Review by Stevewins123

"I feel like a superhero, I can drive through Police!!"

Need for Speed Undercover is Electronic Arts' latest racing game. It was first released in America on November 17, 2008, and gave many Need for Speed fans a reason to get excited. Unlike Need for Speed ProStreet which focused on legal races, Undercover had the return of risky street racing, and fun cop battles. This game was made to please the Need for Speed fans, but did it succeed? Critics and reviewers have pointed out many negative points in the game, but should those points deter people from playing the game? Is the game worth playing? While this game might not be as good as previous versions in the Need for Speed series, I still think that it's an okay addition to the series.

The Story & Career
While the story may sound quite interesting, I don't think it's that great. You're an undercover cop in the city of "Tri-City" which is the fictional place in which the game occurs in. As the cop, you're responsible for taking down a group of street racers and car thieves that got involved in international smuggling. To do those tasks, you need to participate in races and driver jobs. The story itself is told throughout multiple cut scenes that occur every so often throughout your career, as you win important races or events. These cut scenes were done well, and look like parts of a movie. All of the actors are fine, including the voice actors, and the ones in the cut scenes. Therefore, the way that the story in the game is presented is great, but the story itself isn't as great. This is because to me, it seemed quite predictable and therefore didn't really entertain me.

All of that happens in Career mode, which is the main part of the game. It's like Most Wanted's career mode, where you win races to win money, and then you use the money to buy new cars and new car upgrades. With those new cars and upgrades, you can win even more races to get more money. It's a continuous cycle of racing, getting money, and buying. Occasionally, you'll have important events or races to participate in. In career mode you can also unlock new tracks and cars to play with in Quick Play and Multiplayer modes. Overall, the career mode is very short, causing disappointment. It took me only 5 days to get to the end of the game, and that's without excessive play.

The Races
The races all seemed okay, though they were all quite short. Many wouldn't take any more than a few minutes to complete, making them seem somewhat "empty." Aside from being short, the races were also incredibly easy. I don't recall losing races any more than two to three times, unlike in Most Wanted which had quite challenging races. I think that this game would be a lot better if the races were improved upon by making them harder, and longer.

Races aren't the only thing that you'll be doing in your career. You might also need to do jobs for other people. These jobs normally consist of getting a car to a safe house as fast as possible, without wrecking the car. To make it more complicated, there are police that chase you on your way there, and then you need to evade them before you can enter the safe house and complete the job. However, these jobs are still incredibly easy, because it's hard to severely damage your car unless you really try. For example, I've driven and crashed into other cars, buildings, and police, yet I barely take any damage. I can normally complete the driver job with around three quarters of the health I originally had.

The Police
Evading the police in those driver jobs is really easy too. Unlike in Most Wanted, where the police could easily catch you, it seems to be nearly impossible in Undercover for them to get you. Nothing they do can seem to stop you. You're invincible! If you have a fast enough car, you can easily just outrun the police with pure speed. If you're driving a not-so-great car, you should still be able to evade them because there are pursuit breakers located all over the place. Pursuit breakers are basically structures that you can ram into to make them fall or collapse. When they do so, they'll destroy any police cars that are near them when they fall - even if the police aren't physically touched by the pursuit breaker. After the breakers take out the police, you might be able to escape unseen. If that doesn't work, and all else fails, there's a bridge that you're shown at the beginning of the game. Crossing that bridge ensures freedom, as the police (for some reason) just can't drive over it. Maybe they're scared of heights? Basically, my point is that the pursuits are all incredibly easy, and that takes away from some of their fun. I found that really disappointing, as the pursuits are my favorite part of the game.

Luckily, the game still uses the pursuit system from Most Wanted, which is nice. If you progress farther into the game, you'll have more advanced police chase after you. They might be faster, smarter, heavier, and harder to destroy. Along with the more advanced police comes the advanced equipment that they use. They might send out helicopters to track you, and they might use spike strips to pop all of your tires. However, that only adds a tiny bit of difficulty. In Most Wanted, helicopters made evading pursuits difficult, but in Undercover, they don't make much of a difference. Helicopters will only follow you around for a short while, and then they'll run out of fuel forcing them to stop following you. And in Most Wanted, running through spike strips would end the pursuit, as it would literally be impossible to outrun police with blown tires. In Undercover, I can still easily outrun the toughest police with all tires blown. I found the pursuits to be somewhat boring, and quite disappointing.

