Forum Review: Need For Speed Undercover | webOS Nation

Forum Review: Need For Speed Undercover 73

by Robert Werlinger Fri, 08 Jan 2010 5:12 pm EST

We're still roaming the show floor, hunting down what webOS news we can find - meanwhile our forums are afire with talk of the new 3D apps. This app review is brought to you by forum member FiXXXerX.  

So here we are, hours after the CES Press conference with a series of new apps that have been released by some fairly high profile companies, a first for WebOS and a much needed boost to the App Catalog. Today I will be reviewing Need For Speed - Undercover. In case you've been living under a rock that has been hidden in a cave for the past decade you most likely know what Need For Speed is, however, for those of you that have only recently emerged I'll give you an overview of what your looking at here. The Need For Speed (Or NFS for short) franchise from Electronic Arts is all about taking a stock production car and personalizing it per your taste and then driving it... fast. This personalization includes performance tweaks and visual modifications and then going out and establishing yourself as a dominant racer in a number of different scenarios. The game we're looking at today has you going Undercover (As the title suggests) and racing against all sorts of nasty-for-no-reason thugs who apparently spend a majority of their time street racing... in fact, just imagine Fast and The Furious with less plot and your in the right zone, so lets get into it...


Being a game designed for a cell phone there are limitations as you might expect. However, that being said, the setup is pretty standard for racing games on touch screen devices. Hold the phone landscape style with the slider closed and tilt it to the left and right like you had an awkwardly shaped steering wheel. Now, the car automatically accelerates for you, so there isn't any way to adjust your acceleration rate. The being said, you do have some options, 1 Finger on the screen Brakes, 1 Finger swiped up initiates your Nitro Boost (NOS if we're being all Paul Walker about it), 1 finger down activates a slow-mo that allows you dodge obstacles (aka. Bullet Time). Also, tilting the phone sharply initiates a drift (Controlled Slide) around a corner. And then 2 fingers on the screen pauses your game. Simple, yet effective. It will take you a little while to master it, but in the end, it works... and that's what you want, right? In terms of actual gameplay, you race against your opponents, out run the cops and upgrade your car. The tracks you race on aren't exactly the most exciting things on the planet, but they seem to cater to the control scheme more than anything, which in the end is actually a pretty good thing. I would rather have a game that plays well then one that ends up frustrating me to no end with a shoddy control scheme and unnavigable tracks. Its a fun combo that can be addicting, I've only had a few hours with it up to this point so I can hardly call myself a master, but I doubt that there are layers of depth that I'm missing at this point. Its fun for fun's sake and sometimes, that's what matters the most.


So, wow... graphics... if you haven't been active in the homebrew community and witnessed what the WebOS Internals guys have done with Doom and Quake, then this game will quite simply melt you brain. Sure, its the first in a series of games that actually have access to the Pre's GPU, but it looks VERY impressive to be one of the first to pop up on the platform. The graphics are easily better than anything you will find on the Nintendo DS, and while they might fall slightly short of the PSP in the texture department they still look fantastic. What we are seeing here is the Pre emerging as a platform that can truly stand up and say that its a capable gaming machine, something that most of us have been waiting for for quite a while. The game has an extremely solid frame rate and I experienced no slowdowns in my play time. An impressive feat from a phone that would freeze on me while playing Topple Ball not but 3 weeks ago.


Sound is actually pretty interesting here, I was expecting basic engine rev'ing sounds and a relatively unimpressive sound scheme. And while its far from the quality of sound you'll get from a modern day console, its still something that works extremely well within the context of the game. It does have an actual music soundtrack, which doesn't appear to be customizable as of now and is largely there just for background noise as far as I'm concerned, but its still a nice touch. Other than that, engines sound like engines, tire squeal is tire squeal... again, it just works.


Well, so we come to it, the price of the game is $9.99, which is a pretty steep price of entry for a game with no demo to try out. However, with that being said, I've certainly spent more money on less. The game is a solid package and is absolutely one of the most impressive apps available in the App Store today. Its not mind blowing, and I personally think it should be priced at the $5.00 range, but I doubt that you will find yourself being very disappointed with it even at $9.99.


SO, would I buy it again? Yes... hands down it was one of the most exciting things I've been able to download from the App Catalog to date. It has the same kind of polish you would expect to find on a game that has been created by one of the earths largest gaming entities and its fun. There isn't much more to it than that.

I will add, that while we witness the birth of real, functional, innovative and beautiful apps we can look on the games that were released today and see what a difference a few months can make. More than anything this game is exciting because of the possibilities it hints at, and in the mean time, we have a pretty solid racer on our hands, and I'm very happy with that.



Where's all the first people? Lamers...

