For the past year and a half, all I have heard is the complaints about how the Need For Speed games are going downhill, and how Pro Street was nothing like the good old fast paced, Need For Speed Most Wanted, with spades of attractive cut scenes and rip-roaring chases between the cops and a 200 mph muscle car.
Well, it looks like EA have listened to the complaints of its loyal supporters; thankfully they have revisited the successful formulae of speed and tyre squeal. The new release, named Need for Speed Undercover. The cut scenes and high-speed chases have returned to the game, which is a welcome addition as last years release, Pro Street, was nothing like the traditional Need for Speed games and featured none of the aspects of best known in the games.
Similarities between Underground and Most Wanted, the 2004 Need for Speed, are clear to see and are such a relief to find. You will have the chance to race cars from all of the leading car manufacturers, from all four corners of the globe. Nissan, Dodge, Cadillac, Ford, Porsche, Lamborghini, BMW, Aston Martin and Mitsubishi, are just a few of the cars featured in the game.
Need For Speed, Pro Street, follows a different style of Game-play, which featured the player driving cars around racetracks. The Need For Speed fans found this to be probably the worst thing EA could have done, which was to take away the essence of what made Need For Speed, the premier racing series, fast paced driving in built up and dangerous environments, gaining “heat” from the police and making them chase you for up to an hour, just to stop you causing havoc on the streets.
The storyline in Need for Speed Undercover follows you playing the role of; wait for it, an undercover officer, alongside Maggie Q, who is strangely attractive. The objective of the game is to race around the fictional, Tri-Bay city and take down street racers, who have become embroiled in an international smuggling ring. Storylines in the game are described by the infamous cut scenes, which are a major part of the game, but still fail to reach the amazing heights of past Need for Speed favourites.
Two key aspects of the series have returned. You will have full control over the development of your chosen racing car. As usual, in Need For Speed, there are two ways to improve you car for races, you can either re-build your car as a whole, or individually improve areas of your car, to help you become the number one racer.
It seems like EA them-selves, weren’t best pleased with the reaction of Pro Street, mainly because on Underground, it has really gone back to the old style of the game, featuring street racing against the worlds best. One update is that you can now earn points, to improve your stats on the game, which help you reach the number one spot in Tri-Bay.
You also have chances to earn money, via the final position you end up in, basically the higher position you finish in any race, the more money you receive, even if you finish in a modest 4th place, you still earn money, so it’s not the end of the world.
One major problem, which I feel the game-play really lacks, is the fact that it is not really that difficult to win a race, as long as you drive fast down the straight and half heartedly, attempt to conquer the corners, it’s impossible to fail, this also means the game isn’t exactly realistic, as you don’t see this in professional motor sports.
The visual department is something which EA have never lacked in the game, even through the less successful era of Pro Street, the graphics were still better, than almost every other racing game out in the past year or so.
So, arriving at the release of Underground, the graphics are nothing to worry about. Whilst driving the environment reacts to your driving style, for example, if you plough into a large object, you will cause the object to fall and cause an obstruction, making life that little bit harder, for your opposition, whether it’s the cops or fellow racers. If the cops are racing you through the streets of Tri-Bay, you will not fail to miss the blaring sound of sirens and the flashing of there lights on the surrounding buildings.
Undercover doesn’t just feature the traditional streets races, it also features races which may depend on you leading a race for a pre determined time, passing more checkpoints than your opponent or trying to keep a stolen ride in pristine condition, until you reach a safe house.
Due to the amount of all the different racing modes, which you can play in the game, you will get your money’s worth out of the game and the replay potential, especially for a racing game, is frankly better than any other racing series of games, I have played.
One much improved aspect of the game is the online mode, which is a lot better than Pro Street and possibly Most Wanted. The online cops and robbers mode, in which the robber tries to particular rides and deliver them to a specific drop-off point, while another player, controls the cops and tries to ram the robber off route, is t of fun.
So people, if you’re the type of gamer who enjoys racing games, which feature cops, streets races, high speed chases and generally enjoy causing havoc, then Need For Speed Undercover, is the game for you.
But remember, it does have its problems, so don’t jump in all guns blazing expecting a near perfect game, because like many other games, it does have its teething problems.