GC 2008: Need for Speed Undercover First Look

The venerable arcade racing series is going semi-old-school and we've got a hands-on look.

After the blip on the conceptual radar that was Need for Speed ProStreet, the developers at EA Black Box are taking things old-school with the upcoming Need for Speed Undercover. EA unveiled the game last week in San Francisco, and practically everything about the game--the return of police chases, the campy cinematics, the casting of screen siren Maggie Q--hearkens back to slightly older entries in the NFS series such as Carbon and Most Wanted.

The demo on hand at the game's debut featured two event types: the highway battle, and a more traditional mission that had you trying to get your car to a chop shop while avoiding the swarming police. The highway battles are new to Undercover and take place on the long highway that connects the three main areas that compose the Tri-City Bay Area: Palm Harbor, Port Crescent, and Sunset Hills, each of which will have its own distinct look and feel. The highway-battle challenge that we played pitted us against an opponent car, with the goal being to get ahead of your opponent and stay there until time runs out. What makes the highway battle challenging is the traffic that you have to avoid along the way. The controls are responsive enough to let you slip in and out of tight spots easily, but if you make the slightest mistake, you'll bash into the back of some Sunday driver and will most likely be passed by your nemesis.

Although the highway battles look set to offer plenty of high-speed fun, the other event on hand at the Undercover debut had us strap ourselves into a Porsche and try to make it to a chop shop while a host of overcaffeinated cops tried to take us down at every turn. The driving here felt more like the action in Most Wanted, right down to the slowdown mechanic that let us briefly slow down time to pull off tricky maneuvers with the press of a button. It wasn't that difficult to lose the cops after a few quick turns, and we enjoyed the return to those tense moments of Most Wanted as we hid from a nearby police car, just waiting for him to spot us and the cycle to start again. Once the heat was off, we made it to the chop shop (indicated by an icon on our minimap) and that was the end of the mission.

With a mixture of over-the-top seriousness and just a bit of camp, the storyline in Undercover looks like another in a long line of Need for Speed narrative guilty pleasures. You'll play as a cop who goes undercover to take down a crime syndicate in the only way a crime syndicate in a video game based on racing knows how to be taken down...by being beaten in races. Or something like that. Your main point of contact will be federal agent Chase Linh, played by actress Maggie Q (Live Free or Die Hard, Hainan Ji Fan, Balls of Fury), who, as it was described to us, "will get you into--and out of--trouble." Along the way, you can expect to meet a bunch of shady characters (many of whom will sport five o'clock shadows and bandanas) who will be primed to take you down as you make your way deeper into the game.

As with Most Wanted and Carbon, Undercover will be an open world that lets you travel anywhere you want in the Tri-City Bay Area, taking on challenges as you go. Beyond the highway challenge, we don't know much about the new mission types in the game, and EA wasn't willing to spill the beans on the multiplayer modes in the game. However, it won't be long before we have all of these answers, given that Need for Speed Undercover is due for release on November 18 in the US, and a couple of days later in Europe. Stay tuned for more on the game in the coming months.

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54 comments
john_russel
john_russel

nah! looks like the old ones (except pro street)

GTA4360
GTA4360

i like old skool better with the cops and all that sh*t

GTA4360
GTA4360

need for sped used to be the best racing game ever now is the worst racing game

Paulitis
Paulitis

should be good, but i would like that NFS would return to the real old school - like Hot Pursuit II or smthn.

