Review by Warhawk

"The Need for Speed lives on"

Need for Speed Underground was a huge selling hit of 2003 and was the second best selling game at the end of 2003, so there wasn't any doubt that there would be a sequel to Need for Speed Underground. This game was started before the first Need for Speed Underground game was even finished and the first Underground seemed to be just a warm up to see how we fans of the Need for Speed would take the idea of taking your ordinary cars then upgrade them the way you want to. This time around there are a few cars that were in the first Underground along with new cars such as the 2005 Ford Mustang and the new Pontiac GTO, there's so much that is in this game that wasn't included when Underground was released just last November. There's so much to say about this game I don't know where to begin since there's almost so much to do with the newly added free roaming which allows you to explore the city which is much, much bigger this time around.

GRAPHICS: 9.0/10
The graphics seem to be like that from what was in the first Underground game released just last year but they seem to be a bit improved over last year especially with the Vinyls (aka Graphics) that you can choose from to stylize out your ride. Each of the city that you are able to drive around in if you are in Free Roam [Career and Single] but keep an eye out for a certain races that you can do. Each of the cars look very closely to what you would see if you were to go have a look at each of the cars in the real world even if you would like to own that car which some of us are unlucky to own a few of those kinds.

STORY: 8.9/10
The story basically picks up where it left off in the first Underground. This time you'll go to a new city with a new person to help you along with way but you still got to earn a chance to be on magazine covers, even have a chance to get on DVD covers as well. The DVD covers you may think that some are a little difficult since you have to upgrade your car visually to be able to have a chance to get on those covers and the best part is that for some of the DVD/Magazine covers you can decide on how you want the picture to look instead of all of them being automatically done for you. Also when you go through Career watch out there will be someone trying to make you look ridiculous and make you look bad but nobody wants to have someone try to do anything to make others look bad.

The difficulty seems to be a little harder in most of the latter races if you have it on Medium - Hard difficulties. There are more races to do in here [more than in Underground 1] and some of them do have traffic in them like some of them did in last year's game. Also you would want to watch out for a few races in which the drivers may want to do anything to take you out to make sure you won't be able to win but that seems to happen a few times in the one of the new race types that was added in Underground 2 [URL]. A few of the drag races can take a little bit of time getting used to since there are a couple of them which you have to watch out for this or that and I'm not talking about the traffic but something else, you have to find out for yourself if you want to know.

SOUND: 8.8/10
If you asking: Is there any difference in the sound in Underground 2 from Underground? Then the answer may be yes or no depending on how you think about it, as for me I think the sound has improved from Underground from the sound of the spray [Nitros] to the sound of the tires squealing if you slide and to the sound of the engine [depending on the upgrade] sounds quite interesting I'd say. The voice acting was good but I can't say it was the best overall it was good, the voice actors captured the emotion of each of the characters that you run into Career and out on the free roaming.

CONTROLS: 9.0/10
The controls for Underground 2 seem almost the same as Underground's [1] but in a sense different than that of Underground's [1]. The physics of the cars feel the same but with an addition of new cars such as the Mustang or even the SUV's that were included like the Hummer H2 or the Lincoln Navigator. I don't know how those vehicles handle in real life so I wouldn't know how close the physics are for those vehicles but they feel like the real thing. The drag racing feels the same along with the other modes that made a comeback in this new Underground game but there are a few new races like Outrun, Street X, and URL where the controls feel alright while if there's a chance of another Need for Speed game like this I think that the physics could use a little more tweaking to make them feel right.

MUSIC: 8.7/10
As for the music featured in Need for Speed Underground has a unique soundtrack probably more unique then the songs I've probably heard from other racing games that I've played over the years. There are a few good songs that are featured in the game that are good but I think that there should've been at least a few other songs to replace a few of the others since there were a couple that I think didn't fit the game that well but that song of Snoop Dogg is probably the best song from the game that I like personally. If I was the one to get songs for a racing game I would go with songs that would at least fit the title of the game with songs like "Fuel" by Metallica but other than that there's nothing I can do about that.

OVERALL: 9.2/10
Need for Speed Underground 2 is a vast improvement over it's predecessor Need for Speed Underground by giving the players free roaming along with new race types that are featured throughout the game. Not only that but it seems that there is about the same amount of cars to customize if not more to tweak with along with the new Career [Underground Mode] with more to do then just race, race, race. The best part is that you can drive to where the race is or to whatever shop that you want to go to whether if it's to the Body Shop, Performance Shop or even the Graphics Shop. This game overdone what was done last year when we saw the release of Underground but with the whole lot of things that you can do to try to get 100% Completion Status can be a workout for some people while others can breeze right through it.

My final words of this game is that if you're into games where you can be able to tune your everyday type of cars - SUVs into something more then this would be a game for you but if you're one of those who is looking for a game with cars like the McLaren or the Corvette then you may want to wait for Gran Turismo 4 which should be out early next year. If you want to get a hold of a racing game that will last you for a while then you may want to rent this game first just to see if it's a game for you; if not then I respect those who don't like tuning cars but it's something that you can get into if you want to work on Auto Mechanics.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/21/04

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