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Need for Speed: Underground 2 

By

Reviewed

by

Lodic (Zynon)

  I picked up Need For Speed: Underground (the original) without any real expectations. I didn't have a PC racing game, and usually I enjoy racing games. I completely enjoyed the game and looked forward to playing the sequel when it came out.

System Requirements:

  • CPU: Pentium III 933 MHz or higher

  • RAM: 128 MB or higher, 256 MB or higher for XP

  • OS: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP

  • HD-space: at least 1000 MB

  • Graphics Card: 32 MB or higher, DirectX 9.0

Product Page

Price:  

Retail Price $39.99 for PC

Purchase Link EA Games

Features:

  • Free-Roaming City: Explore a massive city divided into five distinct, interconnected neighborhoods, ranging from serpentine suburban hills to an intense downtown grid. A complex series of drivable freeways connect the neighborhoods together.
  • Emergent Gameplay: Want to make a name for yourself in the underground? You'll need to find it first. Races can happen anywhere and at any time and as players encounter rivals on the street they'll be clued into where they can buy the hottest upgrades or enter the most elite events.
  • New Gameplay Modes: Three new gameplay modes are added to last year's circuit, drift and drag competitions, challenging gamers to hone their skills in a number of driving disciplines.
  • Performance Tuning: Tune every aspect of your car's performance with hundreds of licensed aftermarket performance upgrades and then fine-tune everything from the gear ratio to the suspension for the ultimate ride.
  • The Hottest Cars: More than thirty of the most sought-after tuner cars are available from the hottest manufacturers - from Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, and Toyota to Ford and Volkswagen, if they're hot on the street, they're in the game.
  • Visual Customization: With more than twice the visual customizations of last year's game, there are literally billions of car combinations available to gamers. Featuring audio upgrades, scissor doors, spoilers, headlights, side skirts, roof scoops, hoods, rims, wide body kits, neon and more, if you can trick it out in real life, you can trick it out in Need for Speed Underground 2.
  • Environmental Variety: Each of the five distinct neighborhoods in Need for Speed Underground 2 feature a unique look and feel, including varied driving conditions and track types. Road surfaces, real-time weather effects, and environmental hazards will keep gamers on their toes as they race from dusk till dawn.

Review:

  
  I think the game as a whole is really good. I've been playing through on Medium difficulty, and am on level 4 (Coal Harbor East). I think the addition having to drive around town to find and do stuff is great, like the Grand Theft Auto series. I've spent time just driving around aimlessly, and enjoying it! My wife even liked driving around doing nothing. There are a ton of areas to explore, and more become unlocked as you progress through the levels of the game. Using a Logitech Dual Action controller, the cars respond very well. EA also did a very smart thing, and disabled Stability Control by default, as most people complained about it from the demo.

  New to the sequel are the addition of new car models, a new mode called Street X (said "Street cross"), and many more modifications that can be done to your car. The Street X mode are regular races, except run on the Drift mode tracks. These require the utmost control as most turns are hairpins and you rarely get close to top speed. Yet they are intense and fun. A GPS system has been implemented, so that people won't get lost trying to make it from one race to another, but can be left off for those who like to explore and find their own way.

  What don't I like? Well, in the one actual racetrack I've encountered (in the URL races), it feels like your floating or gliding above the surface, especially from the "hood" camera angle. It just doesn't feel like that in the other races. The "hood" view just doesn't do it for me. I wanted it to, but I just couldn't stand it. The camera just doesn't allow for a full hood to be displayed, yet they try to fit the whole thing in, and it feels distorted. Also, as you get to the higher levels, the AI becomes ruthless, and has a few advantages that the player does not. Since your "reputation" score depends on margin of victory, this will frustrate some of the most veteran drivers.

  Another thing is that the level completion % doesn't accurately reflect "hidden" races. If you find a race that isn't on the map, and complete it in addition to all the other races you're supposed to complete, you'll receive over 100% for the level. I'd rather see the hidden races be factored in so it adds up to 100% when you're done, otherwise, you're not really sure you got them all.

  And the rain visualization effect seems to have been turned down graphically since the demo, maybe to save lower end systems from a significant performance hit. I still really like how the rain looks on my 6800GT. Also, the rear view mirror looks horrible. A lot worse than the demo, again, probably for lower end systems. I ended up just turning the rear view mirror off, because you really don't use it much, and if you need to look behind you, there is a button dedicated to that camera angle.

Conclusion:


  Overall, I'd give Need For Speed: Underground 2 five stars out of six. If you liked the first game, you'll love the sequel. People new to the series won't feel left out, since the introduction sums up the first game fairly well. I highly suggest if you like racing games, to give this one a shot. I don't think you'll be disappointed. 


Rating 5 out of 6 Stars

Review Date 11/18/04

Reviewer Ludic (Zynon)

 

 

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