NFS Undercover Hands-On

The new 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. Read here about what you can expect in Need for Speed Undercover:

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Story / Career:

As the name “Need for Speed Undercover” already points out: you are an Undercover-Agent. You have to get into the crime scene, get acknowledged to infiltrate the crime syndicate. This also means you have to participate in races, doing jobs and evade the cops as well.

This works quite well, since it's a simple story, but I would've liked to see more of the story. I could play the game for around 4-6 hours, so I can't say whether the story will become more intense. Some sequences of cops talking, some challenges from other rivals but I never really felt being “in” the story. More like driving from race to race, with hardly any motivation behind it. Apart from that, the sequences are quite nice. You can see that EA put a lot of effort in it and the style fits the game.
The career mode consists of around 200 events, but you don't have to finish all of them to complete the game. Finishing the career will take you ~12 hours, but for 100% you might need 25 hours.


EA did a really good job, regarding the graphics of NFS Undercover. The cars have an amazing amount of detail and together with the damage model this makes a very good impression. You can see the reflections and almost everylittle detail of the car. Of course, this concerns mostly the gamer's car, but also the Cops and Traffic-Cars are looking very good. It's fun crashing into cops and traffic, as you can see deforming and splattering the cars and pieces flying around.
The tracks are quite detailed as well, as far as it is possible. They are wet or dusty, you can see cracks in the street and you have many objects on the side of the road like city lights, benches etc. The trees and plants unfortunately still look quite unfinished, but you won't really notice once you go down a street with 200 km/h. ;)

The sense of speed in Undercover is really amazing, you can really feel the car going faster and faster. EA didn't exaggerate this time with the motion blur. It's just slightly visible on the corners of the screen, where it doesn't distract you, but gives you a great feeling of speed. This comes noticeable especially at the Highway Battle mode. Please note that I only played the Xbox360 and Playstation 3 Version of NFS Undercover, so unfortunately I can't say anything about the PC, PS2 or handheld versions.

Damage model:

The damage model is quite similar to the one in ProStreet. Your car can get damaged, as well as the cop cars and traffic cars. The only difference is, that your car can take more than the cops or traffic cars. You can survive worst collisions, while all other involved cars are broken. There are quite some objects on the streets (lights, benches, containers), but if you hit them, almost nothing happens to your car. On the other hand, if you crash into a truck or bus, you can be sure that your race is over. ;)
The damage doesn't go too far, so you won't see any exploding cars and it's quite hard to make your car's parts falling off. So it can happen, that you drive with an open hood or trunk for quite some time, which seems a little bit unrealistic.
If you crash your car, the damage doesn't affect the performance. Some may think this is good, some may think this is bad. In my opinion I would've liked to see that the car also gets slower or harder to steer when I had some bad collisions. On the other hand, this would require a little bit different gameplay, as you're crashing with the cops quite often. You would have to avoid road blocks instead driving through them. ;)
Another thing is the repairing of cars: there isn't any! Once you finish a race or evade the cops, your car repairs itself and is as good as new. In my opinion this is a little irritating, since this just encourages reckless driving and you won't get punished at all for your driving style. Even when you're totaled this doesn't have any effect on your car, besides losing the race. Damage is really just for visual reasons (leaving the missions and takedown modes aside ;)).

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- Shocker

You can discuss about NFS Undercover in our boards:

- Discussion Board

Further Material:

- Screenshots
- Movies
- Wallpapers

Apart from out Hands-On article there are also previews of NFS Undercover from other fansites, who attended the community event at EA Black Box as well. To get more opinions about the game, we'd suggest to take a look at these articles:

- NFS Undercover Preview @ NFSUnlimited
- NFS Undercover Preview @ NFSCars
- NFS Undercover Preview @ Boards

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