Average User Score: 8.1Apr 5, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. After 14 years, this game has aged well in certain aspects and some areas have not.
PROS: Evolution Mode:
The Evolution Mode is the biggest chunk of the game's features. It takes you through a career mode that is unlike any other racing game I have seen. Aside from progressing through races, unlocking new cars, and tracks, the game changes it's music, menus, and the actual environments through the eras from the 1950s to the early 2000s. I find it really neat to play many of the courses through the different eras and see the changes that appear through time along with the cars just like real-world progression.
The music is very good, especially the era-specific tunes you hear according to the time period you drive in.
The Porsche selection in this game is phenomenal. All the cars through the entire history of Porsche up to 2000 is here. The car details look good for a PS1 game, but they look a little flat and wide, but this car appearance is common on many PS1 racing titles due to hardware limits.
CONS: Very questionable design choices:
This game has a good selection of quick races, factory driver mode, and the evolution mode discussed earlier, but there are many design choices within these game modes that limits what you can do.
For example, my favorite game mode in the last 2 NFS titles was Hot Pursuit mode. In this game, Chase Mode is a very watered-down Hot Pursuit mode. It's watered-down because it is simply outrunning 1 police car in a section of open world. This maybe fun at first, but it gets tiring very quickly. The open roads consists of no AI traffic, AI racers, or anything else the last two games had. Just simply outrun the police car and don't get tagged as it is literally a game of tag. If the police car touches you, you lose. Also an important graphics note is the police cars only sound their sirens with no flashing lights and no yelling at you to pull over (like they did in the last 2 NFSs). You can't choose the time of day, weather, or traffic levels either like the last 2 games.
Now that the chase mode is explained, let me explain the "try car" mode that is hidden very deep in the Evolution Mode. "Try car" mode is the option to test drive any of your cars you buy in your career. When you test drive the car, you are thrown into an open world to roam and often escape the police. Everything sounds the same as chase mode, except there is AI traffic, the police cars have flashing lights and yell at you to pull over. Also, unlike the tagging in chase mode, the police car needs to hit you pretty hard to catch you, and the police hide and sneak-up on you just like the previous NFS titles. Still can't choose time of day or other options (sigh). Obviously hardware limitations are not an issue for why chase mode and other race modes are missing so many elements. Why is such an unimportant game mode have everything in it that NFS is known for?
The "try car" mode has a lot of the thrilling features NFS is known for, but is sadly tossed into such a small bit of the actual game that has no benefit to any of the main events or quick race modes. Outrunning the police and dodging traffic will come to a high cost in your career's bank to fix you cars because YOU WILL CRASH A LOT in this game because of the physicals (See below).
The physics in this game are AWFUL! If you come close to the walls, your car will stick to the walls and grind you to a halt. It feels as if your car is a piece of metal and the walls are magnets pulling you in. The collision detection is the worst I have ever seen in a racing game. If you go full speed into a wall, your car will literally fly halfway through it before detecting the collision. The collisions result in bouncing backwards or literally lodging your car half-way through the wall. It's not realistic in any forms.
The car sounds:
The cars have decent tire screeching noises, and some of the engine sounds are "ok", but not enough variety between cars, just sounds like recordings of generic Porsche engines slapped in each car.
Courses lacking choices/ variety:
The courses in this game are divided-up by regions/ countries. There is a mixture of courses and free roaming areas (Depending on the game mode) that you can race in, however, there is no choices on how you want to play them. Some course are day/night, but there is no weather, traffic or police AI options.
The free roam areas are very small as well. Most of the worlds are decent-sized, but are broken-up into sections that are game-mode specific. Hardware is not an issue as there are other PS1 titles out there with bigger worlds to explore. The worlds look good, but some areas have the ugly "pop-up" effect in PS1 games that the past NFS games did not have.
In conclusion, NFS: PU has aged decently over the years, but this game was clearly a detour in the series and is not a proper sequel to the prior 2 NFS games.
Score 6 (3 for the Porsches, 3 for Evolution Mode).… Expand
Average User Score: 6.2Jan 20, 2014This 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!… Expand
Average User Score: 5.4Dec 17, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This game has many great features to like about it, yet there are drawbacks to each of them.
First of all, the city of Fairhaven has great. The Seattle/ Pacific Northwest-themed location is a nice change from the constant southern-California theme we have seen in countless racing titles. The city is visually stunning, very lively-looking, and many hidden alleyways, parking structures, train tracks, and other areas not marked on the map that adds a lot of depth into the city and takes deep exploration to find every nook and cranny which I believe makes an excellent open-world to drive around. There is one pretty big issue I found with the city, despite the diversity of sprawling city streets, dense industrial and port areas, and open highways that leads to the rural farmlands, it is not well designed for police chases. It is very hard to escape from the police when free-roaming because the lack of alternate roads and intersections that provides less options to hide or change direction if you know police cars are coming down the same road. Many of the alleyways are useless for hiding as police cars will find you. I can't count how many times I was in the "cool down" stage of a chase and I was stuck going down one road with no alternate route to drive away from the police searching for me. Every time I was in cool down I had to "hope and pray" they weren't coming at me on the same road as it happened very, very often. This made pursuits fluctuate from exciting to annoying. Paradise City was a much better map for police chases (If you played online) and had countless alternate routes to escape that Fairhaven lacks in many areas of the map.
