It looks good, but NFS: Undercover is a lacking game in most respects
Cops chase car, car handles like a dog, end of story
This is the real reason people by Need For Speed
The Porsche 911 Turbo smokes 'em up
The Nissan GT-R is a king amongst men
Contributing writer for Web Wombat by day, boy
racer by night.
My passion for fast cars isn't restrained to
just racing them on the Xbox 360. In fact I "keep it real" by taking it
to the streets.
That's probably why the cops are asking my mum
about my whereabouts...
You know I once knew a guy who I'd take to the
streets with on a regular
bases, only to find out he was an undercover cop.
Suffice to say I'm
now doing 40,000 hours of community service bathing the elderly in
kerosene baths (to help with the bed sores).
It's kind of a harsh penalty for driving at speeds
of up to 230km/h, but
the fact that I resisted arrest and beat a cop down with a cricket bat
(which I like to call 'The Don') that was concealed in my pants may
have been the contributing factor in my subsequent sentencing.
Which comes to my own personal 'need for
I'm a sucker for fast cars
and if you don't believe me read for yourself how I was co-driver in
a brand-spanking new Ford
XR5 Turbo for at-the-limit sprint through the mountains.
Okay, there's a lot of hype around this game and
being a car nut I was absorbed by the drama created by the EA marketing
Like most people, I was duped.
It's not all bad, but what was once a very cool
franchise is now missing its engine - an empty shell with no innards.
To begin the game looks like a movie. It's really
cool how the intro starts with a helicopter camera that flies across
the water and then reaches a city, where it zooms in on a highway car
Next thing you know the camera zooms in to the
brand-new red Nissan
370Z which is being chased by the cops, and there's a
super-smooth transition so that next thing you know, you're driving the
Eventually the police manage to subdue you and
force you to work undercover for them. And there you have it, one very
At the start, the game welcomes you to
Tri-City, consisting of four boroughs called Palm
Harbor, Port Cresent, Gold Coast Mountains, and Sunset Hills - this is
where the action begins.
There's a number of missions to partake in, but
there's no particular order you have to do them in. This gives the game
an open-world feel.
You can drive to races, circuits, highway battles
and so forth but you can only begin them by selecting them from a menu
which is pretty dumb. You bring up the GPS navigation system and pretty
much warp there, which sort of defeats the purpose of the
drive-anywhere open world.
Need for Speed: Undercover shines the most by
giving the gamer the
illusion of speed. Hats off to developers Black Box for that -
the graphics are gorgeous (except on the PS3 version, where the
slowdown is atrocious, so get the Xbox 360 version if you want a decent
But other than the pretty
isn't much going for the newest installment of the popular street
mean yeah, sure, it looks good, it's well polished, there's fancy
actors (and smoking
hot babes) in the slick-looking cut scenes, but the game play
is a let down.
To be concise, Midnight Club L.A. is a much better
game to play.
Starting out at the beginning you have a few cars
to choose from; I chose the 1999
Nissan Silvia s15.
Racing a rear wheel turbocharged car through
corners at up
to 200km/h without any drift is pretty crazy and that's what
gives me the sh!ts. Well, there's actually lots of things that don't
feel right about this game, but in a broad sense it's way too arcadey
for my liking.
car handles like it's on tracks and when you plough into other cars
and walls there is damage but it doesn't seem to anything to the
handling of your ride.
I would have thought by the 12th installment of
this series they
would have tried something new...
Even the streets feel like a
ghost town, and the city seems to lack inhabitance and it just
doesn't feel alive.
However there are some redeeming aspects to NFS:
One of these is the acoustics. The engine
sounds are better than those in Midnight Club L.A. (try the quad turbo
There's also an okay online experience where you
can play games like cops and robbers, where you
There seven different challenge modes to choose
from such as circuit, sprint and checkpoint which we have seen
in previous games, along with cop challenges (also seen in Most Wanted)
such as cost to
state and escape.
These are all pretty boring modes, but the two new
challenges to the game have been the standouts for me:
- these challenges or missions typically require the player to:
Return a stolen
car to a garage without filling the damage meter
Race other main
Protect drivers from other cars attempting to
- players race
against one another along a stretch of highway with varying traffic
and police activity and this mode, I must say, is the only reason I
kept playing this dull game beyond the first couple of hours.
Battle delivers a great sense of speed and panic
which also reminded me of Japanese cult classics as Wangan Midnight
and Shutokou Battle.
another appearance in the
latest reincarnation of the NFS franchise are the cops.
Seeing that you
are technically a cop, the police will try and pull you over and ruin
your day and as usual will call in
helicopters and the use the P.I.T. maneuovre.
But pay the
fine, and you're on your way.
customisation side of things,
nothing really new to report here. If you've played NFS Carbon or
ProStreet, you'll know what to expect.
customisation of cars is similar to that of Need for Speed:
graphics are slightly better and the new color palette and the
"matte" paint has been improved.
Tweaking the cars does not
affect the way they handle however, which is another unrealistic
quality of the game that probably removed to appease the casual gamers.
This is a
game with high production values, but the core of the game seems to be
The gameplay is
average, with loose physics and cars that handle poorly.
enough in-game detail or depth to the way the cars feel, and there's
not much we haven't seen before.
thought they could steer such a shining
ship to glory, but at this stage I must say that Midnight
Club L.A. holds the title of "tuner racer" of the year.
It seems as
though Black Box was asked to make a real 'movie' style videogame, but
in the end it just ended up being boring.
In three words,
this game is rubbish. Four words... Whatever.
to the grind stone for me.
nine hundred and ninety nine hours down and only 38,001 hours of
kerosene sponge baths to go
until I'm causing havoc in a street near you!
I guess some
people never learn in
accordance with the prophecy...