REVIEW: Need for Speed: Undercover released for Windows Mobile
The iPhone folks have eagerly been waiting for this title for at least half a year – and it’s still isn’t known when it comes out (see THIS
for some additional info & comments). Despite the superior profitability of the iPhone platform when it comes to gaming, EA Mobile, the developer of the Need for Speed franchise, deemed it better to release the Windows Mobile and the Blackberry versions first.
Note that, because there’re no trial versions for any of these platforms, I could only test the Windows Mobile version – I didn’t want to shell out another (I paid for the WinMo version) 10 bucks for a Blackberry game just to realize it’s plain slow / too simplistic (as with most Java racing games) on my BB 8800.
First and foremost, the Windows Mobile version is accelerated on some of today’s most popular phones; most importantly, the HTC Diamond and the HTC Touch HD.
This, however, doesn’t mean it’s
- unplayable on non-accelerated phones. Actually, on some of my phones / PDA’s, it runs – taking into account the lack of hardware acceleration – very well. Not exactly like most top-tier racing games on the iPhone (Asphlat4 etc.), but still very playable – much more so than some of the alternatives.
- compatible with the 3D accelerator (the 2700g) of the Dell Axim x50v / x51v PDA’s. Actually, the game is plain unplayable on these two models. Don’t even give it a try – it’s not worth it.
(3D hardware accelerated HTC Diamond screenshots; on non-hardware accelerated models it's far more pixelizated and "blocky", of course.)
It’s available for purchase HERE
for 10 bucks. If you have either the HTC Diamond or the HTC Touch HD, it’s a no-brainer: get it, you’ll love it.
If you have some other device, I can’t give you precise advice: on some models, it runs pretty well (e.g., the iPAQ 210); on some other, it’s considerably worse (e.g., the HTC Universal) and, on some, it’s plain useless (e.g., the Dell Axim x50v / x51v). You might want to give Google a try: just search for the words NFS Undercover and your PDA / phone model; you most probably will find some kind of info on this.
Note that a lot of current device models are missing from the online “select your model” list. With EA NFS Undercover, however, I found the HTC Diamond version (version v17.0.19
, inner filedates in the CAB: 11/14/2008) working OK on my other WinMo devices, VGA and QVGA alike, as well. I’m not sure whether, say, the Touch HD version CAB is any different and whether it runs on other models. It might be, as some folks at XDA-Developers state
. It also stated to take advantage of the accelerometer of the phone – I couldn’t personally check this out (but will, as soon as I gain access to a Diamond / HD). Note that the Diamond also has an accelerometer, but it must be separately unlocked
Compared to the other, current racing games on Windows Mobile,
if you have a compatible phone (again: not the Dell Axim x50v/x51v), you might find it great. For example, compared to Gameloft’s Asphalt4 Elite Racing and Ferrari (the last two racing game releases for Windows Mobile),
- the native (non-Java) versions of these games run definitely slower on my HTC Wizard than NFS Undercover, and
- the Java versions of the games are plain ugly on VGA devices (currently, there is only a QVGA-compliant native [non-Java] version of these two games; they both utilize the upper left quarter of the screen on VGA models) with far less detailed cars, buildings, roads etc.
However, compared to e.g. Raging Thunder, the latter is, generally, better (faster) on non-3D accelerated hardware – and uses high resolution on VGA devices (unlike NFS). Astraware’s GTS World Racing is also faster; it’s just that I find it quite boring – unlike, say, Asphalt4, particularly on the hardware accelerated, accelerometer-equipped iPhone.
If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch (preferably of the second generation, meaning far faster 3D graphics), I don’t think you should bother with the unaccelerated WinMo version, though – current top-end iPhone racing games are simply far-far better.