Underground is the 6th game out of well-known series of NFS games I’ve
played. While Porsche Unleashed for example gave me countless of hours of re-playability,
I wish I could claim the same for Hot Pursuit 2, which was relatively under
whelming in about every department, considering what I had been used to so
far from Electronic Arts.
Underground is obviously aiming to differentiate itself from the former game
of the popular series, in some departments for the better, in others for worse.
On average though it’s a lot better than it’s predecessor.
Visually it’s a quite compelling game, the car part-upgrades idea is
a quite refreshing novelty (well apart from the fact that if you overdo it,
you’ll result in some really awkward looking vehicles) and you really
get the feel of hilarious speed while playing it. But the tracks are few and
kind of monotonous, if you constantly end up racing in similar city streets
at night and the AI and physics could leave headroom for quite a few objections.
All in all it’s fun to play and that’s the real purpose of a computer
3D game; at least it’s an attempt to differentiate itself from so far known
recipes when it comes to racing games.
How does it perform? Exceptionally well, albeit I would have wished that the
game wouldn’t restrict to 1280*1024. Also in some spots there are some
minor stutters (they occur mostly when opponent cars suddenly pass you by),
which aren’t exclusive to this graphics accelerator or setup I’ve
tried so far. Nothing really annoying, yet it wouldn’t hurt to release
a patch in order to get rid of those.
Time for the performance numbers:
4x AA / 16xAF
Frames: 5804 - Time: 93828ms - Avg: 61.857 - Min: 30 - Max: 93
Frames: 3596 - Time: 66109ms - Avg: 54.395 - Min: 35 - Max: 100
Frames: 4125 - Time: 60187ms - Avg: 68.536 - Min: 40 - Max: 112
Frames: 5016 - Time: 90234ms - Avg: 55.588 - Min: 35 - Max: 92
Frames: 5195 - Time: 77016ms - Avg: 67.453 - Min: 40 - Max: 147
Frames: 4843 - Time: 67547ms - Avg: 71.698 - Min: 44 - Max: 108
Frames: 3583 - Time: 66047ms - Avg: 54.249 - Min: 29 - Max: 90
No wonder why I’ve been complaining about the resolution limit; there
would have been definitely headroom for playable performance in 1600*1200.
One more thing to note is that I didn’t use of course neither Light
Trails nor the so called in game “Motion Blur” (it isn’t
real temporal anti-aliasing a.k.a. motion blur, yet rather “motion trail”;
there’s a minor difference between anti-aliasing and simple blurring
in the temporal dimension.).
Either Motion Blur or Light Trails do not work with Multisampling and even
if they would – especially the so called “motion blur” – isn’t
really adding to the scenery in terms of realism; rather the opposite in my
opinion. I’m personally a fan of furious speeds even in real life and
I know exactly what it looks like when you step on the gas pedal more than
common sense dictates. What’s even worse about “motion blur” is
that it’s irritating and makes racing at high speeds actually harder,
since it limits visibility in the far clipping distance.
If you really want to have fun with this title you’d be better off concentrating
on part upgrading or power slides amongst others.
Special note also goes to the excellent soundtrack; it really adds to the
adrenaline rush the game can cause.