Need for Speed Undercover
Nintendo Wii, PC, PlayStation 2 and 3, Microsoft Xbox from 10.84
You'll be pumping in the nitrous before you know it. You start with a rubbish car as an undercover cop, and progress through street racing missions of various types to get something with a bit more bite. The controls are easy to get your head around and you won't be frustrated by any impossible steps or missions.
You play in a sprawling fictional city, which can be fun to explore in between races (although it's not as detailed or fun as other sandbox games such as Grand Theft Auto). There are plenty of missions to do and more than fifty cars to collect, but some races are extremely short. Unlike previous games from the huge Need for Speed franchise, you can skip quickly to the nearest race without having to drive there if you can't be bothered.
Everything looks great, but it seems short of any real atmosphere. It can't summon up the same kind of quirky character as Mario Kart and it doesn't have the detail, or same visual effects and touches, of games such as Motorsorm.
Undercover aims to draw you into a character and a world, but it doesn't do it that convincingly. We felt little empathy with the characters, despite lots of cinematic-style scenes, and just wanted to get on with driving. This is fun, if a little unbelievable with some implausible handling ability during some stages.
Off- and online
The races are generally easy and some are almost over as soon as they start. Some of the online gaming modes are great fun, and you can rattle though a load of races in half an hour, but it's not quite as bustling as other games such as Forza 3.