Review by cozymonk
"An over-rated, but fun racing game. Falls short on upgrades."
NFS:U is a hot rod racing game. It is a fun game, but falls short on upgrades. It is different from other NFS games and should be treated so. All in all it's just another racing game. Nothing too bad, nothing too good; just fun to play.
GAME PLAY 5/10
physics 7/10: The physics are pretty realistic. The roads are always wet and this is taken into account in the driving physics. The only problem is: the roads are always wet! Your car will easily slide around and face the opposite direction, where on a dry road it wouldn't so easily.
artificial intelligence 3/10: The AI is the most unrealistic part of the game. When you are racing along side an opponent, they go slightly slower than you, but are un-humanly good drivers. When they happen to get ahead of you they become more human and start to make mistakes and slow down; this increases as the distance between you and them increases. When they get a ways behind you, they speed up tremendously and still drive un-humanly good.
upgradiblitliy 2/10: this is the worst, and most hyped, part of the game. You have to unlock upgrades! I have always thought this to be ridiculous with simulation games. There is little room for creative performance upgrades. You will automatically put in the best, and it doesn't really matter how good your car is, the AI's cars downgrade to your cars upgrade level give or take a little performance. 75% percent of it is disgustingly ugly vinyls! 20% is body kits. And the remaining 5% is performance upgrades. There was an old IBM/TANDY/DOS game called "Street Rod" by California Dreams. This game (and Tokyo Extreme Racer for DC) has the best upgrade system ever (Grand Turismo seems to be good, but I haven't gotten to play it much for lack of a PS2). You could manually build your engine to your specifications and to what could fit the car, because different makes of cars use different chassis. You could pick from hundreds of transmissions, engines, engine upgrades, a few kinds 0f tires, dozens of makes and models (what ever was available in the 60's) and aero-dynamic body alterations that actually affect game play (unlike NFS:U). NFS:U is no where near how fun it was to upgrade your car.
The actual driving is what is fun about NFS:U. It is all in one big city, but several different districts and courses in that city.
The object detail is good, but hte textures, paint, and lighting is bad......bad. The only problem with the object detail is that the lines round the windows and on the edges pixelate. You would think that they could have gotten rid of that by now. The paint is really bad. It looks bland and flat and fake. In tokyo extreme the paint looks great, that game is 3 years older (the graphics are better too)! The paint does eventually upgrade to snazzier colors; like metallic and pearlesant, but they still look bad. The light reflections on the car are choppy, not smooth and fluent. Also, they are highly distorted. The engine tries to hide all the bad textures by blurring the scenery to the point that it doesn't look real and like your tripping on acid.
The car noises are really realistic, and change depending on the model of car and how much it's suped up. The music is what's popular in the racing community and in many teenage social groups. I turn off the sound because I don't think someone in their right mind going 180 in a light weight Japanese car would listen to loud music when they should concentrate on the race.
It's a fairly long game, but it becomes repetitive racing racing when the courses start to repeat themselves.
As far as re-playability, it's pretty much only fun with multi-player. Which brings up another issue: You can't have AI in multi-player! It takes forever for everyone to make their cars to their liking (or just as suped up as it can be).
BUY OR RENT?
I think that with most games you should always rent to see if you like it or not. better to spend 6 bucks extra on a game that you like than 50 on one you hate. If you don't have a racing game, it's a decent buy. I wouldn't return it if it was a present.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 01/03/05
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