Review by princetab

"Good, but not great."

EA's second installment in the street racing genre was one of the most anticipated games of 2004. For many, it came as a blessing. For others, however, it came as a disappointment. The game somewhat had the Underground feel, but not quite.

Gameplay 9/10

I commend EA for putting together a game that included so many different racing styles. This made playing the game so much more fun. With so many different things to do, it could keep you going. EA went all out with their diverse racing mode. There were the typical Circuit, Drag, Drift, and Sprint. Then, EA adds 3 other racing modes, and a free-roam mode. One of the new types was StreetX, where you race on a small secluded track, without any traffic. The next type was the URL. The URL, Underground Racing League, consisted of the best of the best drivers in the city. The races were held around the Airport, in a track, again, without any traffic. The last mode was Outrun. In Outrun mode, you had to challenge someone to an Outrun, then outrun them. It was a race to get away from your opponent with a distance of 1000 feet. That was awesome, as some Outruns led to unlocking some cool upgrades. Lastly, the free-roam mode was awesome. This is where you could do just about anything from search for people to outrun, to races, to just having fun with the car. You could smash cars and let them fly, or get thrown away yourself. The only bad thing was that when you crashed, you'd see the damage in the somewhat "slow-motion", but when it went back to you driving, there appeared to be no damage on the car.

Graphics 9/10
The graphics have really improved since Underground. Everything just looks so great. It makes you feel like you're in some kind of graphics' heaven. When you're driving, you actually feel the sensation due to the graphics. You see each and everything you pass at a speed, and it looks great. The way the car looks when you use some NOS looks amazing. Once you hit the NOS, you'll actually feel you're going fast. It just looks great.

Sound and Music 7/10

The sounds of the engines were greatly improved since Underground. Each engine had it's own power, which could clearly be heard and identified. Just like the first one, all the other sounds that were there (while driving and such) were just as realistic. This made playing even more fun.

The soundtrack for this game was terrible. There were probably two good songs on the whole soundtrack, and none of them could really get you into the racing mood. In the first installment, there were so many songs that could get your motors running, no pun intended. With this, the songs were just slow, in my opinion. They weren't what you would call, "racing songs."

Story 4/10
The story was very short, and rather typical. If EA wanted to put a real story, they should have made more of an effort. There were about 10 cut-scenes about the story, and you had to wait so long for them. It was horrible! That's all I have to say about the story, short and horrible!

Depth 10/10
EA really went beyond what most people hoped. The customization level of this game was far better than any I've seen. The quantity of the aftermarket parts was just mind-blowing. Not just that, EA added so much more to the customizations than just more parts for the already-customizable areas. They added a specialties shop, where you could "pimp" out your ride, really. I was totally blown by not only the quantity, but also the quality of the aftermarket parts. No two parts were alike, and each one looked amazing.

Replay Value 6/10
If you've played Underground, you should remember that when you beat the game fully (111/110 races), you only had the parts you had bought in the Customize mode. In U2, all parts are instantly available as soon as you beat the game. In Underground, I remember playing the whole game all over again to unlock each and every aftermarket part, especially the wide body kits. Also, once you've played the whole game and beaten it, and know all the twists and turns everywhere, and already have all the "unlockable parts", it doesn't make much sense to play it all over again.

Overall 7/10 (Rounded down from 7.3)
Underground 2 is a good game, with intense customization that anyone can easily get the hang of. The racing modes are amazing, the sounds are great, the selection of cars is good, the music is crap, and the replay value is invisible, if it's there at all.

If you want a game that will last you a good 2 weeks, then get boring right after, Underground 2 is your best bet. If you want a game that you may want to play over and over, either get NFS:U, MC2 (I still play this, over and over), or wait for a better title (e.g. Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition).

Also, if you still want to really buy this game, rent it first.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 04/04/05

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