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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The new driving physics is in my opinion the most striking aspect in Undercover. The goal was to create an "Action Driving" game, whose gameplay experience was somewhere between Arcade an Simulation. Basically I would see the gameplay as a return of the predecessors Most Wanted and Carbon, with a bit more simulation from ProStreet. Nevertheless the driving physics have been re-created from the scratch and the developers call it the "Heroic Driving Engine". This includes the unbelievable control over the car and the direct reaction on steering commands. We took again a Porsche for a test drive and everyone was enthused. You always had the feeling to have the full control over the car and the feedback of the vehicle worked wonderful. Every bump, every steering command and every twitch with the gas pedal is visible on the display and the Porsche reacts according to the intensity of the throttle and steering with an analog gamepad very differentiated.
Although it is possible to accelerate the car softly without smouldering tires, the feedback of the engine is much more intense when you push the trigger to the limit. The engine howls, the body leans backwards, the car shakes and the new adjusted camera also moves slightly down, without appearing unrealistic or exaggerated in any kind. It's possible to use brakes and steering as well with such a precision. This enables you to make more difficult maneuvers, like U-turns, 360s or a slalom through the traffic on the highway. It seems as if the car knows before the player what's his intention. I didn't have this experience with the Need for Speed series yet - compared to Undercover the driving experience of the predecessors seems more sluggish.
It's not easy to force the Porsche to drift at the beginning, because unlike in Carbon the car doesn't steer against itself and feels quite petulant and averse. But with some practise and the right vehicle (unfortunately we couldn't test a muscle car) this shouldn't be a problem.
As already mentioned, the camera did change too. Whatever driving maneuver you want to do, the camera always highlights the car, true to the motto "the car is the star". In this context, the camera moves smoothly and naturally and I didn't have to bear any exaggerated effects like the zooming-out when using nitro.
The combination of new driving physics, camera and improved engine sounds seems all of a piece, with a (to me) yet unkown realism and naturalness. You will need some time to get used to the new steering, but once you adapted it, you won't want to miss it.
"Back to the roots", some guys said. The "root" is obviously quite short and has the name Most Wanted! If we will ever see a Need for Speed in the style of the pre-Underground-era is still written in the stars. But that doesn't matter, I pass the time with Undercover. ;) EA Black Box always manages to implement enough improvements in a Need for Speed game, to fully justify the purchase of the game. So in the case of Undercover. The only things I'm a bit concerned of is the quality of the multiplayer-part and the misty motivation to complete the career more often.
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