NFS Undercover First Look
The latest NFS game Need for Speed Undercover is currently in development and will be released at the end of November 2008. NFS-Planet visited EA Black Box in Vancouver and got some impressions of the upcoming racing game. Junkie writes in this article, what you can expect in Need for Speed Undercover:
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Before the presentations on Need for Speed Undercover could start, Producer John Doyle of EA Black Box introduced the most recent project to us: Since this year the developers from Vancouver run the website Speedhunters.com, which gives an overview of the motor sports happenings around the world, with focus on Need for Speed-like events. Amongst car spotlights and blogs written by some well-known drivers coming from the drift scene you also can find stuff like galleries, videos and coverages on particular events and even more. They set high value on not going too much into detail and talking about things like the right final drive ratio or tire pressure, but rather the site's audience should be ordinary people and a overview of the scene should be given. So everyone looking for some impressions for ingame tuning or pictures and videos full of action might want to chance a quick look.
Most Wanted 2
When the attendees got their first look on scenes from the game, the impressions were unanimous: There is Most Wanted 2. The positioning of camera, the integration of the car into the environment and the driving experience brought back some well-known memories immediately. Pro Street's simulation-like feeling is nearly gone. With the HUD, it was almost in the same manner: Bounty meter, (extended) delicts like Cost to state or Reckless Driving, pursuit breaker on the minimap – everything is back again.
In the past game you were looking for new competitions on the streets of the NFS world. Instead of the races you will find your missions there now. For the most part, introductions to these will be ingame graphics. For example, one job is to steal a Porsche out of a car dealership. Just after start you are watching the scenery from third person perspective, when you see the car crashing through the dealer's showcase. After that, the camera moves smoothly right behind your car and the getaway begins. Of course an alarm was raised and inevitably you run into the police. So let's activate the speedbreaker (only shots now and no recharging due to balancing issues) and dodge around the oncoming patrol cars. After a short pursuit using pursuit breakers like collapsing bridge segments or scaffolds to decimate the state's car pool, you reach your target and can flee into a garage. But I haven't seen any donut shop from Most Wanted along the way ;)
In the course of the pursuit your car obviously couldn't remain without any scratches and was deformed according to Pro Street's well-known damage model. However, in Undercover your car will only receive visual damage. So if someone is moving closer to a pillar he won't recognize his vehicle anymore, but apart from that, he may drive away without any consequences.
One major thing that I've noticed is the improved cop and traffic AI. The traffic is trying to move with appropriate speed - “trying” means they also can't completely avoid getting involved into an accident among each other, but this might also be related to the very early game version I was playing. Pursuits will be more realistic as well. To specify a bad example: The final mission from Most Wanted where you had to survive for 20 minutes with an armada of corvettes in tow, which were partially doing over 120 mph backwards. Such things are ruled out in Undercover. Pursuits won't last longer than 6 minutes (as long as you don't want to) and with it, the number and behavior of cop cars is adapted, too. I also haven't seen any car spinning in the air meters high as a result of an impact. So the “interaction” with non-player-vehicles feels more realistic, but more striking as well, especially due to damage model and camera design improvements.
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