Review by gamerman555

"Whats new in number two..."

Welcome to the Underground... again!
Here I am, over a year later, reviewing the sequel to what I thought was one of the best games in the year 2003, which was Need For Speed: Underground. Need For Speed: Underground 2 (NFSU2 for short) is the sequel to Need For Speed: Underground. What I loved about the first is back in the second, plus many new features which surprised me. Need For Speed is a long running series done by EA (Electronic Arts). Their idea to give it a whole new twist by showing you what its like in the 'Underground' sure caught a lot of people's attention.

So, what exactly is the Underground? Basically, the Underground is illegal street racing that is never speaked about in public, always behind closed doors. It consists of making your car the best and fastest in the city. Your goal is to beat down all the opposition who stand in your way. That may sound cool... but what makes this such a great racing game?

The great thing about Need For Speed: Underground was the ability to customize your car to almost anything you want. You could choose between many different types of cars, different paints, different graphics to put on your cars, different engine packs, and so on. The cars you start out with ain't anything amazing, they're average, everyday cars you see on the road. Well slap on a new turbo engine along with special suspensions and NOS, and these cars transform into 250 km/h racing machines. Lets go through the different aspects of the game and see dissect em!

Gameplay: 8.7/10 Rounded: 9/10

I can't give this game a full 9 for a few reasons, yet I think an 8.5 is a little to low, so lets go between them. NFSU2 has some of the hardest controls in a racing game, but if the controls were to easy then this game would be a pushover and not realistic. It also makes sense that when you're driving at 200 km/h you can't turn on a dime. The button response is perfect, and the controls lay out very nicely. Very nice job on the control aspect.

I also love the way how your car's controls change depending on what you buy for your car. For example, if you get a great engine that makes you zoom like the wind, but if you don't have good tires, you'll be sliding all over the place. Depending what you have, as well as what brand of car you have, the controls will change dramatically.

The feeling of speed is absolutely amazing, just like it was in Need For Speed Underground. When driving 200 km/h on the hiway, it actually feels like you're driving that fast. When driving quickly along the city streets, hand-breaking to get through tight turns, it really does feel real (not that I know from experience, of course). I love how you can use NOS (nitrous oxide) to give your car an extra boost of power. You only have a small amount of it, but it can be recharged by driving with skill (which is a new feature in NFSU2).

The one area where this game lost some marks was the controls for Drag Racing. This is the only part of the game I actually don't like to do. I don't really like how the layout is, which gets on your nerves as its almost impossible to get a good start. Then once you do, its vary hard to still catch up to your opponents, and half the time they pass you randomly even if you're using a blast of NOS.

There's a few different types of racing styles, which are Circuit, Spring, Drift, Street-X, Drag, and U.R.L's. Every time you complete some races, some new items will be available to you to put on your car, as well as new cars themselves. These shops are around Bayview, and you must find them as you drive around. Most are easy to find (you know they're near when you see different coloured street lights). You'll have a full map to show you the streets so you don't get lost, and once you find shops they'll be placed on the map as well. You buy your upgrades by winning money from races. One cool aspect is being able to challenge other people driving around the city while you're just driving around (not racing). These guys are on your map and drive faster than other cars, and look beefed up also. Simply approach them and press a button and its a race! You'll have to get so far ahead of em, and if you do, they'll pay you some good money. Do note its hard, as there's lots of traffic and obstacles in your way, and they drive quite well to. If you lose, you have to give up money as well!

Graphics: 10/10

No problems here at all. The cars look amazing, even the slightest detail. The city looks amazing with the night atmosphere, especially when you're in the cliffs over looking the city. One of the greatest aspects is the frame rate. I have never experienced ANY slowdown, even when you drive as fast as you can. The lighting effects are very nice, and the detail throughout the city is just great. You'll really have to play it to believe it.

Sound: 9.5/10

Very nice. Most X-Box games sound amazing, as the X-Box has Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound included in the system itself, plus the game is capable of 5.1 Surround, so all of you out there with surround sound systems will sure love the effects. The engine's of the cards sound fantastic, as do the sound effects such as breaks and tires squealing across the pavement. One of the coolest aspects of using surround sound is wind effects. If you're moving very fast and you go into a tunnel, you'll hear the wind buzz above you.

Playtime: 10/10

Very, very, very long. One of the main reasons is the size of the overworld. One of the first things that you'll recognize, unlike in Need for Speed: Underground, is that you will actually have to DRIVE to your races. The city is absolutely huge, as there are many different areas you'll have to race through, including tight circuit races through the city streets, to cool sprints through the hills. You roam around the city of Bayview, which houses several races each night. You will get to sign contracts to continue on racing. All of this ends up for a LOT of playtime. I've been playing about 10 hours now and im only 30% through.

Replayability: 7/10

After you finish this very long game the first time, you might wonder why you would play it again. Well, yea it is the same thing over again. What is fun is the amount of options you have to use on your car. You can play again with a completely new car, or really test your skills and try using an SUV, which is near impossible to use in some races.

Multiplayer: 5/10

Don't bother, no point. Only 2 can play, and there really isn't much point as I find it boring. NFSU2 is available online so you can test your cars and driving skills out with other people, but it isn't something that personally attracts me.

Final Recommendation: 9/10

NFSU2 will give you many hours of entertainment, many fun racing styles, and a ton of options of new ways to improve your car. If you liked NFSU, then you should definitely give this game a try. Its much like NFSU when it comes to gameplay, but gives you so many new options when it comes to an overworld and a lot more ways to customize your car.

Pros:
~ Gameplay is very well done
~ Graphics are superb, especially with no slowdown while moving at very fast speeds.
~ I love the fact that you are able to roam around the city and find secrets.
~ A LOT of different cars to try out, including SUV's. You can customize your car exactly the way you want from spoilers to brake covers. Hundreds of different graphics to put on your car.
~ Very large game, will give you hours and hours of playtime.
~ Sounds amazing on surround sound.
~ Each race goes through a different route of the city, so nothing is ever the same. Exception are some U.R.L. tracks and drifts.
~ NOS can recharge with skillful driving.

Cons:
~ I found multiplayer a little bit weak.
~ Drag Races aren't set up very well.
~ Game is quite easy, no matter what difficulty you play on. Once you pass your opponents, its hard to get passed unless you crash. Only exception to this is the Drag Races.

Rent or Buy?

If you haven't played NFSU, it is probably best to rent or try it out at your local video game store if they have it on display. Some people like it, some don't, depends on your style of racing games. If you have played NFSU and liked it, then there is nothing here that will disappoint you.

Final Score: 9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/13/06


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