Need For Speed ProStreet Wii
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
I was quite looking forward to playing the Wii version of NFS ProStreet. Last year's NFS Carbon had a control scheme that showed promise and I was hoping that a whole year later the control scheme would have been refined to a point where it was very enjoyable. I don't know what happened but the controls in NFS ProStreet are a complete mess and if at all possible, you would be much better off buying this year's game on another platform to save yourself the frustration of having to deal with a control scheme that just doesn't cut it.
There's not much of a storyline in ProStreet's Career mode. You'll play as a young driver by the name of Ryan Cooper. The game begins with you winning a race and the race event's announcer singing your praises. A well known racing hero, Ryo Watanabe turns up at the event and comments at how poor the stand of driving is at the event. He especially takes a dislike of Cooper commenting that he may have won the race but that he's not that good behind the wheel. The goal of the game then is to work your way to the top by competing in race days and race events. The basic idea is to dominate each race day that you compete in by winning most of the events on that day. Eventually you'll get the chance to put the disrespecting Ryo Watanabe in his rightful place.
There are several different race types in ProStreet. Grip races are essentially standard races with the first to pass the finishing line being the winner. Drift races are where you have to earn drift points by power-drifting around the bends. Drag races test your ability to heat your car's tyres (via a mini-game before the start of the event) and shift gears efficiently as you aim to cover a set distance in the shortest possible time. There are other events and even variations here with most of them having featured in previous titles. Some things have been done differently however. Certain race days require every competitor to use the same car model. When you're driving a car that has been provided for you, you won't have to pay for any damage to the car. This is actually quite good because the cars actually damage quite significantly and when you're using your own car you can end up losing all of your progress in a race day if your car should be completely wrecked in one of the events.
There are some quite significant disappointments with the Wii version of ProStreet. For starters, the game doesn't offer any form of online racing. This is not only disappointing but also puzzling as there have been quite a few Wii titles of late that have offered online play and ProStreet would certainly have benefitted from it. You do get support for offline multiplayer races and race days for two players, however. By far the biggest disappointment is the control system which is just plain broken. As in NFS Carbon you have to place both hands on the Wii remote and use it like a virtual steering wheel with the buttons facing upward. The problem is that it's just not responsive enough and this makes driving a very frustrating experience. For the Drag races you have to hold the remote in the usual way (as if you were pointing toward the screen). You'll rev the engine with the B button and when you start to move you have to tilt the remote to the right in order to move up the gears. Once again the control method is inadequate. It doesn't always register your movements to move up the gears and sometimes when you return the remote back to its natural position it will drop you down a gear, essentially killing the event for you. The controls essentially rip the heart out of the game.
Graphically, the Wii version of ProStreet is quite disappointing. The game is visually on a par with the PlayStation 2 version of ProStreet if you're playing the game on a standard TV set. The car models look fairly good but don't expect to see any elaborate damage modelling here. At least the frame rate is quite good and the load times are actually quite quick.
Previous Need For Speed games haven't catered for deaf gamers as well as they could have. ProStreet also manages to disappoint in this respect. The game isn't subtitled so you'll miss out on all of the cutscene dialogue. Whilst this is disappointing, it's not exactly a disaster as the cutscenes aren't that great or important in ProStreet. You'll find a brief description of events on the loading screens. Text descriptions of each race type are also given when you first attempt a race type. During and prior to the start of a race there are comments from the announcer and these aren't subtitled.
Whilst the absence of any online racing hurts the Wii version of NFS ProStreet, it's the poor controls that make it a game that few will enjoy. Having played the game on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 and the Wii, I have to conclude that the Wii version is by far the worst of the lot because of its poor controls that just aren't good enough. The developers didn't even include the option to use the classic controller or a GameCube controller, which seems crazy. If your only option for playing ProStreet is the Wii version you would be well advised to rent it first to see if you can tolerate the dodgy controls the game has.