Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 40
  2. Negative: 5 out of 40
  1. 40
    Need for Speed Undercover is a poor game with a ton of problems, both technically and in terms of design. The open world design is completely lost as you can't actually drive to any event, many races are closed off which means no cross traffic, and it's incredibly easy.
  2. Need for Speed returns to its roots with hokey cutscenes, wild cop chases, and solid racing action.
  3. Come on, it’s Need for Speed and that means a tried-and-true racing formula. While the story is a bit far-fetched, it really is no different than some previous titles in the NFS franchise. It would be nice to see the series break out and take a few chances, but what is here – from the open world to the car customization options – should provide for some entertainment for NFS fans.
  4. One can't help but notice that the franchise has seen better days.
  5. Even though I’ve got the gas pedal down as far as it’ll go, the game fails to satiate either the need or speed parts of the equation.
  6. 50
    Undercover may push the nostalgia button for the NFS faithful. But substandard presentation and a host of nagging technical issues cause it to sputter across the line for a distant third-place finish.
  7. 50
    It's clear that the Need For Speed series is in need of a GPS unit so it can get back on track.
  8. This port of Most Wanted that was a port of Carbon, which in itself wasn't good in the first place, is unforgivable from a team as financially stable as EA. Heck, Burnout Paradise, while not a great "Burnout-style" game, was a fantastic racing game, so how about counting your losses and just releasing one racing title and put all your money and focus on it.
  9. Unfinished, underdeveloped racing efforts like Need for Speed: Undercover leave the acrid taste of stale engine oil and greasy do-rags in my mouth. Luckily, it’s nothing that a little time spent with Grid or PGR4 can’t wash away. Undercover attempts to return the series to its former glory, but it’s obviously lost that loving feeling.
  10. 75
    As a mashup of :Need for Speed: Carbon" and "Need for Speed: Most Wanted", Undercover is ultimately fairly successful. For many, though, in a post-"Burnout: Paradise" world, the question has to be raised: "What does this give me that Paradise doesn't?" The answer to that is "cops and robbers," a mechanic that has worked well in single-player since the days of Hot Pursuit, and works even better online when played in teams of 4-on-4 in Undercover.
  11. 60
    Need for Speed: Undercover is a game that both satisfies and disappoints on a regular basis. While the chases provide top-notch thrills and spills, you can’t help but feel like you’ve just done it too many times to really care anymore.
  12. While the graphics cause you to spend the first ten minutes of Need for Speed: Undercover in a mouth-dropped gaze, it really doesn't get an awful lot better.
  13. Technologically something of an embarrassment and devoid of any vitality or personality, Undercover seems a sharp downturn for one of EA’s traditional bastions of seasonal sales. [Christmas 2008, p.101]
  14. 70
    Need for Speed Undercover is a solid if not predictable step for the series. The lack of difficulty and frame rate issues are at the top of the list of its problems, but if you are a fan it is worth checking out.
  15. After EA's recent run of quality, it came as quite a shock that Undercover simply doesn't feel ready. The in-game performance is frankly terrible and one of the main event types is deeply flawed. We can't deny that there's still fun to be had here, especially in the highway battles (and with some of the dialogue), but we simply can't recommend a game that performs so poorly that it's at times unplayable.
  16. Need for Speed Undercover is one of the biggest bluffs of this final quarter of 2008. Far from catching the spirit of Most Wanted, the game of Black Box fails in its proposal because of an excessively easy campaign and because of its "shock-car" style driving.
  17. The storyline has an exciting pick-up: A chase through one of the districts of Tri-City next to the gold coast. With the cops in the back it seems to be very obvious that this states the beginning of a career as a criminal racer.
  18. 50
    Need for Speed Undercover is just a disappointing game on the PlayStation 3. Without all the technical flaws the game could have been enjoyable but at times it feels like you're in the photo mode, while you're supposed to be racing.
  19. Need for Speed Undercover is a big step backwards for the series. It's almost as if the franchise has the same disease as FIFA had a couple of years ago. EA promises a lot new features but in the end there just isn't enough to justify a new game. Thankfully the FIFA-syndrom offers perspective, because after a few mishaps the franchise has produced an instant classic. That's why we keep hope for a worthy Need for Speed game in the near future.
  20. Need for Speed Undercover lacks challenge, struggles technically, and practically requires sunglasses to play. The framework for a stronger game is present, but the final product simply doesn't come close to competing with games like "Midnight Club: LA" or "Burnout Paradise."
  21. Cars can be tricked out until they look like four-wheeled drag queens. [Christmas 2008, p.88]
  22. 80
    While the quest to catch the crims sort of takes a back seat to the initial pick-up-and-play aspect of NFS: Undercover, there’s plenty of fun to be had re-doing challenges to try and best your score, and collecting the reputation you deserve, dear gamer.
  23. 71
    It’s an entry-level arcade racer, with a range of fast and destructive events plus an open-world theme and a host of licensed vehicles. Need For Speed Undercover is fun and tailored to suit all tastes.
  24. Between the excellent Midnight Club LA and the slightly disappointing Burnout Paradise, Need For Speed: Undercover unfavourably finds itself amongst some stiff competition.
  25. With the superior "Burnout Paradise" still making the rounds, Undercover won't rev everyone's engine. If you liked Most Wanted or the Hot Pursuit games, however, you'll want to climb behind this wheel.
  26. My frustrations with the franchise and its never ending framerate troubles are getting on my last nerves...[yet at] the end of the day, and I still enjoyed Need for Speed: Undercover, as will fans of Most Wanted.
  27. A rare duff year for EA's series. Grab "Midnight Club: LA" instead. [Christmas 2008, p.76]
  28. For the second year in a row, Need For Speed: Undercover is not able to reach the so wished and awaited level. Although it is a good game it doesn’t stand out among the others of its genre like some old titles of these series being Most Wanted a good example of that. Thus it’s better to go with Burnout: Paradise or even Midnight Club: Los Angeles.
  29. On the whole though, Undercover certainly isn’t a terrible game; considering the glut of games on the market this holiday season, Undercover gets enough things right to bring it past bargain bin status, but the problem is, there’s not much to dig into beyond that.
  30. A steeping stone for the series, one that offers hope that EA can achieve better things in the future.
  31. Overall, a wholly competant game--but persistent performance issues prevent it from being anything more than that. [Jan 2009, p.74]
  32. An unimpressive arcade racing experience. Need for Speed: Undercover seems to lack any real sense of immersion and is graphically a bland experience.
  33. All in all I am really disappointed in Need for Speed Undercover. EA have focussed more on the cut-scenes and sound of the game and have forgotten about what actually made the Need for Speed series fun many years ago.
  34. Taken on its own, this is a vaguely competent racer let down by some horrible technical issues. [Summer 2009, p.64]
  35. From a technological perspective, Undercover is a humiliating installment in the Need for Speed-series. The frame rate stutters, the open world is dead, and the story is laughable. Even then, Undercover offers some of the same over-the-top racing fun we have gotten used to, and the game will surely get your adrenaline pumping when getting behind the wheel of some of the hottest cars in the world.
  36. The police chases are fantastic, but the plot's bad and the gameplay is confined to an area that's much smaller than it seems like it should be.
  37. If EA can patch the framerate issues and tweak the handling, Undercover could be a great game.
  38. Adventure or racing? Definitely racing! The cut scenes are not suspenseful enough for an adventure. But I like Tri-City with its varied missions and the intuitive controls. Unfortunately the game sometimes drops to a low frame rate.
  39. The game modes are not particularly intense, and the vehicles, although very detailed, fail to offer the feeling from the best of the series.
  40. 65
    The cities are bland and generally uninteresting, but the cars look good and they handle well. That's normally half the battle. If you haven't played a NFS title in the past four years or so, Undercover might be a good place to get back on board.
User Score
5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 65 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 14
  2. Negative: 7 out of 14
  1. SnakeDoctorRaidenDoctor
    Sep 7, 2009
    0
    I have bought every FUCKING nfs title since underground came out.There is only one thing to say.IT SUCKS!Seriously.Don't you have anything else to do with your time.Thank god I borrowed it from a friend of mine(John you suck!) and didn't have to pay 60 FUCKING euros for this piece of shit.Where is the nfs experience from Most Wanted!?Where are the beautiful graphics.And I say the framerate sucks.It is like you play online with tons and tons of lag!Seriously stay away from it.STAY AWAY FROM THIS FUCKING GAME!Or...you could buy it and then burn it,hit it with a hammer and through it to the neighbours yard.I'm sure he wont like that. Full Review »
  2. timmeho
    Mar 13, 2009
    3
    I'm so happy i rented this game, i played for 20 minutes, the frame rate was that bad it gave me a headache the cars looked shit drove like shit, the city also looked shit i almost thought it was the ps2 version the graphics where that bad. i honestly cant understand how they can release this game with such a poor frame rate, The game play and story also where no better i would not even recomend renting. i didn't have time to "give the game a chance" because i have so many other much better games need for speed has gone down hill since nfs: most wanted, which despite some graphical flaws was quiet fun, nfs carbon was a disaster nfs pro street was different but got boring very quick and now nfs undercover, thats strike three no more nfs games for me. Full Review »
  3. Sep 3, 2010
    3
    This is the only game in my collection that I did not finish due to bugs in the software. The game itself is not that bad at all, it is at times rather enjoyable. But the rather enjoyable is overshadowed by the many many bugs and gameflaws. The things that occur frequently: * Wen returning from menu to game the game crashes and the console has to be restarted
    * every minute or so the frame rate drops and it "hangs" for a second. Very convenient while stearing at high speed.
    * Halfway a song the music suddenly stops for a few seconds and continues * NPC cars drive through barriers and buildings
    * You drive suddenly into a void of nothingness, the car starts to blink and it returns you to someplace on the track ... Do NOT touch this if you are looking for a serious game.
    Full Review »