Mixed or average reviews - based on 62 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 95 Ratings

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  • Summary: Need for Speed Undercover has players racing through speedways, dodging cops and chasing rivals as they go deep undercover to take down an International crime syndicate. The game heralds the return of high-intensity police chases and introduces the all-new 'Heroic Driving Engine' -- a unique technology that generates incredible high-performance moves at 180 miles per hour during breathtaking highway battles. A mix of computer graphics and live-action movies immerses gamers in the rich world of the Tri-City Bay Area. The city’s open-world environment features over 80 miles of roads, including an enormous highway system that sets the stage for highway battles. These high-speed, high-stake chase sequences push players to the limit as they fight off cops and opponents while whipping through traffic at 180 miles per hour. An intelligent new A.I. mechanic delivers a realistic and high-energy action driving experience. Going back to the franchise’s roots, Need for Speed Undercover features more aggressive and intelligent cops whose sole purpose is to take down the player quickly and by any means necessary. Need for Speed Undercover also features the series' signature car customization, real-world damage and realistic driving physics. The game includes some of the hottest licensed cars such as the Audi R8, BMW M6 and Lexus IS-F. [Electronic Arts] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 62
  2. Negative: 8 out of 62
  1. NFS Undercover is a return to form for this long running racer series, the inclusion of the cops really puts pressure on your racing and with the addition of the usual upgrade and tuning options it helps to make this a top arcade racer.
  2. 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.
  3. Undercover is entertaining, has excellent controls and offers lots of variety for the vehicles avaliable, which combined with a great soundtrack makes a solid racing game. Sadly, the mediocre technical performance undercuts the presentation values and the light difficulty level will turn down the most dedicated players.
  4. While not a complete success, it is a refreshing change and a step in the right direction, unlike Quantum of Solace.
  5. 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.
  6. A steeping stone for the series, one that offers hope that EA can achieve better things in the future.
  7. 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.

See all 62 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 24
  2. Negative: 7 out of 24
  1. Feb 6, 2011
    What is it with reviewers lately?If a game comes out and it's easy on default difficulty then it gets bashed with a bad review.Like devil may cry 2 was awesome game but because it was easy it got bad reviews from everybody but play magazine.Then devil may cry 3 comes out and it's way to hard so they have to literally make another version of the game,devil may cry 3 special edition.Give me a break,this game is amazing for 2008 and if you don't like it to be easy then put it on hard or don't play it.They set this game like a movie and I really love everything about this game except it's not as smooth to play as other driving games but I'll tell you one thing,Midnight club Los Angeles is a better game but it is WAY too hard and you can't bump down the difficulty.Great game EA!9 Expand
  2. Nov 4, 2013
    I know that I had previously downrated hot pursuit badly, but as this being one of the first games that I got for the Xbox 360, In contrast to Hot Pursuit, I actually had some joy with playing this game, as it still maintained the option of purchasing particular vehicles for any such event, as well as a full variety of customization types. However, the customization names get way too technical in this series, almost as technical as the types of rims you'd like to buy. Anyhow, the decal and vinyl customization is much more peaked and varied from previous addons, as you can change rotation, size and position of any such decal, adding much more diversity to your own imagination. Cars are suited in "ranks", meaning that 4 would be a pretty low-performance car, as in 1 is the baddest of the bad, the fastest of the fast. Anyhow, the story itself is not original, compelling, or coherent to "undercover". Most Wanted had more of a undercover setting than this. The story makes you feel as though you have a choice, but really, you don't. You are told what to do through a linear playthrough that only becomes free roam when those quests involve races, which in itself are neat too. The area you get to play in is flagrantly beautiful, involved in the tri-states area close to where I live (if Oregon and Washington are close, they're practically the same state), however the vehicle traffic and populace feels completely empty for a metropolitan area such as that, whether by the courtesy of the dev's to make the driving experience easier or just plain lack of notation. Like in Most Wanted, most of the races are difficulty dependent on the cars you drive, but have particular races that are much more difficult than others, requiring more sporty cars and more driving determination. Vehicle damage is nigh absent, with little more than scratches and windows despite the highway runs formulating a "wrecked" motion when you run into cars. The highway runs is the new special challenge, like drifting in Carbon, as you go 1vs1 against highway traffic (again, the traffic is minimal for a metropolitian area). There are special skill boosts that allow you to gain decreased costs for particular parts, or increase other areas of your pique depending on how you perform on races, which does give you the drive to beat out each race. Also, you can perform the same races with the help of the gps, that has particular categories for any such of race, such as sprints or circuits, quest races, special races and races you have already done and new races. Despite these benefits, most of the game seems bored of itself, feeling too calm and steady for intense driving. At least this still brings the Need for Speed racing experience that we should expect, other than some future developments. It might be hard to garnish an interest in this game, but once you do, you won't feel regret buying it. Expand
  3. Jun 11, 2014
    It was ok, but I do feel like they forgot a lot of things about the previous need for speeds. This just wasnt very satisfying when playing. They sort of had a free roam thing which if, your a need for speed fan, is pretty cool. The racing experiences were cool at times but sometimes they just became ridiculous. They should have changed up a lot of things. I know its not that easy, but I feel like simple improvements could've been made. Expand
  4. Sep 20, 2013
    Need for Speed Undercover may well be the most dumbed down Need for Speed game of this generation. Get the superior Most Wanted; both the original and the new one are far better than this trash and you don't have to put up with the awful story. Not even worth renting. Expand
  5. Jan 20, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Whoa! The NFS Series as fumbled a few times (Such as Porsche Unleashed on the PS1 and ProStreet), but not as BAD as Undercover.

