NFS: Undercover - First Look.

August 20th 2008

Ok, First off, Mike is away on company business, and he had been unavailable to send me the review in order to post his first hands on of Undercover, so I will be 'borrowing' Mike Hendersons From NFS garage until Mike Geise can post his.

You may read the full review on NFSGarage at

For now you can read the first part here.

It's that time of year again… time for another installment of the Need For Speed series. This year brings Need For Speed "Undercover".

Undercover is a far change from the last version, NFS Pro Street… and that is not a bad thing. As we have seen already, Undercover is, as EA puts it, "a rich, cinematic experience where players are an undercover cop taking jobs and competing in races to prove themselves as they infiltrate and takedown an international crime syndicate." But enough corporate speak, let's get into it.

During this year's Community Day, EA presented us with the following statement: Open world action driving adventure. Every word in that sentence means something specific to NFS Undercover. So let's break it down:
Open World

It's back. Open world racing makes it's return this year. The "Tri-City" area is made up of, you guessed it, 3 seperate sections: Sunset Hills, Palm Harbour and Port Crescent. As seen on the map to the left, all three areas are connected via a long highway. We're told, In a Porsche GT2 in light traffic, it should take about 8 minutes to complete the entire loop at full speed. Not too bad. Of course, it's not all highways, and there will be city streets to drive on once you get into an area. The entire game, including cut-scenes, is set during what Hollywood likes to call "The Magic Hour"; a time period roughly between 4am and 6am, when the natural lighting casts perfect shadows. Hollywood has been using this time period for years to shoot big budget films, and with Joseph Hodges coming on as director for NFS:UC, it's no surprise that they would use The Magic Hour for the game. Hodges isn't the only big name involved with Undercover. Action film star Maggie Q plays the lead role, while Christina Milian, Heather Fox and Daniel D. Lee will also make appearances.

Action Driving

My favourite part of the pre-alpha build we got to play was by far the new physics engine. Most of the engine was borrowed from Pro Street, but it was overhauled and tweaked to make each car handle differently, but all VERY well. If you've played any recent EA sports titles, you may be familiar with the various "skill moves" you can perform with your player. Along those same lines, the car controls in NFS Undercover act the same way. Hold the e-brake and tap the left stick slightly (on XBOX 360… not sure about other versions) and your car will do a slick looking 360. Tap the stick again, and you'll flip back around for a full 360 degree turn. Keep tapping and you can dance your car around any way you want, useful for evading cops, or just having fun. All these moves can be performed while going in reverse also. One thing to note… while performing a 180 or multiple 180's, the camera is not attached to the top of your car. It kind of "floats" around your car, letting you have a look at all angles. Try performing that same maneuver while lightly holding the steering control, and you'll pull of a nice drift. It all adds up for some very slick looking driving. However, the drift mode was taken out of this year's game, so you'll have to do that on your own. The big new mode this year is called "Highway Battle". It's basically what the name suggests. You and an AI opponent race down a highway during rush-hour like traffic. The traffic AI is also smarter this time around, and they will adapt and change lanes with their turn signals to avoid oncoming racers, or to obey police sirens.

Full Source here.

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