Paulitis
Paulitis

should be good, but i would like that NFS would return to the real old school - like Hot Pursuit II or smthn.

sunsetcrakcer
sunsetcrakcer

I hope that's better than the crap that was pro street

rjoyner629
rjoyner629

Should be great, but has to have the street tuning that street racing is all about. Bring in the "noss" and the turbos, and this could be a big hit with the new Vin Diesel Fast and Furious movie coming soon.

snowme
snowme

The highway battle is old news (Extreme Tokyo Drift 2)(I think) had the same style. Will tons of enemy's. Undercover think will be cool as long it never same route and the police adapt to you. Story will only be finally good if you bring friends to it. Also need more degree of tuning.

timbjr
timbjr

I cant wait. I hope this one is even better than most wanted. And WHAT!? Same to burnout? the new burnout is AWESOME! I guess to each his own huh? lol

SuperGeekNo1
SuperGeekNo1

Well come back NFS its about time too after stupid ideas from EA they finally realised to not mess with game but improve it. If this anything like NFS:Most Wanted on the 360 then its the game to get on release day. So tell your friends spread the news cos this sound like the ultimate car game back in action. P.S Hope the do the same to Burn Out

Saurabh123
Saurabh123

i hope they do not screw it up just as a passable MW copy!

gamesbeater
gamesbeater

ive never been a fan most probably wont get the game

BelaidKL
BelaidKL

Well at least they have some sense now because pro street was horrible, really really horrible thank goodness theyve gone back to cops, free roam, racing and illegal street racing

KA12NAG3
KA12NAG3

Looking at the images, this game looks incredible. I'm glad they brought back the police and cities. Looks like a step in the right direction.

AAwiidog
AAwiidog

man im so getting for wii as long as it has free roam

greedom
greedom

Looks impressive but I am one for tuning my car in racers and I hope it's in this one as well. As for Knight0029's comment, don't bother pre-ordering it. It's a big franchise name but it's not anticipated enough to sell out anywhere I imagine. Hell, I even got the original Halo not too long after release without preordering, I just walked into Blockbuster.

knight0029
knight0029

I can't wait for this game!! Pre-Ordering this for sure!!

Gloryfinder
Gloryfinder

It sounds like the series is taking a turn back in the right direction. I look forward to more previews. This is definitely a game that I'll be watching for in November.

ace62394
ace62394

Prostreet wasn't TOO bad, thanks to its damage system, but will Undercover have free-drive mode AND a damage engine?

jdawg2519
jdawg2519

I disliked the open world venue that was underground 2, and hope that will be put to rest. I like the cops, and being one gives the feel of fast and furious 2 where paul walker goes undercover with tyrese. I just hope there arent to many real cut scenes, and if there are i hope they are rendered like the ones in most wanted; where they are seen as actually shadowed into the game

Blaiyze1
Blaiyze1

Yea this looks like its going to be a great game... going back to the games roots, fact is ever since hot pursuit 2 i've never LOVED a NFS game but this sounds damn good... and i hope it looks good (any actual in game shots?). Lol problem is its EA and they love to really throw a good amount of cheesiness into a game i hope the whole "undercover" thing wont wreck the core gameplay.

5hortm4n
5hortm4n

WOW. i seriously cant wait for this one. like demon my fave is most wanted and this looks like it will be a bit like it. I hope they have a day and night cycle. Doesn't look like they will though

-Demon01-
-Demon01-

I've played NFS since I was little. Since The original NFS. But being a long time fan and having played them all, I'll definitely be all over this one. Most wanted was my favorite because it brought back the cops and the tuning was rewarding for the most part. So needless to say, this one has a lot of appeal for me.

dark_being
dark_being

Maybe this will be the NFS game for me

NoseWeed619
NoseWeed619

I've gotton all the other Need for Speed games, so I think that i'll defiently get this one...

happy666
happy666

for me nfs i just liked to see what cars i could do what too i loved createing such beautiful looking cars they killed it with pro street but the some of the cars in it were wicked!! tbh i wanna see lotsss more customisation say inside and outside likk underground 2 but better for me they have lots of good things in in loads of diffrent games i want them to bring then all toether more cars!!! more options !!!! more everything !!does anyone eles wanna see and underground 3?? i doo like neons neons defo bring em back they wont be in this game im geussin but hopefull next time they will not just underneath the car eithe inside and behide the grill neon tail pipesand tht head like changeable colours and nitro purge love dat tht could be a good way from gettin away from pigs!!! anyone agree and sound systems and defo chacter custommiseation i know this wont be the my dream nfs but their gettin there hopefullY!!!