    I'm going to start with the good: Variety of cars, the police chases (to a certain extent), the soundtrack, and the size of the map.

    The Bad: Literally everything else this game has to offer.

    The story: It took me less than 3 days to complete, it doesn't make a lot of sense, transition between the story and the missions is non-existent, and the objectives in the missions are not explained at all. There was so much they could have done to make you work like an actual undercover cop, but it was dumbed down like a low-budget action film.

    The graphics: they are UGLY. To be fair, I can understand EA's artistic choices trying to make the game feel like a Michael Bay film, but they made it look cartoon-ish. The warm colors of the environment with the cool colors of the sky just doesn't look good. In addition, the game takes place at either sunset or sunrise so you are constantly blinded by the sun and the fresh-rain effect on the roads makes the sun reflection even brighter and very difficult to see. Part of the map is programmed to change to sunset or sunrise depending on where you are. With that stated, there are moments where you literally (I'm not kidding you) seeing the sun moving across the sky! It just shows how physics in this game are not a simulated in any form which brings up the next BIG problem: the physics.

    The physics in this game are the worst I have ever played in a driving game and I play mostly racing games. The "Heroic Driving Engine" is laughable. The cars turn on a dime, rarely need to tap on the break, and require no drifting or driving skills going around corners. You can literally make a clean turn with a Bugatti Veyron going 150+ MPH around a street corner without tapping the brakes. This is not realistic in any form! There are other stupid physics glitches in the game where the pursuit brakers have physics explosions. Example: knocking over a platform of pipes, instead of falling, they go shooting across the sky at 1,000+ miles per hour! Other glitches include cars barrel rolling while stationary, pursuit breakers destroying police cars nowhere near the falling object(s). Some of these glitches are in conjunction with the incredibly stupid AI that consists of slow racers, police pointlessly ramming everything, and literally smoking the AI on any race/ mission without any effort. There are so many little physics glitches here-and-there that I could go on forever on each one I have encountered. The lack of beta-testing clearly shows!

    Although Tri-Cities Bay is the biggest city compared to Rockport and Palmont City from the last 2 NFS titles, this map looks the ugliest. Although some areas of the city are cool to explore, the graphics explained above with the textures leads to a very bland and lifeless city with spotty AI traffic, ugly low-resolution textures, and very little sense of depth, and large stretches of rural and coastal highways with no vegetation and only terrain with repeated textures. It literally looks incomplete (Like the rest of this game).

    Other technical issues: The frame rate is all over the place at any given moment. Some areas the frame rate slows the game to a point where it is almost unplayable. There are moments where your player's car is going faster than the road loading ahead, literally stopping the game until the void in front of you loads the map. I have heard this is a bigger issue on the PC version, but I will never find out as I will would never poison my PC with this garbage of a program!