The police chases in the game range from exciting to annoying (As stated above). I do like how the heat system works when you raise your heat and cool it down. It causes the police to often change their tactics and depending how the pursuit plays out, you can have a decent variety of police cars chasing you at once (Which is dynamic and also realistic), but the SWAT trucks are going a bit too far in my opinion. The way the police chases carry out in the city are not well suited for the way the city is designed (Again, as I mentioned earlier) and would have been better if the police were less frequent during free roam and less difficult to evade (spawning randomly everywhere)!
The biggest chunk of this game is the career mode and I'll start with the good parts about it: it will take you a very, very long time to complete. The career mode is also the biggest problem in this game. The career mode's biggest drawback is the structure of it....and there isn't one. All the cars (Except the Most Wanted cars) are unlocked and just need to find them. I hate this "everything is open to you from the start" structure! I don't like everything handed to me, I like to earn them like in NFS Hot Pursuit or even Burnout Paradise. An even bigger problem with the career is that every car has their own events which every car has a heavy overlap of the same events which means racing the same race in a different car over and over and OVER again. It turns the career into a chore and the repetition has myself putting the controller down after awhile as if I am taking a break from doing college homework. This is why it took me about a year to "complete" this game, because every 2-3 times I repeated the same event and the AI difficulty made it ridiculous. The career mode is the most monotonous I have ever played in a racing game. I can't even hold onto my favorite cars to complete the career!
I have nothing good to say about the upgrades, I found most of them useless (in my opinion), and had to earn them in every car repeating the events. I can't even select where to start with a car, I can only start where the car is located.
The online does not have cop chases and everyone keeps crashing into each other so I never bothered again with online. Not as good as Burnout Paradise.
The car selection is good and diverse, but not as large as NFS Hot Pursuit or other previous NFS titles. Why the heck did they remove the Hummer H1 from the previews? Car handlings are ok, but depends on the car.
The soundtrack is pretty good, had a nice variety and found many favorites, but the lack of dramatic chase music that is very common in the past NFS titles was a big disappointment.
Lastly, the DLC improved the game's car selection and the airport was a nice addition but the airport feels like it's incomplete, smash n' grab events are not fun and actually crash the game where it is literally impossible to complete the expanded career therefore the DLC actually broke the game and will forever be "incomplete" on my profile.
Overall, this game has good quality with a city and car list to admire, but with the career mode being a chore, mixed feelings with the police chases, and the glitch with the DLC (Xbox 360 version), every feature has pros and cons.
Score 7 (3 for the city, 3 for the cars, 1 for the cops).… Expand
Average User Score: 4.8Dec 7, 2013I've played every train simulation game ever since Microsoft Train Simulator in 2001. What can I say about this game? Well, it looks nice and some of the sounds are great, but not all of them. Many of the horns, bells, and other sounds are heavily recycled into various locomotives (Both default and DLC) which is unrealistic and shows the developers are slacking. The train cars are way too quiet, but 3rd party developers have fixed that. There are many unrealistic physics in the game regarding controlling the train over grades and the slacking between the cars, but some of the routes are very scenic and enjoyable. The nice graphics and scenery come at a price, though. I have a good PC that runs most of the current-gen racing games at maximum settings and 70-80FPS with minimal demands on my PC, but this game just hogs all your computer's resources just to have medium-low end settings and 35 FPS at best. A train game should be less demanding than a game where a car is going 200 mph down city streets. This is poor programming on their part.
The scenarios are a joke! None of them follow realistic train operations (At least the North American route DLCs) which I think is unfair for the North American users of the game. Many of the scenarios do not even cover the entire route and recycle the same rolling stock over and over again which takes away the authentic feeling of the railroad your running on. The DLC is way too expensive and the route editing tools are neat, but way too complicated compared to Trainz Simulator's easy surveyor mode. It's the same game re-released every year with different enhancements that are no more than a glorified patch and these updates "break" older content both paid DLC and user-created content.
I'm giving this game a 5 because the game looks nice and has some good moments, but the scenarios do not simulate the actual railroad's operations (at least for the US routes) and there are glitches in certain parts of the game that have never been fixed ever since the first installment was released (Rail Simulator back in 2008). The DLC is too expensive for the amount of recycled content and sounds they include. It costs too much money to get what you really want out of this game when the other train sims out there have 1000s of free 3rd party content items to create your own railroading experience.
This game is good for if you want to run one of the default routes to pass some time, but my suggestion, if you like trains (like me) and you have money, your better off spending your money to build a your own model railroad. It's much more rewarding and fun than this sim is.
If you want a really realistic railroad sim (With multiplayer), Run 8 is a much better train simulator defiantly worth checking out over this!… Expand
Average User Score: 6.0Dec 6, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This game was disappointing. There are things you want to like about this game, but there's a lot of garbage you need to go through to come across the best moments.
