Mixed or average reviews - based on 62 Critics

Critic 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. Moving away from the track and back onto the roads may have returned Need for Speed to where it belongs, but things aren’t perfect yet.
  3. While Need for Speed Undercover delivers in the areas of cinematic production, audio, visuals and through its sweet vehicle roster, it falls a bit short in the realm of top-tier, arcade-quality handling models.
  4. While the gameplay feels simple and easy to interact with, there’s plenty of options and a decent array of customisation for your vehicles. A combination of arcade fun gameplay and a massive playground of a city to do it in should have you entertained for weeks.
  5. Need for Speed Undercover is the best NFS game since Most Wanted but there are still a few more areas which need to be improved before we call Undercover the Need for Speed champ.
  6. 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.
  7. Nearly a return to form, but the new 'grown up' attitude takes away more than it gives. [Christmas 2008, p.62]
  8. 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.
  9. If you like action racing games this is a worth while rental at the very least. There is much to do in the game and even though it feels like the game is just missing some key factor to make it one of the best arcade racers around it is still enjoyable.
  10. A good time can be had, but only if you're patient...and a really big fan of Most Wanted. [Holiday 2008, p.68]
  11. 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.
  12. 75
    Undercover is a great way for the NFS series to get back on track.
  13. I had a lot of fun with the Career mode in Need for Speed: Undercover, and the easy-to-grasp controls really make this an accessible and fun title in the Need for Speed franchise. Don't expect a lot of innovation or new ideas, as a lot of the things that were implemented seem to be pulled from previous NFS releases, but I think race fans will be able to have some fun with this title.
  14. Black Box have taken little in the way of risks but it's not faultless - the streets can feel quite empty (depending on race type) and the framerate can get a bit juddery. But you can't say that EA hasn't given us what we asked for.
  15. 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.
  16. Need for Speed Undercover makes a good attempt to recapture the visceral sense of racing that the series made its name on, but doesn’t bring much new to the table.
  17. 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.
  18. One can't help but notice that the franchise has seen better days.
  19. Need For Speed Undercover has a tremendous premise, however, it feels unfinished in certain areas.
  20. Need for Speed returns to its roots with hokey cutscenes, wild cop chases, and solid racing action.
  21. Between the excellent Midnight Club LA and the slightly disappointing Burnout Paradise, Need For Speed: Undercover unfavourably finds itself amongst some stiff competition.
  22. So Undercover is a bit off-balance. Its bright spots, like the anticipation it builds for unlocking all the ridiculously fun race types, are dragged down by the slow-paced progression. A good time can be had, but only if you're patient or a really big fan of Most Wanted.
  23. 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.
  24. Beset with technical flaws and with ideas slightly above its station, Need For Speed: Undercover is nonetheless loveable and at times thoroughly enjoyable. If you squint.
  25. 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.
  26. The cut-scenes, in all their sincerity, still manage to be completely laughable. Yet it’s hard not to enjoy them despite the fact they’re not really doing the job intended. [Christmas 2008, p.97]
  27. While not a complete success, it is a refreshing change and a step in the right direction, unlike Quantum of Solace.
  28. More forgiving Most Wanted fans will find a lot to like in NFS Undercover.
  29. Undercover is in almost all aspects a return to the well for the Need for Speed series. Adrenaline filled races with the police hot on your heels is as fun as it always was and the online mode Cops and Robbers is a blast. The presentation is also solid, building on top of the foundation laid with ProStreet with a design more resembling Burnout Paradise. Unfortunately the framerate occasionally grinds almost to a halt, a big problem in a game so utterly focused on speed. Undercover is also way too easy, not offering any form of challenge until the very end. It's an unfortunate example of great potential gone to waste.
  30. The main problem with Need for Speed Undercover is that even though it is a lot of fun, it’s just not compelling or interesting enough to keep you coming back for more. While playing, I kept thinking, “Man, this would be a perfect weekend rental or budget title”, but I never thought about dropping $60 to get it new.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 97 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 24
  2. Negative: 7 out of 24
  1. 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,SegaUnlike 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. Full Review »
  2. BriabS
    Dec 18, 2008
    Where is the story? I didn't know I was at the boss level till I beat the boss! What's with the girl, are you suppose to fell cool, Where is the story? I didn't know I was at the boss level till I beat the boss! What's with the girl, are you suppose to fell cool, and thats good that she is pre-med? Big surprise the women you are working for is working for the bad guy!!!! Why the @#$% can't you sell those shitty cars you inherit from other racers!!! And one more thing on art, can we change the color pallette, don't fool us by just by changing the time of day to 7:55pm or 6:45 am. Plus a golden hour doesn't work when your caution walls are the same color as your lighting pallette!!!! Full Review »
  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.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. Full Review »