BTW great review!! I am def picking this up soon.

Had a few "Too Many Card" errors but seems to be working just fine now!!

I'm amazed at how quickly we went from basic boring apps to this! I feel bad for all the impatient whiners who jumped ship too early. Keep up the good work Palm!

you forgot to mention the two finger zoom in and out on the game.

I can't seem to get that to work. How and where do you do that?

Sorry about that... yes, if your at the screen where you can see your car, just tap with to fingers and it will enter a 'Free View' mode and allow you to scroll around and look at your car from pretty much any angle except from below.

Awesome review! The game is amazing. Palm is doing a great job and the Pre is getting better everyday. Keep up the good work Palm!

If you are at CES, could you please ask one of Palm folks about the issues that many users are having with the new games (check the forums and you will see what I'm talking about)? I did purchase NFS and the game was downloaded and installed on the Pre, but I am not able to launch it.

Before anyone says something about reset the phone, pull the battery, remove themes, remove patches, turn on airplane mode, etc. I did that and it is not working.

Good for all of you that at least are able to play a bit, before the game crashes.......I am not able to see how the main sreen looks.

Several forum members had the same problem. Some have found that deleting the game, restarting your phone and then redownloading it fixed their issue. Just a thought. :)

Thanks! I already tried that and still no luck.

Do you have MyTether? I had the same problem. This solved it for me:

Yes, I did have it. But, I did contact Palm Support and we did a partial erase. Even after that NFS is not launching. Next step Doctor the Pre! It sucks, I know.

Is your camera still working?

If it isn't, I would recommend re-installing MyTether (I know, I know) and then going through those steps. The reason: if you upgraded your OS at any point while the "enable WiFi" patch was on, that patch is almost certainly still installed. I believe that's what is causing the problem for MyTether folks such as you and I.

Just my two cents, and hardly the opinions of an IT professional. But easier than doctoring, sez I!

@ Zam

Thanks! Just to let you know camara is working just fine. I took a couple of pics just to be sure and there is no issue at all. Someone in the forums will doctor his/her phone and will post the outcome. So, I wait to hear if actually doing that fix the problem. Oh well, more waiting at my end.

I think you need to do a full erase and then doctor ur pree. The new webos doctor leaves patches so would not be surprised if it doesn't work.

Great review. What about this: do all the cars sound the same?

In my experience so far, I think that the car sounds from the car I'm playing with (the MazdaSpeed 3 I think?) are pretty "Pole-Position-ey".

Wait The Fast and the Furious had a plot?

Lol ^^

+1 hahahaa

The real issue with this game? Proves that battery technology needs to hurry up and improve =) I might have to start carrying a 2nd battery around...

Only now?! Consider yourself lucky....

I purchased the 1350 MAH battery a few days ago. So far no problems whatsoever. Plus, the battery life is definitely 2 to 3 hours better. Not to mention, I've only charged it full three times and I'm noticing an improvement each time. Played NFS for about 20 mins and it ate 8% of the battery. In my opinion, that's not bad at all. Haven't tried it with the original palm battery, but I'm sure it would have eaten around 15 to 17%.

lol I'm running smartflex 600. Battery life is excellent.

this is what i call iphone killer oops did i say iphone
whats that ? i dont care any more

palm is gonna kick some ass this year

having the same problem with launching this app. I tryed resetting.. No use. Deleting, resetting, and reinstalling -Nothing. I might have to call palm :-/

All these 3d-rendering games seems to get random memory issues to which Palm will prolly have an update to improve the handling soon.

Yeah..Apple better watch it's ass!

It says "Install Failed" :( Restart doesn't help. Also tried Emergency Migration Helper.

That was happening to me too. I ended up having to do a full erase.

$10? That's how much this game cost for Xbox 360!!

I must agree with you here. I, too, find the price a bit much for mobile time wasting, compared to Apple store prices.

If enough of us voice opinion, they will listen. We know that.

Consider that the number of iPhone app sales easily outweighs the number of Pre app sales. So putting that into perspective I expect to pay more for the same app. Same with Sims 3. My daughter paid 5.99 for it while I paid 9.99.

While that is true (supply/demand/economy of scale and all), the Pre consumer doesn't care how many iPhones there are, he only looks at the price of the app and say "eeew" or "wow".

True, but when the game has basically been ported to the Pre with little effort, I'd expect the price to be equivalent, not almost double

Maybe used. Anyways if those other crappy apps are worth $2 then this is a fair price. I don't think they are going to get many complaints. If you don't want to pay it, don't get it. Its like any other program. I myself would probably pay more. It is great.