Jimmik-N
Jimmik-N

'NinjaMunkey101' is right. They get something right, but then lose something else. EA etc seem to have got a bit of everything we want spread out across different NFS games, maybe this time around, they'll combine the stuff we want and get the formula right. I got rid of Forza to get ProStreet and regretting it within hours. NFSU2 was great, but it was always night time, and Most Wanted was near enough the same, but at day. Combine them!! Back me up here.. We Want: Good graphics, realistic physics (but not so real that it feels slow), LOADS of customisation options, for the players (not just the cars), cops, free roam, day and night, sun and rain, a good story... WE WANT A TRUE NEED FOR SPEED!

NinjaMunkey01
NinjaMunkey01

I hope its good NFS2 was cool as you could customise your car to the high heavens. The neon thing was cool. Then most wanted came out but whilst it was good with cop chases it had less car customisation. It seems that whenver they get something right, they also get something wrong so we will have to wait and see with this one...

Pete5506
Pete5506

I hope this game better then all the other bad NFS games

KillswitchJim
KillswitchJim

ALL I CAN SAY IS ITS ABOUT TIME THEY GET BACK TO DOING WHAT THEY DO BEST,CAUSE NFS PROSTREET SUCKT!!!! I HAVENT EVEN FINISH THE GAME,AND I JUST WANT TO GET RID OF IT!!!!

striker_097
striker_097

Jimmik-K is right in my opinion, underground 2 had the best customization, and prob the best one for me was underground 2 so yeah...

Jimmik-N
Jimmik-N

Cheers 'rockypuff'. I think this game's gonna be best NFS. Yeah people will say that cos it's the newest, but that's not why I'm sayin it. Age doesn't matter when a good game is out. This has cops, free roam, and a storyline, as well as some cool cut-scenes judging from the trailer. Let's hope driving is good, I've found acceleration to be either too slow in racing games, or stupidly fast. Having damage isn't a big deal for me, although it would add to the game. Looking at the cars too, Audi A3, Evo X (10), and Porsche, not bad, the usual sports cars. Hopefully it will be set like this, yeah it's nice to drive around in a lambourghini or '67 mustang, but doesn't keep with the same setting, if you know what i mean. I have a lot to say about NFS, I've loved playing them since NFS Underground 1, but I've gotta be honest, ProStreet didn't stay in my collection long, it just lacked the "need for speed" that it claimed to have.

rockypuff
rockypuff

Yeah I agree with you Jimmik-N, Prostreet was probally my favorite newer Need for Speed Game, Carbon was alright but I didn't like Prostreet at all, they could of added alot to that game, this game looks alright, I won't buy it till I rent it...

EPaul
EPaul

I want to see Gameplay

Jimmik-N
Jimmik-N

I think EA might be closer to hitting the right formula I want, as well as many others. Most Wanted was pretty great, Carbon was too, but sucked that you couldn't free ride in the canyon, ProStreet... well that pretty sucked really, the damage was cool, and the racing physics seemed improved, and a lot more realistic (not close to forza style simulation, but better than before). But what was with the main character wearing a helmet 24/7!?!? With this game I'd like to see a storyline (which is seems to have), better race physics (so keep ProStreet, maybe bit faster), the free roam... CHECK, and introduce a customisable main character! Oh yeah, who could forget about the fuzz :D

Tjeremiah1988
Tjeremiah1988

cant wait. Doesnt sound like EA can go wrong. Game looks great (yes images are in game), good story, and UG/MW/Carbon mix to it.

