Review by Kaiden
"NfS lost its original feeling... but it's a great game!"
I must admit, playing the old NfS games, like Hot Pursuit (ESPECIALLY that one) has granted me much fun... and when I first heard about this new ''chapter'' coming out, I was a bit afraid it could have been commercial. Well, in a certain way it was... is it only a mere Midnight Club copy? Didn't try MC so I can't really say... but as far as I heard, the games are pretty much the same... well, NfS hasn't its feeling anymore... you just have a car, you can customizing it, progressing in the game in Underground mode. You can change the performance and the estetic color, and plenty of other things. Well, sounds like a criminal game. It is. Well, it hasn't got the...how could I say it... the ''clean'' atmosphere NfS: Hot Pursuit had... you have one city. One. And there are many roads and tracks, but all in the city. Grumph. Later in the game, this can get pretty boring, since some races even have 6 laps (as far as I got)... and doing 'em all is a real pain... many times, when playing it, I got stuck and thrown the pad all through the room, angry. Luckily it didn't broke, since I pick it up another time and I tried another time the race. Well I lose again. Another throw. Then I begin to understand how the other cars race, and I can get a victory. At that time, I'm very relieved.
In NfS Underground you are a bad boy (bad? Well...)...you have a car, initially a bad car, and later in the game you can change it (of course, I'm sure you were expecting that)... and you race in that big city, against other bad boys. If you win, you gain money and, maybe, you unlock new tracks and new car's parts... that's the general view about the game... it deserves a 9, since it has many good points, but as I said before, it hasn't the old NfS feeling.
Now let's talk about graphics...well they're indeed pretty good. The speed sense you get while racing is really the best you could expect (in this way, the game title is perfect)...you kinda see the road swishing away very fastly while the camera shakes a bit, making everything very realistic. Well, RACERS' cars are very good, but what about the traffic cars..? Herm, well... you know... I think NfS Hot Pursuit cars were better designed... I'm not saying they're bad...but compared to the cars..they're really ugly... I'm really surprised the developers didn't better-designed them. And the sparks you make when you hit something with the car aren't so realistic, either... the NoS (nitro, boost, call it as you wish) effect, though, is pretty good (you can see enhanced blue/orange flames coming out from the pipe)...well, the city is well made and so are tracks...so the graphics deserve a 9. It would have been 10 without those ugly traffic cars. If you played Gran Turismo 4 (prologue or not) you won't be disappointed by those graphics, 'cause globally they're better and GT4 hasn't that speed sense you get here. 9/10 then...
What about sounds and musics? Musics...well there are many different songs...some are good, very good, others are bad (like the main one you get every time you insert the disc...yuck)... menu's songs aren't that bad... and sounds are good. Engines' sounds are really good and the sound you hear when changing gears is really impressive. Tires, crashes, everything is very realistic. A whopping 9, even here it would have been 10 without some bad song... 9/10.
And now the gameplay...well...what'd you expect from a racing game? There are many different types of races...well I don't know their english names 'cause I played (and I play) the Italian version... but one is a normal 1/2/3/4/5... lap race, another is ''drive from A to B'', another is an elimination race (laps, the last at every lap is out from the race, the remaining racer wins), an acceleration race (where you're forced to change gears by yourself, but don't worry, since it's very easy and very funny!) and another type, where you have to make those rally turns, in order to gain points. At the end of every race (being Underground mode, the ''Story mode'' let's call it so, or Quick race mode) you gain Style points (or whatever they're called in English). Style points make a Style bar grow. When it reaches the max, you unlock something then it resets. When ii reaches the max again, you unlock something, et cetera, et cetera... Well, the gameplay deserves a 9 out of 10...
Story...well, you must become the absolute champion, the one with the best car, loved by every girl of the gang... you get it? I don't rate it, being a racing game...
Difficulty...YAAARGH it can get frustrating, VERY frustrating at times!!! You'll most likely try some bad races 10/15 times before you can understand how to win... please don't make me remember those da*n races... sometimes the game is AWFULLY EASY (you'll surely win some races at the first try, even if you're in Medium Difficulty mode)... but some others are a pain in...ehm, you got it...they're painfully difficult even in Easy mode!! Easy to Very Hard...well, should I say, balanced? Not too much...
Replay value...the races are the same, tracks are the same, but you might want to try other cars, and change difficulty levels...who knows? I'm sure you'll at least give the game a second try (at least).
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/01/04
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