Review: Need for Speed ProStreet DS

Infendo

NfSPWhen glancing at the DS library, it’s hard not to gasp at the sheer diversity of titles on the handheld. With that being said, you’d think there would be some killer racing titles that are polished with the “go-gamer” in mind, but unfortunately there are hardly any solid racers besides our beloved, Mario Kart DS. Thankfully EA has finally put some hard work into the DS version of Need for Speed ProStreet and after a good month with the game, I’ve found it to be fairly decent.

Gameplay:

Obviously, Need for Speed ProStreet isn’t your favorite Mario Kart. You won’t see any snaking or items here, but plenty (and I mean plenty!) of drifting. NfS’s controls have always been more on the simulation side of things rather than a classic arcade style. You can either love that style or hate it. Like the console versions, ProStreet’s main game is all built around completing “race days”. Each race day consists of four to five events which can be Grip, Drift, Drag, or Speed modes. You’re not required to beat each sub-mode to move on to the next race day, but if you dominate you’ll receive more experience and money/cars.

You start the main game off with two cars (1 drift car and 1 race car) and go through slews of race days and even a hydraulics mini game (basically a Elite Beat Agents rip) where you show off your ride via touch screen rhythm game.

Grip, Drag and Speed are all great fun to control, but Drift will give you a good slap in the face if you’re new to the mode. The learning curve for drifting takes quite a while to grasp and will slow your race day progress until you master it. Thankfully the dev team pitched the bottom screen dash cam used with last years Carbon and replaced the lower screen with a basic map of the race.

Car customization has always been a huge staple with the Need for Speed franchise. The DS version of course lacks some of the custom car visuals that are with the Wii/360/PS3/PC versions, but you are still given the options to alter your paint, spoilers, rims, kits, and vinyls.

Multiplayer:

For local multiplayer gaming, ProStreet offers both single-card play and multi-card play in which players can compete in custom race days, classic quick races, or the hydraulic mini game. Where multiplayer really shines is in the newly added Wifi mode. Just connect to Nintendo wifi connection to race against 7 random people, or use friend codes with friends to set up custom matches. The option to upload your Hydolics scores to global leader boards are also given.

Graphics:

For a DS game, ProStreet looks decent. I would of liked a little more detail added to the cars, but besides a few crummy textures, the cars gleam when speeding at 180+ mph. Landscapes are a bit barren, but fly by smoothly. Some decent smoke effects and street textures add a bit more detail than previous installments. All this runs at fairly smooth 30fps a few dips.

Sound: It sounds as though a lot of the licensed tracks that EA used for the main versions of ProStreet have been carried over to the handheld as well. Though not my favorite “style” of music, you’ll find a decent amount of tracks to kick to. Car sound FXs are basic and as plain as can be.

Final:

It’s great to finally see EA putting a little more effort into their DS titles like what they’ve done with Need for Speed ProStreet. This racer won’t replace our favorite Mario Kart, but it’s the best street racing sim that has graced the DS.

The Good:
-Race days are enjoyable to complete and give you a sense of accomplishment
-Excellent multiplayer options including Wifi
-Smooth running graphics

The Bad:
-Drifting gets on your nerves until it’s mastered.
-A few ugly textures and bare landscapes.
-Only 12 licensed cars

3/4

(Disclosure: Thanks to EA for sending us a review copy.)