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Need for Speed: Undercover - Need for Speed: Undercover

By Stuart Andrews



Our Score:


The other 15 per cent? Well, this is the bit that Most Wanted and Carbon did best - the police chases. On top of the usual racing and outdistancing events, we get specific police chase events plus challenges in which you have to cause a specific amount of damage to city property (including cop cars). When it works, it's brilliant, as you storm through the streets, wreaking havoc wherever you go and evading capture by a whisker every thirty seconds. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work. One of the problems with the 'Cost to State' missions is that you have a five minute time limit in which to cause your damage, and then lose any cops still in pursuit. In a few cases I actually struggled to round up enough cop cars to do the necessary damage before four minutes or so were out, leaving me with less than a minute to get rid of those I'd finally dragged into my wake, and none of those handily placed fragile structures/piles of pipes/poorly constructed billboards with which to do it. When this results in failing time after time, the fact that the rest of the game is so ludicrously easy only makes it more frustrating.

This sort of thing is typical of Undercover; it has some great ideas, then blows them with shoddy execution. This even follows through when it comes to technical issues. You'd think that with the deliberately clean style and the lack of traffic on the road, you'd at least get huge draw distances and a solid 60fps frame rate. No such luck. Objects pop into view on the horizon on a reasonably regular basis, while the frame rate judders painfully on some corners, and even during some of the pre-race cut scenes. Again, it leaves you with the impression that you're playing a half-finished product.

I don't want to be completely damning. Undercover does have some other things going for it, such as a decent line-up of real production cars (one advantage it has over Burnout: Paradise), some solid multiplayer options (including a team-based cops vs robbers mode) and some sex appeal in the shape of Christina Milian (who, unlike Maggie Q, isn't constantly shown in silhouette). All the same, you can't help feeling that EA had a game with the potential to put the series back on track, but somehow kludged it. It actually depresses me to think that this is currently at number five in the UK all formats games chart, and that this means a lot of people are going to end up with it sitting under the tree on Christmas morning. When games like Burnout: Paradise, Midnight Club: LA and even Need for Speed: Carbon offer a similar but superior experience, that's not just a shame - it's inexcusable.


Undercover had the potential to be the best Need for Speed this generation, but blew it with a range of design and technical issues. Unpolished, unexciting and seriously disappointing.

Overall Score



December 16, 2008, 12:37 pm

Sorry, i must disagree.

For me, this is just disrespectful. Being undercover cop, we've seen this already in Driver. Cop chases - Most Wanted. There's absolutely no improvements in this game at

all. I know, it's very hard now to come up with something fresh and original, but

this doesn't justify this level of laziness at all. They even got rid of drift and drag

(for me, the best game modes in the series). You really get the expression that the

only thing developers made with this game was sketch a new map and a couple of new cars.

Realism is - as expected - apalling. It's not that bad though, no one is expecting from

this series any sort of real life handling. Still - exactly what we saw in Most Wanted

and Carbon.

In my opinion the only impressive part of this game is the choice of cars. Of course,

you still can still blast through straight in a Veyron doing 250mph on nitro and get

overtaken by Golf :)

Overall 3/10, 5/10 if we consider NFSUC as a map pack/expansion for Most Wanted.


December 16, 2008, 3:13 pm

Erm, I'm not sure we disagree that much! I can't remember saying that the game is fantastic and everyone should buy it - in fact the words 'seriously disappointing' in the verdict pretty much say it all. I'm also not suggesting for a minute that Undercover even tries to be original. What I would say is that Undercover was clearly an attempt to take the franchise back to the days of Most Wanted and Carbon and rebuild it on those foundations, and that there are elements of a good game in there if you look hard for them (the game has a weird way of growing on you given time). I'd also say that the handling isn't really that bad at all - it's arcade stuff, but there's a little grit and weight to it. However, the end result feels rushed, botched and unpolished. As I said in the review, the main thing that makes me feel sad about the whole affair is that a lot of people are going to end up unwrapping this one on Christmas Day, and with games like Burnout: Paradise, GRID and Midnight Club: LA out there, that's a crying shame!


December 16, 2008, 5:23 pm

this game could have at least tried to act a little more realistic. with the pc version there are horrible frame rates, and contrary to the console versions the graphics seem drab and dull - i actually went to the graphics settings expecting them all set to low or something. i was in for a surprise.

using the xbox 360 controller, the controls feel very imprecise (compared to grid, my new racing benchmark :D), and why the step backwards by omitting in car cams?

one thing i can't understand is the pointless damage system, traffic cars are near enough undamageable, your car will only suffer the odd dent and scratch and (absolutely ludicrusly) your car is repaired right after the race. i hate when you don't get punished for not driving properly, there was a time i won a race even after i had replaced the batteries in my controller, without pausing the game.


December 16, 2008, 8:46 pm

Christina Milian the one hit wonder i must visit youtube next.

NFS is a great game if your a chav so i'm told.

Matthew Bunton

December 17, 2008, 6:58 am

The series has been going backwards since most wanted imo that was the last good game from them. Carbon was a let down,Pro street was utter rubbish and this one seems even worse so it looks like i'll just have to avoid this years aswell.

Nick 7

December 27, 2008, 5:18 pm

Th graphics and trailer for this game looked very impressive, so I stuck it on my Christmas list.

I have to say that my disappointment once I started playing it was very hard to disguise. This game is utter rubbish.

I figured that Pro-Street was just an "interim" game to make some money from the franchise whilst they developed a hard core racer game similar to Most Wanted (my favourite game in the series). Turns out that was the new benchmark, and Undercover meets that standard.

The graphics are very poor. The colours are rubbish. The detail is just pathetic, and the gameplay is so easy my 9 year old son, who can't even get the car to go straight in Most Wanted, won a race his first time out.

If you don't yet have this game, avoid it at all costs. If you do, get yourself down to Game Station and trade it in for something (anything) else.

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