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Do we need yet another Need for Speed: Underground game? While I enjoy them, they are getting a bit long in the tooth now, and although Rivals in many ways sticks to the series' conventions, it is still oddly addictive due to the comprehensive ability to fine-tune and augment your car.
Indeed, if you've played the other NFS:U games, you've played this; it is inspired a lot by the Fast and the Furious films, taking that film's best element - the customisation - and allowing you to adjust virtually every aspect of your vehicle, making this game particularly attractive to petrolheads. Alongside that, you're got the usual Drift and Drag race modes that add a little flavour even if they haven't really been enhanced much here. Given how we've seen most of this before, I did find myself fairly bored with it after a few hours, and couldn't find that much replay value in it. If you're an ardent fan, though, you might get more out of it through your own obsessiveness.
Visually, this is a pretty good looking game for a PSP title; the environments look stellar and the vehicular models do the job nicely (although the fact that most of the game is at night makes this easier). Particularly praise-worthy is the lighting effects, which are very realistic and add to the atmosphere. Aurally, the game will surely please its fanbase, with plenty of rock and rap tunes blaring out, and the car sounds are also very beefy sounding, with different cars making distinctly different noises.
Is this a great game? No. But it's great looking and is entertaining in shorts bursts, although it's too much of a retread to be truly engaging.
I bought this game from america for around $50 when the psp first came out and I found it amazing. The price was a small amount to pay when you weigh it up with the amount of addictive fun you will have racing and customising cars.
First of all the graphics are amazing, ok they dont look real life, but thats fine because they complement the game and are exceptional for a psp.
The game gives you the chance to race for points in which you can use to either cusomise your car or buy others (there are 24 cars to collect and customise).
As you play there are a selection of rap and rock songs to listen to, which add a sense of adreanalin to your gaming experience.
There are four game modes:
quick play battle(drag racing, nitrous run, circuit race and drifting)
pocket garage(work on your cars)
Multiplayer mode enables you to play against friends who have the game on another psp.
~ So how about it? ~
Okay I love computer games, but I'm not an avid player like some people. But recently and completely out of the blue I was given a second hand PSP, and included was the game Need for Speed, Underground Rivals.
Now I had heard of this game, but never played it before so was intrigued about it and since I quite enjoy driving games on the PS2 we have thought it would be fun to have a go with this one.
The result is a review on here.
~ First thoughts and on loading ~
It is easy enough to get out of the cover and load onto the PSP.
We had another game with the PSP, and I admit on loading this one does take fractionally longer. I don't have other games to compare it to at the moment, so I don't know how indicative it is of the PSP, or this game. However, I'm generally not someone who gets overly impatient over these sorts of things, but I can imagine some gamers would easily lose patience because it doesn't load in mere milliseconds.
I personally don't think the load speed is overly bad, but I know some people would.
The game information that comes up is easy to follow instinctively even if you haven't spent any time reading the booklet (and lets face it, not many people I know do bother with the booklet to begin with and charge right into a game). This is a point in its favour, since there is no real frustration trying to work out what happens next! And there are screens that come up with tips and hints as you go along as well, which help.
Basically I would say the learning curve for this game is less than 30 minutes for the average user who has never used the game before, and less than 15 minutes for an experienced gamer.
~ And so onto the game ~
The game has two main focal points. The first is where you can simply race against other cars in randomly picked out cars that are "tricked" out to the hilt. This also has a custom race section where you can race tracks of choice, levels of difficulty, number of laps (from 3 to 10) and even if you want to do the course the main way around (forwards) or use the reverse route.
This is an excellent way of getting used to the different locations of the game for the next main focal point which is your own racing using a car bought in the garage in either a circuit race situation or quick rival races.
~ The Pocket Garage ~
So, you don't want to simply bound around different courses on random cars - so you go to the Pocket Garage area. This allows you to begin with the purchase of a car ( a small selection with some points awarded to you initially) which you can then begin to race with. Once a car purchase is made, you can also then begin to unlock different areas of the garage to buy part upgrades for the car. You are also then in a position to buy more than one car as you gain points, which will help you later when different cars are better suited for different environments.
You have up to 10 different categories of upgrades, including Nitrous, turbo, engine, drivetrain, chassis, and suspension. These upgrades are kept pretty simple, but effective.
The performance upgrades you have are automatically applied to the level you are on for any new car purchased, however you have to add them manually to each car that you already have as you go along. This is a small downside, because it takes time away from the gaming. I would prefer to have the upgrades automatically applied regardless. But a minor gripe.
You can also visually upgrade the cars for free, so while they don't affect the performance of the cars, you can have some fun messing about with various looks. Again, the more you win, the more you get to play around with in the visual department.
~ Circuit racing and Rival races ~
As mentioned, if you want to purchase your own car (and ultimately this is where NFS Underground Rivals comes into its own and the whole basis for the game), then you can do it one of two main ways.
The first is in a series of Circuit races. You have different levels of expertise, and you then get given three main options to race.
The first is a standard circuit lap race. First one over the finishing line wins.
Then you can have a go in Knock Out. This is much the same as the circuit races only for each lap; the last person to cross the line is knocked out. This means you have to cross in first place on the last lap to win.
Finally you can race when you have two cars purchased in the Rally event. This is simply one lap for each car (so total of 2 laps), first across the finish line wins.
