Sunday, December 04, 2011

Need for Speed - Undercover

New box.... same game...
I would like to remind that this review only applies for the PC version, as there are obvious changes to the other versions. Before I present any form of criticism, I would like to say that I like racing, I love the street racing genre, I really love cars, I love the idea of police chases, and I simply love modification of cars. Basically you could almost mark me as a Need For Speed fan for this, but there is more to it than what meets the eye. This is the 12th release in the whole series, and took a surprising 16 months to develop. That is a huge amount of time taken compared to most of the other recent ones. Yet this one comes with nothing outstanding. In fact, it clearly falls back compared to what Most Wanted delivered.

SOUND: The music is actually a very important element in racing games to keep the player enjoying the race, and this just doesn't deliver it. The collection of the tracks are mostly Rap. I don't know where they got these tracks from, because 90% of it are not known to most, if not any music fan. Most of the tracks are just not good at all, are only a few are great, and you'll probably feel the same if you listen to music in real life even occasionally and have an opinion on music itself.

The FX sounds, however, are very good I must say. The Engine sound is a bit less worked on, and is too loud compared to the other FX sounds. But the rest is good, with only some sounds like the Nitrous sound needing to be made more smooth and noticeable.

GRAPHICS: Probably the best part of the whole game in comparison to the other factors. But even then it's not that great... There are some serious lags, such as the foreground going blank and the buildings and roads vanishing into a blue shade for a short amount of time in the middle of doing something. And the worse part is that no matter how much of a great PC you get, the problem still occurs. That's because it's a problem with the game engine itself.

They also tried to pull off some moves using graphic elements that should have been left undone because of them not being able to achieve the actual desired output, for which it ended up as not so good. Nevertheless, it's still good looking. The overworld is okay, but the part where they have actually put effort and done better is the car graphics. It's pretty good compared to the rest.

STORY: Story is a very important part of the game. If a story is engaging, it will hook the player on to the game till the end, and it will do the opposite if it isn't. Now I know that racing games are not supposed to be story-intensive, and should be marked upon the normal standards of racing game stories. But even then it would receive this score from me. Since this game doesn't have much material to make you look forward to except the cars, the story was necessary. And they did put in a story, but one as disappointing as it can get.

The cut-scenes which were acted by real people were so badly acted that you'll know anyone could have directed to act better and more real. It was like it was obvious that they were acting, and that they knew it too. They also overdid some attitude related moves and talks, which ended up making me laugh at them instead. The game doesn't give you much clue to what the story is actually about, and you only get to know near the end what exactly is going on. All you know before that is it is related to car smuggling. So to the start and until the end, the game will leave you thinking - "I could have made this sooo much better". 

GAMEPLAY: The game is pretty average for this part. It's just not that hard in terms of difficulty. It's rather easy... The only actually challenging parts are when police are involved, or when a race is being done in the master events and in hard mode. And for the police, it only gets pretty tough when one of your wheels get spike-stripped.

The controls are okay... But isn't as good as the recent ones even. But all-in-all too, these games need to improve the controls to make it more controllable, which could be specially awarded to the player when the parts are upgraded to maximum.

CONTENT: The Police were pretty easy to get away from in this game. They always seem to be on your tail, or when things get at its worst, they try boxing you in using SUVs and makes it harder for you to move using 10 other cars while the busted meter reaches its peak. But that is the only move that can be scary, and even then you will never get in such a situation if you're moderately good with the police and don't end up having a high heat level and bad luck. Once they're a little ahead or on your tail, you can pull of easy surprises and lose them with ease. The police in Most Wanted was what I call challenging! This time it would be easy if not for the longer lasting chopper.

The collection of races were okay, though they took away some too. The Circuit and Sprint are there, which is good, and they removed drift, which was never an actual "race". But it annoyed me when I couldn't find some of my favourite races, like the Speedtrap. They added Highway Battles, which are rather annoying and aren't so good in my opinion. They also added Outrun, another good race, though illogical. They also removed drag, though I'm not complaining about this one. Customization/Modification really disappointed me this time in overall view. Unlike Most Wanted, where there were tons of collection of aftermarket parts like the body kits and others, this time the collection is really small. They were trying to surprise us with the Autosculpt feature, but in turn took away things that were more impressive. The Autosculpt feature also isn't much of a cool feature, as I thought it would allow me to bend and twist and increase and decrease at greater levels and in a lot ways in places than what it allows now.

The collection of Wheel Rims is the only big collection this time around, and even then doesn't have an impressive collection compared to Most Wanted, with the exception of a few. There are only 2 to 4 body kits normally, and their Autosculpt is not so good most of the times. I was disappointed with the low number of Spoilers and Hoods, and the complete removal of Roof Scoops. But the one thing that impressed me was the unique ability to be seriously creative at designing using the Vinyls. The Vinyl collection is okay, but the nice part is that you can go creative and create a unique looking car using your imaginations, and using the technique of stretching, skewing, shrinking, enlarging, and specially over-layering.

LENGH: Short game. If you're moderately good at the racing genre, and can give a little time to it, it will be finished before the end of a week - the story part that is... If you want to finish every single race in the game, then it will take you about two weeks. I say take your time if you don't want to regret finishing it that fast. 

REPLAYABLE: I thought since I love the car part so much, then why not play the game again after I beat it? But when I actually finished the game and went for a new game, I just did the first race and realized that this game is not worth playing again, unless there's multiple special something dragging you - like the cars for an example. Replayability is therefore low.

OVERALL: My words - "game is okay, but there are many better". For this high of a price tag, it doesn't fulfill the cost you paid at all. Buy it if you actually like racing, and if you are collecting the NFS titles because of being a NFS fan. Other than that there's not much reason. I say renting is way better, because the game is both short and not worth paying for. I got mine as a gift, so all is good for me!

If you want to play the best game in the Series, get Most Wanted. The second best would be Underground 2. They're both good in their own ways, with Most Wanted having an engaging story, clearly being the best NFS game in overall look.

SYSTEM: Play Station 3, Play Station 2, Play Station Portable, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, XBOX 360, PC



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