The campaign: It took me only 2 hours and 5 minutes! I can't replay my favorite races without replaying the entire "chapter". Each chapter has painfully short races with devastatingly long loading times. The resets add even MORE frustration to the momentum of racing. Example: I wait 2 minutes for the race to load, just to drive an inch off the shoulder lane, then to wait ANOTHER minute for the reset to place me 2 miles back to where I came from. This is a terrible and frustrating design that makes replaying favorite races too troublesome to even bother!
The soundtrack is good, and the car sounds are good, but that's about it.
The environments look good with good variety, however, the "races across the county" is a lie. The courses that they claim are somewhere like "Denver, Colorado" or "Rushville, Nebraska" are nothing more than open maps with events played as different courses within the same map to act as if you are traveling across the country when actually you are playing the same course BACKWARDS! Many of the events your going down the same road in different directions and routes while claiming you are in a new location when you are in the same place! How did Black Box/ EA think they were going to get away with that?! Half of the environments look great road-side, but lack depth (Mainly the Eastern-US MAPS) which I think is from the Frostbite engine. Except for the western locations, the courses don't give a sense of distance like it is seen in Hot Pursuit (2010).
The car selection is good, but I cannot choose them (Outside of the gas station method), can't do quick races, can't choose courses/ weather, just not a lot of options outside of the career and challenge mode. Where are my options?!
Overall, this game is one large step back in the series compared to the year prior (Hot Pursuit) and is nothing more than a glorified coin-op game, not worth $60, and the DLC doesn't improve the experience.
Scoring 4: (2 for the locations and 2 for the soundtrack).… Expand
Average User Score: 3.1Dec 6, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Ok, I have played/ collected every NFS game ever since the first NFS in 1996. Aside from NFS Undercover, this game is one of the worst I've played in the series. The FPS is locked at 30 so dense areas slow-down the game, no AA, and no other controller support, making this a very bad PC port. The cut scenes are annoying and cannot skip them.
Graphics: Let me get this clear, I do not like the Frostbite engine! It looks great in certain environments, but it doesn't work well with racing games and has many glitches as seen from NFS: The Run and is still present Rivals. NFS: Hot Pursuit and NFS: Most Wanted's engine was much better looking and ran better for a racing game.
The soundtrack is bland, the gameplay is ok, but the map is very boring after awhile which is my next issue: The map. The map (Redview County) in this game is extremely disappointing compared to Fairhaven (Most Wanted) and Seacrest County (Hot Pursuit) from the last 2 NFS titles. EA kept praising that the Redview County map in Rivals was to be a similar and better experience to what was in Hot Pursuit's Seacrest County. Let me tell ya, it is not! Except for driving down Interstate 4, Sun Valley Run, and the town on the coast (I think it's Gullwing Beach) the Redview County map is BORING and lifeless. Nothing but woods, desert, and rock cliffs, and no gimmicks or landmarks that gives a "believable" and lively world to drive in. There are no "places" to see in the map compared to Seacrest County that had many landmarks, gimmicks, and eye-popping sights on any road in the game. Seacrest County also was a MUCH LARGER map that made every road an exciting variety. Many of the road paths/ mappings in Redview County doesn't make any sense (T-junctions everywhere and loops back to the same roads!). Overall the map is too dark/ bland and lifeless and not as bright and eye-popping as the last few NFS titles.
The cars: The car variety and list is very limited compared to HP or even last year's MW. The Ferrari license is great, but mad it was wasted on this game. The cop cars are nice, but there is very little overlap on the car lists between cops and racers. I don't care for customization as for these cars look amazing as is so anyone's opinion on the customization options.
The gameplay: 6 players in the open world is useless. The online experience is only as good as the players that are thrown into your session. It just seems very cheaply done. Some of the players will either help your career or actually hurt your progress (Which can be frustrating) and is not how a game should play. I don't like having constant online connections (The single player option is not what they describe it to be, you still need to be online). I miss my online lobbies and menus to set-up races and events (Like in HP 2010), it was a better structure to play with friends and this game's career progression lacks structure where your thrown into an open world with painfully easy objectives that repeat over-and-over again without any variables in the events (Such as certain cops chasing you, choice of cars, etc.). Everything just gets really old quickly. Also, why can't I pause my single player game?! Don't get me started with how many times I have lost my speed points because of that.
Overall, this game was really disappointing in many ways. The graphics are "ok", the map is smaller, not well-designed, and unexciting compared to HP and MW's maps. The car list is disappointing with the exception of the Ferraris. The gameplay is repetitive and boring with no new gimmicks.
I was so disappointed with Rivals I actually bought NFS Hot Pursuit (2010) for my PC and that game looks better, runs better, and having way more fun with that than Rivals! If your new to NFS, this maybe a fun game for you, but stay away from the PC version. If your an NFS fan that played the last 3-4 years of NFS games, you will be disappointed like I was. Go pick-up Hot Pursuit (2010) instead, Seacrest County is way more exciting and a better online experience.
My Score is a 3 (2 points for the Ferrari License, and 1 point for having cops).… Expand