I'm not at all interested in games like this (I'm not much of a vid-gamer at all, so it's not that I'm anti-NFS), but I am really, really pleased that, as this game shows in a provable way, Palm is advancing webOS in big ways.

Keep it up, Palm! Can't wait for 1.4!

Sounds great. I'm trying to decide if I should get this or Asphalt 5.

Somebody on a different site reviewed Asphalt. Seems like the background scenes are more interesting but the app crashes every once in a while. Otherwise, they sound very much like the same game.

I have preware installed with many patches etc. Ive downloaded NFS, Sims and the golf game. I have played all of them for hours since yesterday and never had a single hiccup with the phone. Thankfully Im not one of those unlucky ones.

Cell phone games should be $4.99 not $9.99
Also, where's the DEMO?!?

Like any other product, games should sell for what the seller asks for and the buyer is willing to pay. What part of capitalism do you not understand?

I've downloaded this game and do agree that it is very fun to play!! I've got it half way beat because i'm on snow days and have nothing else to do lol

As expected, it does drain your battery when playing it nonstop. The graphics are way better then anything i thought they would be, and the music/sound effects are awesome. It is worth the 9.99 (plus tax), so i do recommend it to everyone that can afford it!

$10 is alot for a cell phone game..... but f$#@ it, i couldnt resist. Downloading now...

I like the game; the only problem is that I've never been able to finish a race. The program unexpectedly shuts down and gives me an application error and tell me that it has shut down unexpectedly. I tried reinstalling and even a WebOS doctor w/o installing any patches. Anyone else have this issue?

I'm having the exact same problem, but it looks like we're in the minority. I put in a request with EA support but so far no response (so much for the 24 hour thing). I have Let's Golf and it is running flawlessly. I'm assuming there will be a way to fix this.

This is when the ability to have some sort of refund in 15-30 days would be good, honestly if there's no demo this "all sales are final" approach of the app catalog is BS. Given the restrictions on how these games load it would be nothing for the App Catalog to have an option to "refund" and remove the software from the phone.

I'm not a big gaming guy, but this game rocks on the Pre. Nice touch in some races you see brake lite on when you touch brake. Also wish it cost less but I guess at this point Pre market is small as compared to others.

It sucks that it costs 9.99 but there is still just as much content here as some DS games that I've paid 29.99 for so not really a bad deal.

I know we're always trying to look at the positive here at Precentral. But I don't feel that zen quality in this article when I and it seems hundreds of others are having MAJOR issues with this and some of the other new apps. I'm in the group of people that doesn't have anything but preware and a couple of homebrew apps on my pre, and I pay for and download the game, but it's stuck on the "Install Failed, restart phone" loop. I think it would have atleast been worth mentioning in the article that there's still bugs that need working out.

I really hope that there is a patch that comes out to fix everyones botched installs... I will say though, that last night when I was writing up my review and playing through the game, there were only a scant few reports of any people having issues. And while I know that there are still quite a few that can't seem to get it to install properly due to no fault of their own, I had to review for those of us that can download and play the app.

I will keep an eye on how things go via. the forums and see what ends up happening for future reviews.

True. Considering that this review followed one about the forums, it'd be nice if it acknowledged the problems we've had.

the phone states that game is install but can not launch it WHY! How does one get money back?

Palm's support page says no refunds. Sorry (for you AND me).

I'm one of those who installed it, did partial erases, etc and still can't get it to play.

I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau about this, palm rep basically said its not there fault but frankly it is. They should have tested this before releasing it. And theres wayyyyy too many people having issues with this game and others like it that were just released. No refunds because they didnt develop it? Thats like target saying the Emachine wasnt there build so no refunds. Lame they would be outa business in days doing that crap.

Great game. I noticed all 3d apps launches faster than other apps.

I'm overclocked at 600 snartflex and have patches. this game is smooth like a babys back. No crashes at all. Great game.

this game is AWSOME but screw you palm for crapping on us early adopter. we buy it early and you let verizion bully you n2 scewing us by giving them an exsclusive upgraded Pre' that is bullshit.

you dont want a Pre Plus on VZ. More expensive. Don't complain. Also, your contract will be up just in time so you can have a Palm Pre II so relax

after 1.3.5 i had all kinds of app catalog issues. it turns out it was package manager in pre-ware. I had to re-install package manager a couple times and then "viola" all app catalog issues fixed

I have been getting the same problem as everyone here. My apps wouldnt install. I recently noticed that this is patches fault. I doctored my PRe 4 times last night. And apps installed correctly, until i installed patches. Also, some patches (which i still do not know the exact ones) break other functionalities, like push email. I am up running Sims3 and Need for speed, but after a really long night of figuring out that i cannot even turn on dev mode. My pre is completely stock... boring, with no patches... :( and no homebrew... i hope this gets fixed. ASAP. NOW. And yeah this all started in 1.3.5

