Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Need for Speed Undercover

Developer: EA Black Box
Publisher: EA
Release Date: Nov. 18, 2008
Systems: Xbox 360 (reviewed), Wii, PS3, PS2, PSP, DS, PC, Mobile, N-Gage, iPhone/iPod Touch
ESRB Rating: E10+
Official Web site

In a nutshell: "I race this lonely road, the only one that I have ever known..."

0:00 I've managed to somehow avoid playing the Need for Speed series for the past 26 years, but I have some friends who really got into it. I'm a fan of arcade racers, so I really don't know why I waited so long...

0:01 A short downloadable update precedes a disclaimer: "Pull these moves within the safety of your house ONLY." Um, I don't think Mom will let me take the car into the house...

0:02 "You're not good ... and you're not bad," says a ghostly message on the loading screen. What the hell? Then, a cut scene: "This place has changed. These guys and their cars. No regard for anyone. It's time to put a stop to what's going on around here." Generic thumping techno plays over a moving helicopter shot over the ocean. It's a police chopper with a coastal skyline coming into view behind the credits. The choppers join in a five-car police pursuit of a red car with "ND 4 SPD" on the license plate. Subtle! The camera pans behind the car and ... oh shit, I'm driving already? I was not ready for that!

0:03 As I travel down the near-deserted three-lane highway, my fines rack up -- $250 for speeding, $100 for a hit-and-run, etc. I get separate points for near-misses and property destruction. Reminds me a bit of Crazy Taxi, which is definitely a good thing.

0:05 I run headlong into the back of a slow-moving truck, allowing the police to bump me into the side barrier. "Busted!" Well, that was fast. The SWAT team jumps out the choppers and is on top of me in a second. "FAIL! Weave through traffic to avoid the copes. Plow through any roadblocks to send the cops flying." Good advice!



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