Review by Demon Slayer
"Better than the first? Yep. Best racer ever? Close."
When I had first played Need for Speed: Underground (the original), I loved it. I loved the way it immersed you in an exciting street racing frenzy and didn't let you go. Not only was the racing some of the most entertaining and fast-paced racing I had ever experienced (I loved the Gran Turismo games), but the amount of customization was awesome.
With the release of Need for Speed: Underground 2 (NFSU2), I was somewhat reluctant to buy it. A few questions were going through my head, mainly because I hadn't really followed the game to release (matter of fact, I didn't even know it was released, I had discovered it one day while visiting Wal-Mart). However, I decided to go through with it, and boy was it worth it; NFSU2 is the first one and a whole lot more.
The gameplay is just as fast and fun as the first one. However, due to some of the random crashes, walls, and spinouts that happen periodically, I am forced to lower the score by .5. Other than those few minor problems, the gameplay is great, and even includes a few new racing modes, including Street X (think small drift courses without the slick), Downhill Drift (a bit more tough, but fun), and the Underground Racing League (URL; it has a few Gran Turismo elements to it).
Okay, I'm sure you've seen screenshots and said "well, they aren't the best graphics," and I realize this. However, they are some of the best graphics I've seen in a racing game, and the car models are very awesome.
Sound is beautiful in terms of car sounds and the like, but sometimes the taunts of outrun drivers gets annoying. Not only that, but the "EA Trax" aren't so hot this time around, either. Custom soundtracks, where art thou?
I won't rate the story. A good racing game requires no story, and just because this game has one doesn't mean I'm going to score it. It won't be the deciding factor in whether or not you keep going through the game (that's usually your will to conquer the streets).
I apologize, but I have yet to play this game on Live! due to some unfortunate circumstances (like having moved into a new house and not had a chance to get my Xbox's ethernet cable connected to my router), but the only thing in my mind that could ruin the multiplayer experience is lag (and I don't even know if there is any).
The replayability of the game really depends on how much you enjoy it. I, personally, will probably play through it several more times, trying out different cars each time.
The extras and secrets in this game are pretty spectacular (I'm including all of the unlockable car parts in this category). You will most definitely enjoy collecting the various body modifications, accessories, and performance upgrades throught the game, not to mention the exclusive unique upgrades.
NFSU2 lives up to the first and also delivers a bundle of new features and cars. If you enjoy the racing genre, you will most definitely enjoy NFSU2 and everything it has to offer. I definitely recommend this game, and I'd suggest that you head down and buy it (unless you're still skeptic, then of course renting is perfectly acceptable).
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/29/04
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