Mixed or average reviews - based on 62 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 62
  2. Negative: 8 out of 62
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Need for Speed Undercover is street racing for the short attention span crowd.
  4. 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."
  5. Undercover is definitely a step in the right direction and if it wasn't for the horrible design issues (buggy GPS, frame rate issues and dodgy AI), the game would be scoring closer to the 80's. It's ultimately these design issues that spoil what is a solid racer. Chances are, if you can look past these issues, you'll actually really enjoy the title, I did ... but I have the patience of a Saint.
  6. There’s probably a fantastic game in there somewhere, and given a bit more development time, it might have shown it’s true colors. As is, however, NFS:UC is awfully tough to recommend.
  7. NFS of old was about hot cars, hot pursuits and miles and miles of open road, and Undercover make a semi-successful fist of recapturing some of this magic. Looks great, plays fine. There’s no getting around the fact, however, that Undercover is basically Most Wanted with a new lick of paint. Can somebody please green-light Hot Pursuit 3? Surely the open-world horse has been well-and-truly flogged?
  8. An unimpressive arcade racing experience. Need for Speed: Undercover seems to lack any real sense of immersion and is graphically a bland experience.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. The game modes are not particularly intense, and the vehicles, although very detailed, fail to offer the feeling from the best of the series.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 60
    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.
  15. 60
    It's a sparse game, and after you've sunk about ten hours into it you'll feel suitably empty, too. It's not rewarding, satisfying or endearing.
  16. A disappointing title. It doesn’t build on the series in any way, basically sticking to Most Wanted’s fundamentals, whilst adding more technical issues.
  17. A steeping stone for the series, one that offers hope that EA can achieve better things in the future.
  18. It’s hard to really dislike Need for Speed Undercover simply because the core game is similar in many ways to the excellent Most Wanted. But it under-aims, underperforms, underachieves and does so while practically throwing a begging bowl at you in the form of purchasable unlocks.
  19. A very disappointing entry in the NFS series, which clearly shows that not much thought was put into making it. Tries to bring back the fun and rush seen in Most Wanted, but fails in almost every aspect.
  20. When all is said and done, Need for Speed: Undercover is a shallow experience unworthy of predecessors like Need for Speed: Underground or Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
  21. 50
    It's clear that the Need For Speed series is in need of a GPS unit so it can get back on track.
  22. 50
    Need for Speed Undercover is a poor game with a ton of problems, both technically and in terms of design.
  23. Despite overwhelming condemnation from the wider world then, Undercover is eventually a reasonably decent game. It's just a shame it takes so long to get there, when a simple difficulty level could have jumped the tedium.
  24. Framerate dips everywhere (going into turns and lots of graphic assets on the screen at once).
  25. The framerate is so shockingly bad, it effects the entire enjoyment of the experience.
  26. Undercover doesn’t cover any new ground, and the campy cutscenes – which are a better motivator than earning higher-tier vehicles – lose sight of the game’s pace car. The police chases are knowingly the high point, but even those grow subdued through saturated exposure.
  27. 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.
  28. 40
    On the whole, Need for Speed Undercover is way below par and very disappointing.
  29. A huge letdown for a franchise that is yearning for its reinstatement at the top. EA really should have done so much better. Why not just use the Burnout Paradise engine, create a new city, slap in the NFS gameplay and call it...Most Wanted Hot Pursuit Porsche Unleashed? I'd buy it. In fact I'd buy two copies out of unadulterated joy.
  30. It's not just that Need for Speed Undercover is a bad game; it's that it's a bad game with an incredibly erratic engine. The flaws, problems and issues that exist in NFS Undercover are virtually inexcusable for a popular franchise from such an affluent publisher.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 99 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 25
  2. Negative: 8 out of 25
  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. May 20, 2015
    This game isn't good. It's not a good NFS game, it's not a good racing game, it's not even a good cinematic game.
    It's not abhorrently bad
    This game isn't good. It's not a good NFS game, it's not a good racing game, it's not even a good cinematic game.
    It's not abhorrently bad either though. The graphics aren't actually half-bad, but not gorgeous. The Tri-City Bay Area doesn't look too bleak although it can lack life, making it more of a ghost city where only the racers and the cops that enforce the traffic laws there inhabit it.
    The cars look quite good and there's a decent amount to choose from, from import tuners to full-on supercars, all of which are customisable.
    The gameplay however, is awful, simply rehashing Most Wanted and Carbon's general gameplay (that's not to say these two games play badly in retrospect) but with much worse handling. Oh lord the handling... every car steers way too quickly at WAY TOO HIGH SPEEDS! I get that this is NFS but the handling takes the literacy of it one step too far.
    The AI are terrible as well, being too easy when you're behind them and unfair once you're ahead of them, always riding along your tail to simply overtake you.
    As for the story... well it's boring, it's half-assed, and it doesn't justify the game at all, which is sad considering that the game was attempting to move itself in that direction anyway.
    Overall, I cannot recommend this, it's hard to like this game, especially considering that the game came in 2008, the same year as Burnout Paradise and Midnight Club: Los Angeles, which I consider to be two fantastic racing games in their own right. If you're really curious, I'd say rent it first, and keep it that way, this is not a game you'll want to keep coming back to. If you want racing games you'll consistently kep coming back to, get the other two games I mentioned in this review. You'll probably find both for the same, if not cheaper prices anyway.
    Full Review »