poseidion
poseidion

Didn't liked Most Wanted, didn't liked Carbon, didn't liked ProStreet, and as things look now, I probably won't like Undercover neither. I miss Hot Pursuit 2 and Underground

metalkid9
metalkid9

I wanna see some pics and videos of it

metalkid9
metalkid9

I wanna see some pics and videos of it

Pilch_R_eD
Pilch_R_eD

@ The_InJimid8tor IMO the police chase difficulty in MW was just right, to me the chases in carbon where pathetic, no challenge what so ever. Seems to me that anything with police is getting easier, especially when I look at GTA, dang, GTA IV's police are puppies, yesterday i started a game of vice city for the hell of it, and MAN, was it a shock to the system, those cops are crazy comparatively to GTA IV and SA, ones in SA are harder than IV tho. Still, back to NFS, Im really very interested in seing more about this one, sounds like it has allot of potential, most people I hear say that most wanted and carbon where the last two good games, I thought carbon was crap, and, as ive said once before, I dont think prostreet was a good NFS game, but for the game type they did make, I thought it was pretty good quality, did have its flaws tho. Anyways, cut a long story short, I disagree with your police difficulty statement, if anything, I think they should become a smidge harder then the ones in MW.

Blank2k2
Blank2k2

Sounds like the NFS Games i loved are back & the corny cheap knock off ones (luckily ive managed to avoid wasting my money on) are gone :) Cant wait for undercover, Most Wanted is still a quality game to this day like most racers which seem to date themselves out of the market after a year or 2.

twistarhymes48
twistarhymes48

meh Most Wanted and Carbon were crappy games cause of the cops Pro Street was they need to make the game more like Underground 2 which so far has been the best NFS game

AranJatt
AranJatt

i quite liked MW and Carbon, but prostreet i was all hyped up about the game until i played it. will be kinda p***ed off if they take it bake to the 'ROOTS' but just leave it there with nothing more interesting

ahmedbilal1993
ahmedbilal1993

I am so glad that the intense cop chases are back. Lolz. I m really glad.

jdawg2519
jdawg2519

Should be interesting, although I was seriously dissapointed with pro street, and almost lost interest in the series, but im still a major fan of this genre. I will await its arrival by playing grid, the only race game good enough to fit the street genre out on the market.

onuruca
onuruca

sounds great but i want a gameplay video!

The_InJimid8tor
The_InJimid8tor

Hmmm... I don't know,Sounds more like NFS:MW2 with Undergrounds Outrun with cops added in to me. Most Wanted was ok but the cops were a bit to Over aggresive with there Rhino SUV's and instant reverse and on your bumper in 1.2 seconds. Carbons was a little better in that respect. Carbons city was boring and everything seemed small and game to short. But this still isn't taking the NFS series back far enough for me to there "ROOTS" so to say. High Stakes and Hot Pursuit 2 were more of what i was thinking of going back to there roots with an open world added in. Were still stuck in the city from the sounds of it. Maybe it will have night and day like Midnight Club Los Angeles? Oh I forgot this is EA, It's one or the other. They cannot do both it's to hard. I'll just have to see and read more about it. Not getting my hopes up. But Rockstars MC:L.A. looks & sounds more interesting.

Jackyll87
Jackyll87

Does anyone have any idea if this is going to take place at night or in daylight. I want an underground look with the most wanted gameplay features

bawathegamer
bawathegamer

Why did Most Wanted not get a sequel? Did it have bad sales or somthing? I really loved that game,and hotpursuit 2 and POrsche unleashed.Didnt like the underground games too much and carbon felt like a cheap expansion pack. Most wanted was just right.Cop chases,after 2 games in a row it was good to get one that was in daylight, and it had a quite enthralling singleplayer campaign. I liked the whole black list and the requirements to fill before racing each driver. Pure fun.The entire game felt like a bad*** Michael Bay film.Corny,but really really fun. Seems like theyre using some mechanics from Most Wanted in this game.Hmm,im intrigued already. I read the whole article.Did they mention if its going to be daytime or night?