I had the same install problems and found the solution via the forums. Sorry, if I wasn't so lazy right now (right now?!) I'd find the page and link it here. The long and short of it, as mentioned above is after 1.3.5 the package manager broke. I actually had to delete it, luna, and preware, and reinstall... TWICE. There were restarts between a few steps too. Long story short, search the forums for "install fail" and you'll find simple instructions to fix this problem.

well thanks i guess

Looks like this is what you where talking about:

1. Go into Preware and remove Luna Manager.
2. Remove Preware using Orange + tap Preware icon.
3. Then use WebOS Quick Install to remove Package Manager.
4. Restart your phone (full restart).
5. Then use WebOS Quick Install to reinstall Package Manager.
6. Use WebOS Quick Install to reinstall Preware.
7. Use WebOS Quick Install to reinstall Luna Manager.
8. Luna Restart your phone.
9. Use Preware to install Emergency Migration Helper (phone will do auto Luna Restart).
10. Delete any failed installs on your phone using Orange + tap icon with ! on it.
11. Hopefully you can now download apps from the app catalog.

Kudos to spudland, the original poster of this. :)

Okay so the game is fantastic. Only if it doesn't crash all the time x-( My initial euphoria over an app like this for Pre was quickly replaced with frustration of launching it again and again after it crashes out of the races for no apparent reason. EA/Palm, please fix it!

beautiful game. Not much substance, but still worth it. Thank you Palm for getting on the ball with PDK and the Devs! Makes me love my Pre even more thinking about what's coming!

wow super that pre has done so many goodthings for you guys.... But what abt us in germany????? When will we be able to buy apps and games..... Hurry up palm.........

February :) WebOS 1.4 for EVERYONE :D and I am quite sure Palm catalog for everyone too.

Alle wer warten kann, dem kommt alles zur rechten zeit

this game sucked. not enough levels, all the body kits were hideous, the rims were just images they stole off the internet, that sidewalk shit is annoying, and the shit is buggy as hell. i had to restart my career just to get the race button on the main menu to work again. fuck you ea i want my money back...

Too bad about the install/stability issues with patched phones. I had no issues installing any of the new games on a relatively virgin refurb (no Luna Manager, etc).

$9.99 also seemed steep to me, initially. I downloaded Asphalt, which rocked my world and Glyder, which, at $2.99 for tons of content, is an insanely good value. I took the plunge with NFS last night, essentially because of my positive experience playing Asphalt: it looked great, it kicked a$$; why not try another driving sim?

In this case the price is set by EA, not Palm. It looks great and plays well. The story, perfectly summed up by the OP, is Fast & Furious 'lite.'

It's a good value for what it is (a mobile racing sim). I was a hardcore NFS Porsche Unleashed fan back in the day. This, and Asphalt even more, reminds me a lot of that in certain ways.

Unfortunately, I think that we'll be looking at some growing pains here when it comes to the new PDK-enabled titles. That being said, and my own positive experience aside, I'd rather have these titles available than not.

I bought it the day it came out, being a NFS fan from back in the day (had a steering wheel that clipped to the desk and pedals on the floor). Was a riot to play that way.

That being said, the version for the Pre plays well, has a fun little story line, and has kept me quite entertained. I was going to play a quick race last night and ended up playing it for almost two hours. I'm now on the third city, have two customized cars, and am probably going to play again tonight.

For the game that it is, I think it's an okay price - I'd like to see it cheaper, but I have definitely gotten my moneys worth.

THIS GAME!!! Rocks !!!!! is a bit pricey but at the same time you get what you pay for and what we have here is quality. although i will say that there should be a demo so that people will know rather or not it will work on the pre as i am reading that a lot pre'ers are'nt even able to launch it and for them to say buyer beware, that's not cool. good luck guys, hope you find a way to get this sweet game to work. as far as asfault and the sims , i read that they wer buggy but i may try anyway the sims looks cool as hell ... any way are there any secrete pathways in nfsu , i thought i read something like that in another thread or maybe that was asphalt . also can we play other pre'ers on these games ? that wld be cool. well that's my two cents cuz after buying this app that's about all i got left lol ... i wounder if we can rockstar to do a gta for the pre , what do you guys think of that one . let me know . you know where to find me .. blowin past your asses on the highway till the drop of 1.4 then it's helooo hulu.. the road awaits .. for some of us anyways.

Spend hours playing it, 2 levels from the end!! great game very smooth no lag. It has only crashed on me once. worth the 10 bucks honestly.

Has any one figured out if we can do something in order to get the $1,000,000.00 hack installed?