In this section you can also race car against car type (as long as you have it available in your Pocket Garage). In other words, you can race the VW Golf against other VW Golf cars. This is another way to help build up not only points but getting used to the handling of different cars under racing conditions.
You can also now have a go in the Rival races. These have 4 main sections.
Street Cross - This is a circuit rather than a street environment (unlike the other main races). You start with a simple lap with only basic cornering, and it progresses into more complex circuits and lap lengths.
Drift Cross - again this takes place in a controlled environment (like a big warehouse), and the aim of the game is to drift the car into certain zones around a course, gathering points as you go. The level of points needed is shown before each section.
Nitrous Run - You need to ensure you purchase the most basic of Nitrous add on's in the pocket garage before trying this. You have to make your way through a number of gates, using your nitrous to boost speed. The clock is running down between gates, and both the clock and nitrous are given boosts as you pass each gate. Time runs out before you get to the next gate - game over!
Drag Racing - Again you need nitrous to attempt this section. The premise is easy enough, you have to drag race one of your own cars against others in various places, from a straight run (avoiding the obstacle of an aeroplane as you go) through to some of the streets seen in other races sections.
As you go through all the different sections, you win medals and also trophies, but more importantly is you can win points to build up and spend in the Pocket garage, as well as some driver points which help improve your driving ability.
Some gold medals and cup levels also unlock bonus features. This can be anything from Visual upgrades, through to 4 cars being unlocked.
More events being won also means you unlock more cars for purchase in the Pocket Garage, but more cars means more expense to buy them!
Each car comes with its own feel and ability on certain levels. My main complaint is you don't get given an idea of what differences might be until after you have purchased a car - so increase in price doesn't always mean better value in terms of the cars abilities for you. That can be frustrating when you've just spent hard earned points - only to discover the car you purchase doesn't in fact help you or improve over what you've already got. Nor do you get options to 'sell' the cars again. The sell option isn't really a problem, but not being able to compare like for like on the cars before purchase is my biggest complaint about the whole game.
~ The landscape and overall game feel ~
The racing primarily takes place in street settings. The cars themselves don't stand out a great deal, but then again on a handheld system you can't expect too much. However, the details of the surrounding environment are excellent and pretty detailed in some instances. This helps make up for the lack of look to the cars in their racing environment.
The best aspect of the game though is the feeling of speed it can generate as you play the games. This is particularly noticeable as you progress through and build up your car's ability and its what makes the game work so well. I've not experienced any real problems with frame freezing or below par performance from the game as you race, so I have to give it full marks on that score. It's been seamless in all racing I've encountered, even at full on nitrous runs, which really push it to a blur!
I've played this game with others, using the ability to play with up to 4 people, just passing the PSP from each driver to the next.
This does restrict some of the game play available to you, and can be time consuming as you have to pass the PSP around but it was still good fun to play against others.
I know there is also a wireless ability for allowing 2 players to play on different PSP systems, but for now I've not used this so can't comment on its usefulness nor rate it.
Music and background sounds are pretty good, but there is one thing which drives me nuts (no pun intended)...... And that is if you are listening to tracks, even if you've got the music turned down, a small window pops up with each new track giving you information about it.
But this pop up is also right across where you are given either a map of the course you are on (and boy if you don't know a course very well, you need this to guide you and show what corners are where). It also obscures the points total you have when you are in Pocket Garage mode.
Now the pop up doesn't stay there through an entire track, but even for the short time it appears its quite frankly bloody frustrating! Again, a design fault in my opinion.
~ Summary ~
Whoever decided not to show the differences in cars you want to buy in the Pocket Garage, plus the pop up for the new music track are both just annoying enough for me to peg this down to 4 starts instead of 5. It's a real shame because overall this is a fantastically addictive game overall, and I hate that its being marked down for 2 areas which I just wonder could have been easily sorted before release.
But the beauty of this game is the focus of getting through races on so many different levels to gain points and progress from there. Its pure fast driving fun!
Since I can't compare to any of its rivals or even its own versions available on other systems I don't know what differences might be there, but I do know I love this particular version and because of that I'm now looking to get this either on PS2 or for the PC.
I don't know of how many cheats are available online, but to be honest I would hate to use any on this game because it would take away its appeal for me.
I love that you can generally play whatever takes your fancy in the different sections and that it doesn't follow too strict a format, opening up more as you improve. This means if you begin to get really frustrated on a particular area or level, you can move onto something else and then eventually come back to it and try again. Its this, which really sets it apart from other driving games I've tried, and one reason I enjoy this one so much - it keeps it fresh virtually each time you pick up the PSP to play it.
A great game I have come back to again and again. It takes an age to complete all sections, and by then you're ready to start afresh and try out slightly different methods and cars to get points quicker than the last time.
A game with plenty of longevity when playing, great overall environmental graphics, and a format which is just flexible enough to keep your interest when its all going pear shaped in a particular area.
No, no, no, no!EA have killed one of the greatest car games. Need for speed is a great franchise but i'm sorry to say that this has fallen well far from the EA tree. Known for its ease of use and wide selection of mod upgrades this has failed miserably and should be removed from shelves worldwide. The game paly is dismal and has lags which is a no no while travelling at 200 miles per hour, the choice of 4 race events is appauling. I say to anyone out there do not buy. this product is no good and will provide u with only misery and heartache. I recomend u steer clear of it ! ! ! Over all the psp has not yet produced an excellent car game and i'm becoming impatient ! ! ! I strongly advise against the buying of this game but its up to you...