks good

imafreshman
imafreshman

The police chases pissed me off I would get up to 500,000 then get pulled over.

BraindeadRacr
BraindeadRacr

I still miss the police chases... But it'll turn out well.

asmodeus_z
asmodeus_z

Looks good - hope the gameplay is better, if not as good.

bigred92
bigred92

looks like a pretty great game

ayoksh
ayoksh

This game looks good but is it going to be better than the other need for speeds

thesimpsonsno1
thesimpsonsno1

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! first comment and a brilliant game