Need for Speed: Undercover
Need for Speed: Undercover is a racing video game, the twelfth installment of the Need for Speed series. It was released worldwide in November 2008.
Why It Sucks
Next-gen consoles and PC (Black Box version)
- Unusual difficulty spike; you start with ridiculously easy gameplay, then it ends with a nonsensical difficulty where everyone outruns you, even if you use your NOS to get a boost, the AI gets faster and faster until their cars crash. It also gets worse in the patched versions where they are buffed to oblivion!
- Speaking of the AI mentioned above, the cops seem to be weaker than in previous games such as Most Wanted (2005).
- Terrible lighting effects, thanks to the overused bloom effect and the game world being coated in yellow.
- Weak story with a number of clichés.
- Repetitive game-play: the pursuit events involve taking down a number of police vehicles along with the additional cruiser that spawns every 60 seconds. It quickly gets old, and is a backwards step from the Milestones in Most Wanted (2005).
- Due to improper physics implementation, driving through incline doesn't feel any different from driving on flat surface, if you use the brakes the car stops very quickly, handling is very floaty and there's no proper weight implementation for any of the cars, meaning you can take down a SUV very easily with a Lotus Elise 111R!
- The patched PC port suffers from random frame drops, even on a powerful machine. (You can partly fix it using the Task Manager in the Information tab by telling it to not use CPU 0.)
- Cheesy, underwhelming and untalented voice acting, even from Maggie Q.
- Underwhelming landscape. Tri-City Bay, which is based on Miami in Florida, is just a small city (Palm Harbor, Gold Coast Mountains, Port Crescent and Sunset Hills), not a big city compared to Palmont (from Carbon) which was a very large-scale city. Speaking of Palm Harbor, this borough is just an empty shell of an island but in city form.
- The PSP port is nothing but a reskin of previous games and it reuses portions from Most Wanted (2005)'s Rockport City and Carbon's Palmont City. The same applies to the PS2 and Wii ports, albeit being slightly better but still far from perfect.
- Some cars are quite overpowered such as the Nissan 370Z (Z34) (which was over-advertised in some of the trailers), as the latter can compete with Tier 1 cars including the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 and McLaren F1!
- Most of the all-wheel drive cars accelerate poorly when fully upgraded, especially the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR, Audi S5 and even the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 (the Gallardo because of its upgraded drivetrain and tires being worse than the stock versions, as the car uses wrong "differential" values for both stock and upgraded versions).
- Due to the afromentioned racer and police AI, the job missions are rather easy to complete.
- The PlayStation 3 version suffers from framerate drops, especially when activating a Pursuit Breaker.
- Certain cars (eg. Nissan 350Z (Z33), Chrysler 300C SRT-8, Subaru Impreza WRX STI (GDB-F)) were cut due to time constraints, as EA split Black Box into three teams, (one to develop Undercover, another to develop ProStreet (which EA needed to also make a filler game for 2007), and one to develop the Skate series) which caused problems for development and likely lead to certain cars having to be left out due to the development time. In other words, NFS Undercover was rushed. This is also covered by the fact of EA wanting a yearly Need for Speed game to be released every November and a lot of early concepts that didn't make it into the final game.
- Some cars can only be driven if the player has the Collector's Edition of the game, which is unpurchasable for PC players due to changes on Need for Speed's official website.
- They can attain these cars on that game platform by falsifying or removing those cars' IsCollectorEdition field via NFS-VLTEd. Also, these cars have hidden prices and unlock conditions, which are removed when the Collector's Edition is bought.
- It is just a reskin of Need for Speed: Carbon's PS2/Wii version.
- Rubberband AI is significantly worse than the next-gen version and even Need for Speed: Underground.
- Similar to PS3 version, this version suffers from framerate issues.
- It returns to the illegal street racing formula that ProStreet lacked.
- At least it is open world, unlike The Run. And even better, all boroughs are always accessible at the very beginning.
- Expanded customization, featuring the improved Autosculpt.
- However, due to the development time, window tinting, roof scoops, and O.Z. Racing rims due to licensing issues, were cut, being replaced by rims from Arelli and Savini.
- Good graphics, unfortunately it is damaged by the yellow filter, broken LOD (level of detail) and overused bloom effect (which can of course all be fixed via modding).
- The sound design and damage models are pretty good, despite a portion of them being recycled from ProStreet (such as the nitrous firing sound excluding the other versions like the PS2 and Wii ports).
- Very good licensed soundtrack such as Nine Inch Nails' "The Mark Has Been Made" and Pendulum's "The Tempest".
- At least there are pink slips in which you'll be able to obtain a car of your choice at no charge (PS3, X360 and PC versions). Unfortunately, the pink slips are just stock versions of the opponents' cars, and the fourth pink slip offer gives out only Tier 2 (high level) stock cars, instead of the Tier 1 cars you stole for G-Mac.
- However, a mod exists to improve the pink slips by replacing the stock cars with the pre-tuned variants.
- The PS2 and Wii versions are better than the other versions, despite suffering from the issues listed above.
- Great original soundtrack by Paul Haslinger such as the pursuit music, which was also reused in the late World.
- There are fan mods exist to improve the handling and graphics in order to make the game more enjoyable, such as Project Overhaul, which improves the game's graphics a good bit as well the time cycles and skydomes.
Need For Speed: Undercover got mixed-to-negative reviews. The game has Metacritic score of 65 for the PC, 64 for the Xbox 360 and 59 for PlayStation 3 versions. Many fans of the series, till this day, consider it to be the worst Need For Speed game ever made and truly started the downfall of the franchise. Many other lackluster entries soon followed with Most Wanted (2012) and 2015. The game also KuruHS' (a Twitch streamer known for NFS Most Wanted (2005) speedruns) one of the most hated NFS games.