NFS Undercover Review (360)
Undercover should have been a poor prequel to Most Wanted. On it's own, it is a very poor game.
Posted by Alex V (SpectralShock) on Jan 9, 2009 - 8:23pm EST (Jan 9, 2009 20:23)
Let's get this out of the way first: Yes, it's worse than ProStreet. There are three types of people who will want to play this game: NFS fans, driving fans, and people who are just looking to get into the franchise. Of the above, I feel sorry for the poor souls (mostly the NFS fans) who get this game ignoring the warnings from the community - this review is for you, so I'm not going to go into detail about what the game is (arcade driving) or where it comes from. But let me say - This game is poor. There is no going around it.
Being an Avid NFS Fan myself (having played through and finished all previous NFS games, especially the classics of the pre-Underground era) I was looking forward to this game. Sure, EA may be pumping out a new game every year, but hey at least it's passable. I was severely disappointed with last year's ProStreet, and wasted no time giving it the title of the worst game in the franchise. Well, much to my disappointment, along came Undercover and did the impossible - it was even worse. As I tried to ignore the negative hype, I picked up a copy to see it for myself and... decided to write this review so that you may not repeat my mistake. If you're more of a numbers person, skip down to the end to see my scores for the game. And so we begin...
Here is where things really go downhill. The graphics engine in Undercover is absolutely horrendous. The technical issues are endless. Words really cannot describe the poor quality of the visuals found here. And this is surprising, more than anything, because it actually looks almost as poor as Underground does by today's (and even ProStreet's) standards. It seems alot of work went into.. downgrading the graphics engine. The shadows look completely rough, the vehicles look barely ok in closeup. The streets and cars have a very strange blight glare to them, even in the shadows of the buildings. The cities themselves look ok. Granted, there is not any way to look up when you are close by, so all you can do is see the high rises from the distance. Speaking of the draw distance, it is extremely poor. You will see buildings, cars, and street signs appear as you turn the corner as if the engine can't keep up with your driving speed. The sun is just strange, it literally flies across the sky in some areas for no apparent reason. And as you approach the same corners in your next lap, you will once again see it fly across the sky. You will also notice shadows move as you drive, and their speed is dependent on yours. To conclude, this is the worst looking NFS game in a long time, and it's one of the worst looking games of the year. The menus look ok, there is no main menu to speak of. After loading the game, you are in the car right away and need to hit ESC to get your garage and gameplay options.
The sound is passable, the engines sound ok and tires squeel. But they lack the quality of previous NFS games, even the oft-mentioned Most Wanted had a better sound feel to each different car than Undercover does. The soundtrack is entirely forgettable, and only acts as background noise. The music during cutscenes is either non-existent, or filled with rap from the cars of the "hip crowd" you are about to race.