Remain undercover and let this game pass you by completely
You never thought it would turn out like this – an all-out chase where you’re the hunted. And the hunter. Now you must get behind the wheel and risk everything to infiltrate a ruthless international crime syndicate and take them down. The man you’re after is a maniac behind the wheel, and he’s driving like his life depends on escape, which maybe it does. He’s the one with all the answers you need, you will track him down. Needless to say, that fleet of police cruisers in your rear-view mirror won’t make things any easier. It will take all of your experience – and every ounce of skill – to outrun the law, take down the enemy, and unlock the truth that puts an end to this chase once and for all.
Need For Speed: Most Wanted was the first game in the series to hit the Xbox 360 at launch. I personally loved every second of it. Ever since then it seems that they’ve tried to recapture that, which didn’t work so well in Carbon and the less said about ProStreet the better. NFS Undercover tries to return the series to the first next-gen game but ultimately fails through a series of problems that make it nothing more than an average racer.
The first problem being that the game is incredibly easy and with no option to change the difficulty, you’ll dominate races with little effort. At least the past games were challenging, that doesn’t even come into play for Undercover. Also, I don’t get this whole undercover thing…if your character is undercover then why is he still pursued by police in cars and helicopters? I understand they have to appear to be chasing him but they should at least hold up a little. Escaping the police in Most Wanted was frustrating and sadly the same can be said for Undercover. Just as you think you are home and dry…a police car pops up on your radar and then it’s back to the chase.
Races are split into different types like pursuits and sprints. There are some races that require certain winning conditions like get 300 yards in front of your opponent in less than a minute, it sounds crazy but with some tuning and levelling up to your car, you’ll find its possible. I found it odd that the game changes from being open-ended like Burnout Paradise/Midnight Club LA and then showing boundaries across the roads during races, so shortcuts are few and far between.
The story is told through the same standard cutscenes that the series is famous for. Everyone looks at the TV and acts out their part to you instead of some generic character. It gives it a more personal setting, yet it’s incredibly cheesy although not nearly on par with the ridiculous cutscenes in a Command and Conquer game. Every NFS game has had some babe in it and this year’s game is no different, it stars Maggie Q who has starred in Mission Impossible III and Die Hard 4.0…I only wish it was Josie Maran from Most Wanted as she was Über-hot.
As well as being able to boost, you can also slow time down for a small time for you to turn corners properly or fit through some really narrow gap, which ultimately makes the game even easier. Online races can be quite fun as you don’t have the mindless AI to compete against. It makes it much more challenging, but it’s not nearly as good as Burnout Paradise is. I’m glad to see that they’ve got rid of all that bull from ProStreet, but it still fails to come close to Most Wanted’s quality.
The game can last quite a while as you try and improve your vehicles and dominate all the races. Although it doesn’t last nearly as long as EA’s better racing game, Burnout Paradise. That game set the bar for racing games and ever since, nothing has come close to topping it. Both in terms of replay value and scale.
Performance-wise, NFS Undercover is a good looking game. It won’t set the world on fire, but it does the job well and maintains a steady framerate. Cars show up damage quite well and the city looks nice, even if it oddly only has a few cars driving around it during races. Acting is pretty cheesy as I’ve said and the soundtrack leaves a lot to be desired. It really comes down to your own taste in music though, I personally just slapped on my own music as I dominated races with my eyes closed.
Need For Speed: Undercover has its moments, but its ultimately far too easy and can’t compete with the better racers out there. It tries to recapture the good moments of Most Wanted, but fails with dumb AI, a lacklustre story and lacks any charm.