Need for Speed: Undercover Discussion
Most racing games, especially the Need for Speed franchise, don't have much of a story. The first real attempt at one in the series was Most Wanted, and it was a half-assed one at that. Undercover isn't much different. You're an undercover cop working for one Chase Linh (Maggie Q of Live Free or Die Hard). Your job is simple. Win races, watch cutscenes, **** cops off, watch more cutscenes, and so on and so forth. These cutscenes are designed the same way as the ones in Most Wanted, but are a bit cheesier in my humble opinion. New areas open up later on as you progress, but that's to be expected. Long story short, your job is to get people to like you, stab them in the back, and go on your merry way as you push past through the career mode.
Okay, if you didn't know already, this game has a few flaws. The difficulty isn't quite balanced as it should be. For the first hour or two, you'll find the game is pretty easy. Then, all of a sudden, the game decides to kick it up a notch and essentially redefine "rubberband AI". Nothing is more frustrating than screaming down the highway and having your opponent fly by as you redline your tachometer, especially when they were the length of a football field behind you seconds earlier. Like any NFS game, Undercover sports a few cool race types. There are circuits, sprints, checkpoints, outrun (a cut and paste of Underground 2 fame where you have to get in front of an opponent and stay ahead for a predetermined amount of time), and last but certainly not least highway battle, which is making its NFS debut this go around. Simply put, this mode has you hauling balls down the interstate, weaving in and out of traffic like a teenager who just saw 2 Fast 2 Furious for the first time. It's a bit scary, and a lot of fun. In addition to the race types, there are a number of pursuit events to be attempted and/or won. Cost to state, cop takeout, and escape all fit the bill. New to the franchise, the hot car missions will have you stealing cars and having to get them to a chop shop without damaging them too much. Even though the heat will appear to come down hard on you during these missions, they are a bit too easy for my blood. On top of that, the game will allow you to try your hand at "master events" which are considerably harder than the normal events, but hold a much better payout.
Undercover sports a new control scheme entitled the HDE (Heroic Driving Engine). Simply put, this allows the driver to pull off stunts normally unwitnessed outside of your standard Hollywood chase scene. You are given more control when it comes to out running the 5-0 with the HDE. For instance, double tapping the left trigger will immediately grind your car to a halt and kick it in reverse so as to flee from those nasty spike strips. You can also perform 180s, 360s, reverse 180s (J-Turns) and much more. It should be noted that the handbrake is a bit more touchy this time around, but once you get used to it, it isn't that big of a deal. The controls that you've come to know and love are still here (LT-brake/reverse, RT-gas, Left Stick-steer, so on and so forth).
Now this is where the game lacks a bit. For one, the menu system is a bit tedious. All too often I'll find myself accidentally exiting out of a customization menu when all I wanted to do was tweak another part of the car. While racing, you'll notice that the tracks are already laid out thanks to some concrete barriers. However, for some strange reason, EA Black Box decided to let civilian cars just drive through them. While a lot of reviews will pick this little crap till it bleeds, I don't really notice it that much anymore. Another thing that some people don't like is that you can't actually drive to the events anymore. Whilst driving around, you'll notice a little D-Pad icon at the bottom of the screen. Pushing down on the d-pad will auto launch the nearest event. It kind of sucks, but that's all I did for NFS: MW, so I doubt you'll hear much complaining from me. One thing that's pretty neat about this game is the inclusion of a driver skills interface. By completing races, you earn wheelman points. Earn enough of those, and you'll eventually earn driver skills that can improve your engine, tranny, suspension, nitrous consumption, intake, cash earning bonuses from races, discounts on car parts and more. Additionally, you can earn these by "dominating" any event. To do this, you must beat a set time programmed into the game. It's a pretty nice touch, since it forces OCD gamers like myself to perfect every last bit of this title.
This game is pretty. No doubt about it. However, the lighting can get a little nerve racking at times, especially when you're screaming through a back alley and can't see anything. Or flying down the interstate with the sun right in your eyes. It adds a challenge, no doubt, but it's a bit annoying. As for the cars. They're gorgeous as ever. Everything from fenders to custom rims and paint jobs are presented beautifully. And speaking of cars, there are roughly 55, not counting the LCE vehicles available on XBLM. Car damage is also a noted inclusion. Some events will keep track of how much you beat up your ride and if it gets too great, HELLLOOOO RESTART!!! The police cars, buildings, helicopters, and civilian vehicles are all pretty nicely constructed. I'm glad to see cars on the street that are scaled to your four wheeled wonder.
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If you like to play games with the sound cranked, you'll love this title. I personally am rocking a Pioneer 5.1 system and the engine sounds alone are jaw dropping. If there's one thing the developers got spot on, it was the sound presentation. The purr of a European Mean Machine is rivaled only by the deafening roar of an American Muscle Car. When you drift a turn, expect those squeals. For a burnout, expect the same. The sound is very nice and the music isn't half bad either. Well, at least for an EA title. Some of the tracks can get annoying at times, but hey, you have custom soundtracks, so quit *****ing about it.
Technical Issues: Craptacular/10
At the time of this writing, NFS:U still had some bugs to get stomped and very rarely did I encounter a total freeze. Plus autosave will do its part to help you out in this regard.
If you're thinking to yourself, OMG Wall O' Text, here's a watered down review. This game is good, not great, not perfect, and not quite poor. It's good. It has a few MINOR, yes I said minor issues with it. If you're willing to look past those, I'm sure that any true NFS fan who liked anything about Most Wanted will feel right at home with this edition. Other fans may also. I wrote this review to provide some insight to my fellow gamers who are debating about this title. Take it or leave it, it's here for you.
My Score: 8/10
Reviewer's Score: 8/10, Originally Posted: 11/20/08
Game Release: Need for Speed Undercover (US, 11/17/08)
my bucatti veron can run at 431km'h....cheers..
pagani zonda f and maclaren f1 at 420...
[Edited by darkelfsin, 11/24/2008 4:12:21 AM]
I made a video of a run in the Zonda at South Blvd and Bank. Fraps interfered a bit and caused a pause about 45 seconds into the video. The video is of a 57 second lap, but my best laps are a bit under 45 seconds without fraps:
my bucatti veron crossed 450km
then i was crashed i bet it can go to 470+ km
just do all upgrades then tune your ride at max towards top speed it will compromise acceleration but the ride becomes ffaasstt
i update bugatti veron all parts and tune horsepower to max ,and tire, nos,etc to make best speed, but only 431km at my best...
i also add wide body, is that reduce the speed?
[Edited by darkelfsin, 11/24/2008 11:25:56 PM]
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