I am looking at the PS3 version of Need for Speed Undercover. The game has 720p HD graphics, which are attractive and well rendered. At lower resolutions, the world suffers from more than its share of anti-aliasing issues, but at 720p things look very good. Cars are well rendered, buildings look great, and the game offers realistic physics for the cars while driving.
The game offers an open world that players can drive through in any direction they want. The story mode puts the player in the shoes of an undercover cop looking to infiltrate a gang of street racers that are into international smuggling. As you expect you start the game with a not so cool car, but it doesn’t take long to win a new and nicer ride after you start to work your way into the racing gang by winning events.
As you race more events, you can unlock better cars. Need for Speed Undercover has 55 licensed vehicles including the Porsche 911 GT2, Audi R8 and more. Cars can be upgraded with individual components or with upgrade kits as more events are won and more money is made.
As you drive around the open world, you can run from the cops and crash other vehicles. You win points by causing damage to property and other drivers on the road. There are different points around the city where you can drive through things to cause pipes to fall or other nefarious acts that will damage police vehicles in pursuit and help you evade capture.
EA took a page from the Burnout Paradise book and made accessing in game events and competitions very easy to do. You don’t have to go from mission to mission, you can ramble around the city and as you enter areas where events are held you hit down on the D-pad to begin the event.
Events are varied and range from checkpoint races, to circuit races, evading arrest events and delivering stolen vehicles without damaging them. My favorite event type is when you have to cause damage to the city and crash police vehicles. Damaging the police vehicles can be challenging, but it is great fun.
Need for Speed Undercover features the Heroic Driving engine to give greater control over the car while in a chase. EA has used very similar effects before in Need for Speed games. The Heroic Driving engine allows players to hit a button to slow the action down to allow for more precise control of the car in tense moments.
A good example is when trying to evade a roadblock on a tight street at very high rates of speed. You gain points back for your nitrous (if equipped) and the heroic driving engine by drafting and driving close to other cars. Racing events vary greatly in their difficulty. Some like the circuit races are dead easy making them no challenge. Others like trying to deliver stolen cars without damage can be very difficult as cops ram the car to stop you. There is a lot to like in Need for Speed Undercover from the campy cut scenes to the fast-paced racing action, this is a great game.
If you liked Need for Speed Most Wanted, Need for Speed Undercover is a game you want to add to your collection. It offers the racing that gamers loved in Pro Street with back to the franchise roots police chases and destruction.
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