Need for Speed: Undercover Preview
FOREWORD: You may have noticed that we didn't cover any EA game during this past E3. That was all with good reason. You see, EA invited us to their New York City showcase at the W Hotel, and so we chose to save the best for last. At EA's "Holidays in July" event, we were able to go hands-on with all of the games present at E3, in addition to two that weren't.
A whole month has passed, and the embargo has finally been lifted on Need for Speed: Undercover. It was the one game we weren't allowed to talk about up until today, when EA made their formal announcement at the Leipzig Games Convention in Germany. We got a chance to sit down and play a build of Undercover and we can say that fans of Most Wanted, often held as the best of the open-world NFS games, will love Undercover.
No more is the setting limited to just a nocturnal atmosphere, as Undercover takes place during the daytime, but this time in a city that's reminiscent of Burnout. The world is enormous and very well done, boasting 80 miles worth of road, on top of having individual cities separated by highways. And these highways will be home to the game's highway battles, a tribute to racing games such as Tokyo Xtreme Racer, and many others.
Canyons will still exist in the world of Undercover, as will Canyon Battles, which I personally enjoyed quite a bit in NFS: Carbon. In addition to the excitement of highway battles and canyon races will, obviously, be the return of cops, as the game's name indicates. With the return of cops comes a new game engine that EA has dubbed the Heroic Driving Engine, which will allow the gamer to perform epic high-speed maneuvers while traveling at breakneck speeds approaching 200MPH. High-speed maneuvers include dodging cops, pulling off 180-degree turns, and much more.
Black Box has gone and implemented the game's artificial intelligence with some aggressive moods, as the cops will have climbing levels of relentless when they try to take you down. But on your side is a host of cars ranging from tuners, to sports cars, to exotics. Expect monsters such as the all wheel drive Audi RS4, the BMW M6, Lexus IS-F, Nissan GT-R, Lamborghinis, and Porsches to make an appearance, in addition to a slew of other Need for Speed classics such as the Audi R8, 350Z, BMW E92 M3, Lancer Evolution IX and X, Mustang GT, RX-7, and others.
The story will unravel similar to that of past Need for Speed games, featuring a mixture of CG and live-action movies to keep the pace going. The game build we played was early, but it was coming along quite well and the controls were very tight. A fantastic damage system also exists, one that is actually better than the one found in ProStreet last year.
Look for Need for Speed Undercover to launch November 21st.
8/21/2008 Arnold Katayev