Need for Speed: Undercover

Game review by
Harold Goldberg, Common Sense Media
Need for Speed: Undercover Game Poster Image
Popular with kids
Risky street racing hampered by jittery graphics.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 18 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Since you are an undercover cop trying to establish your street cred with a gang, your goal is to destroy things, go on high speed chases, and drive faster than other cops.


While there are scrapes and crashes of cars, there's never any blood or people getting hurt. Use of handguns appear in video clips and there are some references to murder.


There is some mild suggestive dialog from the female characters, but nothing you don't see on, say, TV's Chuck. Female characters dress provocatively showing cleavage and the camera will linger on their legs.


Mild cussing exists, of the "damn" variety.


There are many makes and models of cars in the game. It's very advertisement-oriented. You can use real money (between $2-10) to buy cars if you don't have the patience to play through the game to unlock them.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a racing game that encourages risky driving behavior. Because you play as an undercover cop who is trying to gain credibility with a street gang, you must do things that are bad, like ramming into police cars and others. The game may annoy those gamers who care about graphics as much as gameplay. The jittery graphics at high speed can even make you lose a race. Music and dialog can be a bit naughty. Many models and makes of real cars are featured. If you don't have the patience to play through the game to unlock some of these new models of cars, you can purchase them online for between $2-10.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byfartface456 February 21, 2013

NFS: Undercover

This game is really good. My 10 year-old son plays it every day. Yeah, it does swear sometimes but I think it's ok for him.
Adult Written bybullblitzdog April 28, 2009


its a good driving game....very good graphics B+
Teen, 14 years old Written byPanda_VSCO November 9, 2019

Need for Speed Undercover Review

It teaches kids to not go over the speed limit and stuff like that cause, if you do the police will come after then the helicopter. This game will take awhile t... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byGamersnews32 May 22, 2019

Not my favourite NFS, feels incomplete and broken

Need for Speed Undercover has a lot going for it, but just isn't the Need for Speed I like. The story is pretty bad. The cutscenes contain live actors and... Continue reading

What's it about?

The Need for Speed series, which has been around since 1994 and has seen 16 games so far, is a staple of the racing genre. Offering teeth-gritting action, high speed chases, and shiny, customizable cars, the game's popularity spans the ages from teen to parent. In NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER, you and a federal officer (played by actress Maggie Q) are sent into the seamy underbelly of the fictional Tri-City in order to break up a ring of race car thieves. There, you'll meet all manner of creeps and connivers as you speed through a faux San Francisco Bay Area with 80 miles of twisting, turning highways.

Interestingly, you don't choose from a myriad of customizable car to begin. You're thrown right into the story. A Nissan is your default drive, but play more and more, a dealership's worth of cars are unlocked. There are seven modes from which to choose in a fairly open world and a huge amount of mission. The big deal this year is something called the Heroic Driving Engine, which lets you pull of fantastic move like a 180 degree turn as you speed through the streets at up to a thrilling 180 miles per hour.

Is it any good?

Unfortunately, Undercover was shipped before it was finished. When you get into the Story Mode, you'll see it packs too much information into a poorly written first scene voiced by a middling actress. And you might even see the whole thing stop and the game start all over again. Once you get going, you'll notice frame rate problems in the graphics, especially when you race on a straightaway with a lot of cars around you. It jerks and jitters like an old jalopy that doesn't want to go.

All this is a shame because there are facets that work well. There are many modes of racing to choose from and tons of sleek cars. The online Cops and Robbers mode in which you'll play with pals packs excitement every second (although you'll see some frame rate jitters here, too). The background graphics are fine (though not completely realistic). And the AI makes the cop cars and racing opponents really smart. Still, while it impresses at some points, it disappoints in just as many others.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why you should never race the streets in real life. As in the game, would you help a federal agent to rid the streets of crime? Why or why not?

Game details

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