Review by Schmidty3000

"A great game with very minor problems."

First let me say that I would have actually liked to give this a 9.6. With that out of the way, let's get on to the review.

The graphics in Underground are absolutely astounding. Everything looks very clean and crisp, minus a few jaggies on the top of your car. The lighting in the game is phenomenal. Almost every light in the game, except for the ones on the cars, seem to have a neon glow to them. The sense of speed is unparalleled by any game on the market. The blur effect that the game utilizes is superior to all racing games out. Add on top of that the screen shaking violently while going down the track at a hundred and fifty mph, and you got yourself one sick package. The cars themselves look exactly as they do in real life. That is to say until you fix them up to be your own. There are literally hundreds of after market parts to put on the cars, each one interchangeable (put them on any car). The amount of customization is astounding. The only problem that I see with the graphics are the rare pop ups of cars and buildings, and the split second freeze of the screen that can send you into a wall when it restarts you in a spot farther in front of where you were. Total, I give the graphics a 9.8/10.

The sound is great. I can't think of anything else to say about it. The music is customizable and you can even put your own songs in the game. All in all, the soundtrack has music for every crowd. The sfx in the game are better than any racing game I have played in recent history. The cars all sound realistic to the type of engine you have installed. Better yet, each car has a slightly different sound for the same engine configurations. Passing traffic at a hundred twenty gives a very convincing WHOOSH! sound. The engine also sounds somewhat distant as you get going really fast. The sound gets a perfect 10.

The gameplay is impeccable. The only problem with it is the rubber-band AI. EA seems to have overdone it a little bit, but it does give the game a little bit of a challenge. Many people complain that the game is too hard. Either they are not very good, or they have not realized that you can set the difficulty before every race. That is one thing that really helps those who have trouble. However, if you do want the challenge, as I do, leave it at hard and restart when you know that you cannot catch up. I almost forgot about the physics. The cars all react very realistically to the speed at which you are moving. My favorite part about the game is the drag race mode. The sense of speed is even better in drag races than in regular races. The controls are very easy to get a hold of, but very hard to master. You are rewarded for shifting at the perfect moment. If you don't however, you lose speed and have to use your precious nitrous. It will take a very long time to master the timing, but when you do, you will love the experience. Drift mode also gives a very unique feel to the game. You go around a slick track and try to rack up as many points as you possibly can by sliding around turns and also doing so in the bonus zones. This has got to be the hardest part of the game. Overall, the gameplay is solid with only a couple problems. 9.7/10

This game has a ton of replay value. You can go through the main part of the game several times and have the experience be different every time just by choosing a different car. With over twenty cars available, that is a lot of choices. Once in a while though, you may think that you have already done this and want to play something else. Replay value gets a 9.1/10.

Rent or Buy? Definitely a buy. If you like racing games, or just love speed, you need this game. This is, in my opinion, the best racing game of 2003.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/10/03

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