    There is very little to explain about the races themselves as they are like the past NFS games, except the AI is painfully easy. Another questionable issue is that instead of having arrows blocking you from driving off a race, there are literally walls blocking multiple paths, but the AI traffic is programmed to literally drive through the them (Yay, another huge freaking glitch!). Why didn't EA put the arrows to allow traffic to properly drive through them? We will never know.

    I understand EA was trying to create a 3rd title to expand the game/racing structure we had in Most Wanted (2005) and Carbon, but they screwed-up this game so badly I don't know how they could have sold this without embarrassment.

    I have a theory about this game: the development time was supposedly 2 years on this title. During the first year of development, the recession happened where many companies like EA had to scale back their operations. I wouldn't be surprised if EA "cut" development of the game, told Black Box to finish whatever was complete so they could ship the game and make a profit as it would be too big of a loss to cancel the title. It clearly shows this game was incomplete. We will never know. All we know is we were given crappy glitches and incompleteness for a final product for 2008's installment of the NFS series.

    Final score: 2!
  6. Feb 1, 2012
    Wow what a POS game. I have played need the need for speed series since High stakes which is from 1999. I loved Most Wanted and Carbon, because they made you feel awesome. True Undercover as those moments and the graphic look really cool. The two main problems that brought the score really down for me was this. One the story is way too short, i finished this game is 3 days without doing any side missions. So it is about maybe a total of 10 hours of gameplay, need for speed most wanted had at least 20-25 hours without doing the side missions. See the difference. The reason why it was so short too ties into my second reason. This game is way too easy. You can just put the pedal to the medal without even breaking crashing into stuff and you can still win about 90% of the time. In Most Wanted i am still having trouble to win races and it actually feels more satisfying to win. So in conclusion it is a cheap version of Most Wanted. You would be better off buying most wanted Expand
  7. Apr 18, 2011
    Unlike alot of the other User reviewers on here,I'm NOT new to the Need for Speed games.I've play them since Need for Speed 1 on the 3DO,Sega Saturn & PS1.No 1 in my opinion,ws the best.Excellent pacing,handeling,& crash physics.You actually didnt want to crash,as you would have to wait for your car to stop rolling,before you could re join the race,so you were cautious not to crash.Made for great racing.So i know what can be done with the Need for Speed franchise,So Frankly expect more than the Abysimal Need for Speed-Undercover!.. Good examples of Need for Speed games,have been Nfs 1&2,Nfs Hot Pursuit 1&2(Not the one on the 360 & PS3),Nfs-Road Challenge,Underground 1&2,& Most Wanted.Possibly Shift 2,but havnt played that yet.But even as great as those are,none of them match the great gameplay of No1 all those years ago.Anyway,back to Undercover.Now where do i start?.. The Graphics are underdetailed,The handleing physics not very good,The game world is barren(it feels like some sort of Plague has killed off the worlds population,with the amount of other cats on the road,& no pedestrians).& yet,with the poor quality graphics & barren game world,theres that atrotious frame rate! What the Hell?! The frame rate renders the game practically unplayable! & i've heard its even worse on the PS3.. The races are far too easy,& these cust scenes seem to be put in to make the game seem more slick than it actually is,& they dont serve any purpose to the story at all.just a quick cutscene,& your in another race for some reason.. The other bad thing about this game is,they've created a free roaming world,but theres NO POINT WHAT-SO EVER to free roam.Great... Theres no random challenges to be had from it,& you dont even get to drive to get from race to race,as you have to choose it off the map,to 'Warp' there anyway.What the hell were Blackbox thinking?! No wonder they got took off the NFS games after this one.It was like they got the work experience guys to make the game,while they were on holiday(or maybe they actually did make THAT bad a game themselves).. But then,Criterion have since made the exact same mistake since,with Need for Speed-Hot Pursuit.A free roaming game,with literally no point to free roam! What a waste.. The only positive thing i can say about this game,is that the engine noise is good.But thats it.Whoopie.I'm normally fairly generous with my scores,& appreciate a good game,& the work thats gone into making it when i see it,but this is NOT good,& obviously no effort has gone into it. Expand

See all 24 User Reviews