The Challenge Series
The challenge series is an extra part to the game that was also in Most Wanted. Basically, what happens is that there are a bunch of challenges you need to complete to unlock harder challenges. These challenges can range from things such as placing first in races, to evading police in less then a minute. Unlike in Most Wanted, there are very few challenges, and like the rest of Undercover, they're all very easy. They add just around an hour or so more of enjoyment to the game. I really think that there should have been more challenges.

The Graphics & Sound
The first thing I noticed about this game was the graphics. As soon as I saw the opening menu I knew that the graphics weren't going to be as good as they could have been. And I was correct, the graphics weren't that great. First of all, everything is shiny and glossy. The road seems to always be wet, and it reflects everything. I don't know about you, but where I live, even when the road is covered in ice it doesn't look as shiny as the road in the game. The cars are also extremely shiny, no matter what type of paint you use on them. Maybe they were rained on...in the safe house. I honestly can't think of an explanation as to why everything is so shiny. Another complaint I have about the graphics is the lack of detail in some places. They must have put in lots of effort to make everything reflect off of the mirror-like road, but why couldn't they put detail in other places that should actually have good detail? For example, the background in the distance looks really bad. I mean, really, really bad. Couldn't they take time to fix the background rather then make the road so shiny? There are also many more problems that are worse then the background. When I go speeding down the highway in the game, I always seem to notice vehicles and trucks materializing in front of me. How do they do that? Magic? This can be a big problem when I'm driving on the wrong side of the road. I go speeding through calmly, because there doesn't seem to be any obstacles in my way, and then all of a sudden, BOOM! A truck appears right in front of me and I crash right into it. I really wish that didn't happen. There are many more problems, but I won't go into much detail with them. Some include driving through solid objects, such as police cars, metal bars, boats, etc. Maybe the developers really liked "Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing."

However, unlike the graphics, the sound is reasonable. There are nice, appropriate sound effects for all the cars, and hearing the engines rev and tires squeal make it seem more realistic. The music is okay, but isn't really anything to get excited about. I think that the music in Most Wanted was much, much better.

The Controls
The controls are, by far, the most flawless part of the whole game. The game allows you to play with multiple types of controllers. Some examples are the Wii Remote by itself, the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk, and the GameCube controller. This basically ensures that everyone should be able to play easily. Personally, I like the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk controller scheme the most.

Multiplayer
Much to my disappointment, the Wii version of Need for Speed Undercover lacked multiplayer over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The other versions of the game (for the 360, PS3, and PC) all had online multiplayer, so why didn't this one? However, it does have offline multiplayer where you and up to three friends can play. When you play multiplayer, there are 8 different modes to choose from. They aren't boring to play, but they aren't incredibly fun either. I'd say that they're average.

Final Recommendation
This game isn't great, but it isn't horrible either. Need for Speed Most Wanted was definitely better then this, so if you don't have either and you want one, pick Most Wanted instead. Undercover was made to be similar to Most Wanted, which it did. In fact, the game almost seemed like an exact copy! I noticed that the city had parts which were nearly identical to Most Wanted's city, leading me to think that the developers just got too lazy to make a new area. Actually, this game really gave me the impression that the developers were just starting to give up on the series. Their recent games, ProStreet and Undercover just don't seem to be as good as their games from before. Maybe they'll be able to change that in their next game. Who knows? My final recommendation for this game would be to rent it, not buy it. It's not worth more then twenty or twenty five dollars, so don't bother paying for it. Plus if you rent it, you should likely still be able to beat it. It's quite short. If you really do want it, I would recommend getting it for the Xbox 360, or the Playstation 3. Those versions seem to have better graphics, as well as online play over the internet, providing you with a bit more enjoyment.

Cool:
- Nice car selection
- Good controls

Could be Better:
- Graphics
- Should have online play
- Too short and easy
- Story
- Police


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 03/18/09

Game Release: Need for Speed Undercover (US, 11/17/08)


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