Review by santana84

Reviewed: 04/06/05

This is a sheer beauty of a game.

BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO. EA has done it again.

They have managed to create a game sequel that outshines, outruns and just flatout POOPS on the original game. I said that NFSU2 was going to be crazy. People didn't believe me and now here we are. The game is out and just crazier than I've ever imagined.

If you're lost or have been living under a rock for the past few years, let me explain. NFSU is a car racing game aimed at arcade gamers and import tuners/specialists. In english, it is the first mainstream game fully aimed at the underground tuner world. This was explored in the Fast and Furious films, and I guess you can say that this is its representation if it was a GOOD game.

The game story (covering both games) revolves around you, a hot shot import racer who wants to get into the import game. Now, at the beginning of Need For Speed 2, you have beaten everybody in North Bayside (the city from the previous game) and you are the champ of that area. So you get an invite to race in South Bayside, and as you can imagine, the rules are alot different in the south than they are up north. So now you have to work the ranks so you can be king in a more ruthless setting.

As expected, you start from scratch, the same way you did in part one, but instead of racing in a linear stucture from out of a menu, you'll notice that you actually have to drive to the race that you want to race in! A GTA approach here makes a huge difference, and allows for more freedom in the world and during races. For neon, for instance, you would actually drive to the garage you need to go to and get the work done.

For exploration, you start in a small area and as you go along, you'll be able to go to more destinations and do more races. A little linear, but not as much as the last game. Another note is that when you drive around like this, you'll notice different routes and shortcuts that you'll be able to take during a race, so that adds some strategy. Great move by EA.

The car selection here is wider than the last game...there's a G35 and 2005 Mustang this time around, and TRUCKS. (a pain to drive, but fun driving thru stuff...ugh in a weird way.) But its not the selection, which practically remains unchanged except for a few additions, but the things you can do with them. Split hoods. Neon in trunks. New vinyls. Layers of vinyls on HOODS! (THANK YOU JESUS) Scissor and suicide doors!!!! and theres more than that. You'll have to find out on your own.

As for game modes, there is something for everyone. Free run is just how it sounds, driving around in south bayside, just cruisin'. Drag is here, as with circuit, drift, Street X and URL, both being brand new. Street X is a race which you are in a tight course with 3 other cars, with no turbo/NoS.
"Go Karts with 200 horses under the hood" I say. This basically means that you don't win with speed; but with finesse and good driving. Nice. URL races, or Underground Racing League for short, is a race that take place with you and five other cars on a real race track. No traffic, just 4-5 miles of asphalt and 6 cars fighting for the checkered flag. Beautiful.

As far as the play mechanic goes, it's a little different. The AI is a lot smarter this time, so you'll have to adjust your car for the best settings for certain races to get around trouble spots. Yes, you can test your cars for performance and tweak them for optimum settings before a race. Car enthusiasts will love this because it brings a new dimension to the Need for Speed franscise; it gives the game an even more strategic feel. That little tweak can mean a W or an L. In some cases, car enthusiasts will have a slight edge over arcade gamers because they'll know how to push thier car on a technical level. And while some arcade games may know the same info, the strategy is still there, and it gives this game a very high replay value.

Graphics and Sound: Great. The ambiance and the graphics are paired together for a psychelic and darker experience than the first game. A lot more detail was put into the graphics; details like weather and time changes, improved speed blurs, all the way down to the insignias on the cars. The soundtrack is tuner orientated, and maintains that driving-music-but-street-with-it feel. NO ADDING TRACKS FOR XBOX (That I know of) :( sadness. Oh well you can't have it all.

This game has it all for any carhead or gamefan who wants to jump in a Civic or Mustang and throw down. This is what a tuner game should be. This should definitely hold you over till Midnight Club 3. A MUST MUST have. NO RENT! BUY ONLY! YOU WILL BE HAPPY IN THE LONG RUN.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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