As a wheelman pretending to be a bad guy, this has several effects on the gameplay. Most importantly, it means the cops are back (and reportedly with smarter AI than ever before) as well as a host of new racing styles. Undercover’s key theme is ‘the thrill of the chase’ – so, in addition to outrunning the 5-0 across the free-roaming cities, you'll also be performing delivery jobs (getting stolen cars to destinations), taking part in Highway distance battles (escaping a certain distance from your rival), combined with more traditional point-to-point races. EA also briefly touched on the prospect of Boss Races, which is a feature we should be well familiar with from Most Wanted and ProStreet.
The nature of car theft also means you'll get a taste of the wide range of vehicles on offer (such as Porsches, Lamborghinis, Fords, Hondas and more – all to be confirmed, of course) in addition to your free-roaming ride. But no, we didn't see any sign of a Ferrari. So, what does Undercover feel like when you actually take to the streets? Well, even taking into account the huge amount of finalization left to do, the heaviness and understeer found with the handling in ProStreet has been replaced with the arcade/simulator balance of previous games. Cars feature localized damage depending where you hit the car (improving on the damage engine used in ProStreet), but it doesn't affect the handling of the car.
We also saw a return of the ‘heat meter’ (which tells you how pissed the cops are at you), cinematic slow-mo jumps as well as a revival of the ability to temporarily slow time for evasive maneuvers. We’ve only just scratched the surface with Need for Speed: Undercover and still have so much more to find out; what the online modes alone have in store for us demand that we keep an eye on it. Even so, we confidently predict that anyone who thought that Most Wanted was their favorite Need for Speed game will have plenty to like with Undercover, not least its new Hollywood style and narrative-driven approach. Prepare to get yourself revved up for the end of the year when Undercover will reveal itself.
Read on for an interview with the game's executive producer.