Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Electronic Arts
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"[Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed] stands as the most ambitious game in the series since the original." - Greg Kasavin, GameSpot Review
Electronic Arts' Need for Speed series is one of the most successful driving-game franchises on the PC. Since its inception on the 3DO in 1995, the series has continued to produce quality games on a number of platforms, with the PC being the flagship. However, while few people will argue against the Need for Speed games as being quality racing games, it's a generally accepted belief that none has managed to capture the essence of the original. That's because the first The Need for Speed was developed by EA Canada in conjunction with the editors of Road & Track. With the magazine's help, the designers were able to drive all the cars in the game and extrapolate actual performance data, handling characteristics, and even the distinct engine noise of each car. Because of the designers' unwavering attention to detail, The Need for Speed truly mirrored what it was like to drive such exotic sports cars as the Ferrari 512TR, the Lamborghini Diablo VT, and the Porsche 911 Carrera 2.
It's been five years, but Electronic Arts has finally released a Need for Speed game that meets the high standard of quality and commitment to realism that the original game did. Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed provides the same visceral thrill of driving an exotic sports car and yet remains accessible to gamers who don't have a great deal of racing experience. In developing Porsche Unleashed, the designers at EA Canada traveled to Porsche headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, where they were given a firsthand look at nearly the entire Porsche lineup, with some cars dating back as far as 1948. More than 80 cars, all of them Porsches, are available in this latest iteration of the Need for Speed franchise, which has two completely objective-driven modes of play.
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The influences of The Need for Speed on this game are clear and certainly welcome. Porsche Unleashed marks the return of road courses to the series, and in the spirit of its original predecessor, it lacks any outlandish cars and liberal physics. And even though it was released early on in the year, Electronic Arts continues to support it by making a number of additional cars available for download. With its wide selection of cars, intuitive design, stunning graphics, and impressive sound, Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed is easily the most ambitious game in the series.
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