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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Highway Battle & other innovations:
Highway Battle is the new game mode in Undercover. Basically, this is a mixture of the outrun mode of Underground 2 and the drag modes with traffic of past NFS games. The purpose of Highway Battle is quite similar to the canyon races of Carbon, so it looks like you will mainly battle with some kind of “bosses” for the victory on the highway. At first, the start is side-by-side or consecutive, and the one who can extend his lead to a certain distance or is in front after a given time period, will be the winner. In this case the traffic might turn the balance, because on the one hand it has to be dodged around, one the other hand the one driving ahead could use it to block the other one's road. At this, the traffic flow is completely random, unlike the drag modes of the Underground era. This means the race progress is consistently different. So it might be the case that on the first attempt your rival rushes away without any chance to get him, because he simply finds the best route through traffic. Next time he'd probably crash into the first truck to appear. Your opponents' ways aren't fixed as well and will be adapted during race. So imagine bumping continuously into his car, just prepare for his answer.
The nonexistent rear view mirror, which doesn't appear in any game type, makes this type of race particularly interesting. So the question is: “Can I run the risk of looking back once more? Can I dodge the traffic then just in time?” For Highway Battle, this is certainly a concept taking away an advantage from the one driving ahead. I personally perceived this bar in the top as annoying in most cases, but I am really curious to see which kind of reactions the developers will receive from the community.
So with Highway Battle there will be another type of race in the game – two others will be gone instead, drag and drift, to be precise. Similar to Most Wanted, both of these modes obviously don't fit into the concept of Undercover. No surprises regarding the replay feature: It is missing since the beginning of the Underground series and it will be missing once again. Because of the open world with thereby theoretically infinite pursuits, and the resource hogging physics engine, it is impossible to the developers to integrate such feature for every platform.
I can't tell you much about tuning since I couldn't take a look at this part of the game. Number of bodykits and aftermarket parts as well as possibilities of autosculpt should be equal to Pro Street, little enhancements aren't out of question though. Moreover, the developers set value on purging menus and increasing usability. That's why pause menus will be more clearly arranged and due to transparency you still can see the race events. In addition, you will be able to tune your car directly in these menus and apply the changes without moving back the game's main menu.
At the time of my visit plannings on online gameplay just have started, so no one was able or allowed to tell anything. Therefore it's still cloudy how substantial the multiplayer part will be in the final game, especially considering the apparent singleplayer focus due to the immense expenditures on story and shooting.
The world of Undercover takes place at the US gulf coast and can be split into four major regions. Whereas Pro Street's race tracks are based on real layouts, the landscape of Tri-City is completely fictitious. The game build I was playing only contained Sunset Hills, a wavy district with many winding roads and lots of gravel paths, and to some extent the island Palm Harbor, in the manner of Miami downtown or something. The two remaining are Port Crescent (industry?) and Gold Coast Mountains, where some nice canyons will be waiting for us. So all in all it seems like a mixture of the quarters of Underground, Most Wanted and Carbon. By the way, one lap over the highway surrounding the world will take you at least eight minutes.
In the first game scenes we saw a Porsche driving along an interstate highway across the sea, while the first palm alleys and the skyline of a metropolis were popping up at the horizon. This part of the world certainly shelters a lot of atmosphere and reminded me of C.S.I. Miami – only Horatio Caine handling with his sunglasses was missing. The landscape is put in the right setting with a shiny orange coloring using post processing, contrary to the Underground episodes having some kind of a blue touch. The sun does one last thing to accomplish the atmosphere. The scenery is arranged during the dawn hours in the morning, by what the cars are spectacular illuminated through the incidence of light. Blending and lens flare effects are striking as well – the developers call this combination “magic hour”, which is also used by the film industry.
So there won't be any daylight change again, but this was drafted up from the beginning on. But if anyone supposed to see a wet roadbed on the highway in the first trailer, isn't wrong with that. If and how weather effects will occur in the game was also something I couldn't take a look at. Altogether, you will recognize the graphical improvements at first sight, Undercover simply has so much more eyecatchers than the comparatively realistic and neutral Pro Street.
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