Need for Speed: Undercover Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC | Wii | PS2 | PSP | DS
Need for Speed: Undercover box art
System: PS2, Wii, DS, PSP< X360, PS3, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: EA Black Box 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Electronic Arts 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 17, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

At the start of Career Mode, races are extremely easy to win even with the stock vehicles provided. As you continue to win races and challenges, your skill level increases as determined by your Driver Skills and Wheelman systems. You are also rewarded for performing various stunts while in a race such as near misses with oncoming traffic to rapidly increase your ranking and bank account to purchase upgrades and other goodies. The reward system for style and stunts also ads for a bit more variety while racing, though it would be nice for the same system to be applied while free-roaming.

Need for Speed: Undercover screenshot

One of my only other concerns with this game is the way the races are set up. As you accept a challenge, you are loaded into a typical race track with guard rails and some traffic as you have to battle pedestrians, oncoming vehicles, as well as the cars you’re trying to beat. Not only is the setup an unbelievable street race track, but the fact that an organized street race would occur in a downtown area filled with light traffic is pretty unlikely. Remarkably, all through traffic is also blocked off for the street race, which means you’ll only have to avoid head-on collisions while weaving through traffic. Undercover definitely doesn’t offer the most realistic take on street racing, with a return to the arcade feel not present in last year’s ProStreet.

Cop chases are genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, as overzealous cops in unmarked cars do all they can to box you in by ramming your vehicle and performing P.I.T. maneuvers. They’ll do whatever they can to stop you, and it’s obvious how much more aggressive cops are behind the wheel in Undercover compared to Most Wanted. Multiple cruisers come out of nowhere, as suicidal officers smack into you at top speed to sandwich you between guardrails and other cop cars. Escaping police isn’t entirely difficult, giving the player a fighting chance against Tri-City’s finest, thanks to NFS’ traditional race mechanics that are forgiving and easy to grasp. Thankfully, the game makes full use of the fun police A.I. with three different single-player modes, including Escape, which is just as it sounds, Cop Take-Out, in which the goal is to wreck a specific number of cruisers, and Coast to State, which rewards you for damaging property while on the lamb.

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If you were less keen on last year’s more realistic ProStreet offering from the NFS series, Undercover returns to the arcade style and cinematic feel of Most Wanted in somewhat of a disappointing fashion. To really enjoy it, the player not only has to overlook serious graphical issues, but also suspend disbelief and take the game with a grain of salt to bare with the script, the way races are set up, and the way lives are put in danger just so you can infiltrate a crime ring by winning hundreds of street races. In all, Undercover may not be the highest in quality or win any awards, but it can offer a good time for those who play it.

By Pete Richards
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
2.3
Graphics
Poor rendering, blurring techniques, and issues with draw distance are among the game’s worst aspects, as Undercover appears visually outdated.
3.8
Control
Forgiving and easy-to-grasp controls make a return to the arcade style of the series.
3.8
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
In-game sound effects are standard, while a solid rock and electronic soundtrack remains energetic.
3.6
Play Value
The amount of cars and courses offer a lot of variety to the game, though the open world becomes pointless with little to do while free-roaming.
3.4
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Go Deep Undercover: Race into an action-packed story of pursuit and betrayal. Take on jobs and compete in races to prove yourself as you infiltrate and take down an international crime syndicate.
  • Highway Battle: Fight off the cops and others as you take down your prey in high-speed, high stake multi-car chases. New and vastly improved A.I. mechanics mean more aggressive and intelligent cops focused on taking you out fast and by any means necessary.
  • Own the Open World: Tear across the massive highway system and discover the open world of the Gulf Coast Tri-Cities area, with three unique cities connected by an extensive highway system.
  • Heroic Driving Engine: An all-new game engine lets you pull off amazing moves for the ultimate driving edge.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Need for Speed: Undercover screenshot - click to enlarge Need for Speed: Undercover screenshot - click to enlarge Need for Speed: Undercover screenshot - click to enlarge Need for Speed: Undercover screenshot - click to enlarge

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