Need For Speed Underground 2 Review

Last year, EA spiced things up with Need for Speed Underground, a super cool racing game all about customizing cars and joining the tuner scene.

The game was a blast, with awesome car options, exciting tracks, tough competitors, and stunning visuals.

Now, a year later, we’ve got a sequel, which brings new race types and a huge, open city to explore. The racing in Need for Speed Underground 2 is still a thrill, but sadly, a bunch of stuff you do between races keeps you away from the most fun parts.

A Fresh Spin on Racing: Need for Speed Underground 2

Need for Speed Underground 2 spices up your career mode with picture-like cutscenes. It reminds us of Max Payne, but Need for Speed doesn’t quite nail it like Max Payne does. Long story short, you start in a new town after getting attacked by rival racers. You’ll have one car and a few races to begin.

Need For Speed Underground 2

One Big City to Explore

The game’s biggest change is an open city for you to roam around. You can drive anywhere and have to find races and shops by exploring. The city has different colored lights to help you find what you’re looking for. The onscreen map shows some races and shops, but not all.

This open-city concept seems cool at first. Maybe the creators thought, “Everyone loves Grand Theft Auto, so let’s add an open city too.” But driving around the city can be boring and keeps you away from the action. The game hardly uses the open city for races, mostly sticking to preset tracks.

Racing and Customizing Your Ride

You’ll start with slow cars, so the races aren’t thrilling until you upgrade. Once you do, the racing is a blast and the cars handle great.

Turning, powersliding, and cornering is easy to learn. Like the previous game, there are different race types: Circuit, Sprint, Drag, Drift, Street X, Outrun, and Underground Racing League.

New Race Types and Challenges

Street X races are regular races on drift tracks. Outrun races happen in the city—challenge another racer and try to pass them. You’ll also race against time, trying to reach a photographer before they leave. 

Make it in time, and your car lands on a game magazine or DVD cover, earning extra cash. The Underground Racing League is a big new race type. You’ll break into racetracks, airports, and more for exciting races.

Difficulty Settings

There are three difficulty settings in career mode, but none are very challenging.

Races usually involve getting ahead of other cars and avoiding mistakes. With nitrous boosts and drafting, taking the lead is easy, and the game doesn’t use strong rubber-band AI to catch up.

This means most of the race is spent cruising and dodging traffic. If you crash, regaining the lead is not too difficult, especially with a nitrous-oxide upgrade.

Crashes and Damage

Crashes in Need for Speed Underground 2 are not realistic. High-speed collisions show slow-motion scenes, but there is no damage modeling. The crash looks like plastic cars bumping with real car crash sounds.

Although modeling damage with licensed cars is difficult, the game’s car customization features make up for the lack of visual detail.

Car Customization

Customizing your car’s performance and appearance is a big part of the game. Performance parts are organized into stages and locked until you’re ready. These parts include engines, brakes, tires, and ECUs, and they are needed to win races. Visual enhancements are more flexible, but you need a flashy car to get noticed and featured in magazines and videos.

Visual Enhancements

Visual enhancements include spoilers, neons, vinyls, roof scoops, spinner rims, custom gauges, and speakers for your trunk. These modifications help your car stand out, especially when playing online with others.

Online Mode and Platforms

Need for Speed Underground 2 is available online on PS2, PC, and Xbox. The online mode is simple, letting you set up races in various types, and features a free run mode to cruise around with other players. It works well on a broadband connection, even with six players. 

The game also provides statistics and rankings, letting you find evenly-matched races. The GameCube version lacks online play and has a shaky frame rate in split-screen mode.

Product Placement and Dialogue

The game tries to copy illegal street racing, but has too much product placement. Billboards and real-life fast-food joints make the city feel more realistic, but having the onscreen display based on a phone service provider logo is too much. The game’s dialogue is also fake, using slang and awkward phrases.

Need For Speed Underground 2 Graphics

The graphics are good, except for the unstable frame rate in the GameCube version. The car models are sharp, and the city looks fine. The game runs smoothly, but the blur effects from last year’s game are less pronounced.

PS2, Xbox, and PC versions are similar in quality, with the GameCube version trailing behind. Xbox has the best controls, and the PC version needs an analog gamepad.

Need For Speed Underground 2 Sound and Music

The game’s sound is good, despite the weak dialogue and speech. Engine sounds change as you upgrade your car, and wind noises add to the sense of speed. The music is a mix of different styles, including a remix of The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” featuring Snoop Dogg. 

However, the soundtrack tries to appeal to many audiences and may not satisfy everyone. Custom-soundtrack support is not available on Xbox.

Conclusion – Need For Speed Underground 2

Need for Speed Underground 2 uses last year’s game as a base but adds features that reduce the overall experience. Racing and customizing cars are enjoyable, but there are too many obstacles to reach the best parts of the game.

Want Reviews of your favorite games? Visit our Reviews Page by clicking here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker