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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Driving, Racing

 

Publisher

EA

 

Developer

Black Box Studios

 

ESRB

T for Teen

 

Released

November 18, 2008

 

 

- If you liked NFS: Most Wanted, this is more of the same
- The audio is as fine tuned as the car engines
- Well rounded set of features and options

 

 

- If you didn’t like NFS: Most Wanted, you won’t like this
- The artificial intelligence is often off kilter
- The story falls flatter than a tire on a nail strip

 

 

Review: Need for Speed: Most Wanted (360)

Review: Forza Motorsport 2 (360)

Review: Project Gotham Racing 3

 

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Need for Speed: Undercover

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

need-speed-undercover-1.jpg (35372 bytes)          need-speed-undercover-2.jpg (45551 bytes)

 

It started out like a Hollywood blockbuster. As many of today’s gaming titles do, this one brings the mood and presentation that we’ve come to expect at the movies. The cinematics blend right into the game play which has you running from the cops.

 

The story mode kicks in where you find out that you’re actually a police officer that has gone undercover. The plot highlights are told through video but it’s pretty weak. I did briefly feel bad about ramming those cop cars because aren’t they supposed to be my co-workers? You’ll get over it too.

 

Similar to how Need for Speed: Most Wanted works, you’re going to find yourself out running the cops and competing in various street challenges to show your worthiness in infiltrating a car theft ring.

 

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I must admit I expected a bit more from the police challenges. The audio chatter on the radio is quite good (although a bit repetitive) but for the most part, the cops will just attempt to ram you and that’s about it. Nail strips make a very rare appearance and after you’ve been busted three times the car you are in gets impounded – forever. If you run out of cars, you’re done the single player game and have to start all over again.

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Of course, you can get a pink slip to other cars by racking up money for near misses (but lose it again when you smoke signs on the side of the road) or you can donate some Microsoft points to EA and buy some better cars online if you are so inclined – or is that reclined?

 

The game does start out with a modest difficulty level that ramps up (pardon that pun please) pretty quickly with some annoying artificial intelligence. The damage your car takes doesn’t seem to impact its performance although at some stages you are awarded for keeping your car pristine.

 

The problem is I never felt really compelled to do the extra things to improve. Just gun it and close your eyes and we’ll get through it! Yet I can’t deny that the game is fun, just far from perfect.

 

Online mode obviously does nothing to improve the dropped frames that happen elsewhere in the game but the cops and robbers mode reminded me of a three dimensional version of David Jaffe’s “Calling All Cars” which is a good thing.

 

As if a self-fulfilling prophecy, the loading screen that claims “You’re not good but you’re not bad” has hit the mark. I give them props for trying to re-work the popular Most Wanted angle of this series, I just wish it was a bit more evolved instead of running out of gas too early.

 

Syd Bolton

January 18, 2009

Syd Bolton has been collecting game consoles for over 20 years and has dozens of systems and over 5,500 games. He secretly misses his Toyota Supra and pretended he still had it while reviewing this game. No controllers of any kind were harmed during the making of this review.

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