Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Going Undercover....

I recently completed the video game 'Need for Speed Undercover', the latest member of the popular NFS series by EA Games. The game was so exciting and thrilling that I had to blog about it.

I have been a big fan of the NFS series since NFS 2. I really liked NFS Underground, NFS Underground 2 and NFS Most Wanted. NFS Underground was the first game in the NFS series to have a base storyline. Underground 2 and Most Wanted took the NFS series to a whole new level by making the storyline even more exciting and adding more features to the game. However I was a bit disappointed when NFS Carbon came out. It certainly did not live up to the hype and I found the game rather short and less challenging compared to its predecessors. Things got even worse when they released NFS Pro Street. To me Pro Street is the most unsuccessful game in the whole series. The whole point of playing a racing game on your PC or PS3 is to drive extremely fast and crash into things (which is something you cannot do in the real world without hurting someone or getting brain damage). But Pro Street does not allow the player to do that since going fast and crashing into objects would cause your car to get totaled and immobilized. Also fixing damaged cars will consume large sums of money the player has earned in the career mode of the game. And the biggest problem I had with NFS Pro Street was that it took the game back to the world of professional racing on closed racing circuits. For somebody who liked the virtual street racing experience offered by NFS Underground and NFS Most Wanted getting used to racing on closed tracks is almost like getting tortured.

However it seems the folks at EA have learned their lesson from the feedback they got from the fans for the NFS Pro Street. With NFS Undercover they have taken the action back into the open streets. Player gets to ride in a virtual city in some of the finest auto mobiles of the world. Couple of cars worth mentioning are Bugatti Veryon and the McLaren F1 which was last available in NFS 6. Cars are categorized into three, namely Japanese, European and American (see complete car list). However NFS Carbon fans will realize that these three categories effectively map to the three car categories in NFS Carbon (tuners, exotics, and muscles). The city has plenty of wide open roads where the player can really push the cars into their limits. Most of the tracks enable the player to accelerate the car to its top speed and hold that velocity.

Another aspect of the game I liked most was the soundtracks. Predecessors of NFS Undercover had mostly hard rock and technical death metal oriented sound tracks. But Undercover brings you a little bit of pop, a little bit of Latin and even a little bit of Spanish in addition to the rock stuff.

The underlying story of the game is perhaps the most interesting feature. In the previous versions of NFS the storyline was simple and very much predictable. In those games there is some kind of a bad ass, champion racer who bosses the other racers in the town (for example Razor in Most Wanted and Darius in Carbon). The player enters the world of racing as an amateur and starts to work his way up to become the new racing king of the town. In the process the player will have to confront many other racers, companions of the existing champion and sometimes even the police. But NFS Undercover brings you a totally different storyline. The story is full of action, suspense and even a bit of romance. The storyline clearly has some traces of 'Gone in 60 Seconds', 'Fast and the Furious' and 'CSI Miami'. Also the game enables the player to play the roles of the street racer, gang member, car thief as well as the federal agent.

The game is pretty fast paced and action packed. Graphics and the related effects are so natural and realistic. It's everything the racing gamers ever dreamed of. If you are like me and if you haven't played Undercover yet then go for it. It's totally worth it. Well done EA. You guys rock!

Also don't forget to check out NFS Planet for some cool Undercover wallpapers and movies.

You are not good
and you are not bad.
You blend and you listen
and you don't trust anyone.
Once you go undercover
you are on your own.

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