Support Jon, click to buy via us...
The original Need for Speed was an old favourite for me, bringing proper police chases to the gaming world in a groundbreaking way. It was exciting to play and highly addictive to repeatedly escape the boys in blue. Then the game went a bit soft with the follow-up (Need for Speed: Pro Street 360 and the like) so I gave it a miss. This new version promises something of the original which helped it gain the edge over the competition then, but will it work in the highly competitive race game market today? Let's find out.
Instantly, I am impressed with the slick way you are thrown into the game. No messing around with menus and setup screens. It's straight into the middle of the action in a performance vehicle with a job to do.
Soon afterward the storyline continues through well produced movie interludes, very much in the style of the fast and the furious films. I fact very very similar. Japanese turbo cars and American muscle cars battle it out in high speed races. Most are relatively easy to begin with and have the nice touch of being able to 'dominate' as well as just win, which gives a little extra challenge when you are beating the computer generated competition fairly easily.
The cars drift with a little flick of the handbrake to encourage the back end out.
As the story develops you start to get tougher challenges, races and police escapes to work at. Which brings me to the police chases. In my humble opinion there is nothing more exhilarating than escaping from the Police. I hasten to add I have never actually done it real life, but in this virtual world of gameplay it is certainly one of my all time favourite occupations.
I soon find myself forgetting all about the storyline and just driving around looking for police cars which, once you have smashed up a couple of bus shelters, will begin the chase. The chase starts with one or two regular cop cars but if you stick around long enough the state troopers will up the anti and call for back up in the shape of Porsche 911's and helicopters.
The cars drift with a little flick of the handbrake to encourage the back end out, and once you have mastered that you'll be flying around the vast scenery looking for lamposts to knock down and logpiles to tip over in the path of unsuspecting patrol cars. There are plenty of jumps to find together with a great mix of fast freeways full of commuter traffic and town sections with a variety of things to crash into and hide behind. As soon as I had evaded the chase I went back for more, but each time trying to encourage more and more cops, just to see how many I could get away from. It's great fun and highly addictive. One word of warning though. If you get caught three times then you lose your ride, so don't get caught!
successfully manages to bring back the spark that made me love the original so much.
After a while I returned to the story which starts to pick up pace a little, resembling an episode of 24 with all the twists and turns in the plot line. Good fun though and interesting enough to keep you guessing who's who and what'll happen next. The way the game progresses without the need for an overload of menus is fantastic and really helps you absorb yourself into the game. There are not that many games which keep me playing for whole evening non-stop, but I loved every minute of this and can't wait to get it completed.
I am pleased to conclude that Need for Speed: Undercover successfully manages to bring back the spark that made me love the original so much. Not only capturing the elements that worked but cleverly bringing them into a current context. This game had me hooked from the very beginning and has proved to be an absolute winner.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: