EA Canada
EA
Racing
1-2 (1-6)
11.15.04

Need for Speed Underground 2


EA is a company that has proven to many gamers that their games are the best. One fine example of a great EA game, that never loses one's interest playing and while taking a break from gameplay, is Need for Speed Underground 2. When I was running errands for myself, I had the intense gameplay on my mind and I couldn't wait to get back home to play the game. I don't know how EA always seems to do it, but they have once again heightened my respect toward purchasing more of their EA Sports and EA Games.

Graphics

Out of every racing game I have played, I have never felt as though I was really racing. That is what this game brings to you. I'm going to mainly talk about the career mode in this game, because that is where all the action and strategy is. The exciting part of this game is that you win money for each race. The more money you collect, the more fun it is to pick and choose what will be your new addition to your car (by unlocking everything). I like how when you crash in this game, there is a crash, but you can continue racing with your car intact. I hate it in other games where you are racing a good game, slip, and then have to finish the race at a slower pace while car door is hanging off the hinges. I enjoy the bad weather in this game, such as rain. You have to realistically make changes to your driving style due to the slick roads. There is a little amount of dialogue where you are basically racing under Rachel (Brooke Burke). Now if she isn't a good motivator in the game, then you better invite over your feminine friend Dennis. All the cars in this game look as they do on the streets. After hooking these cars up, they give you a better sense of what they may look like in reality. The driving is insane. I promise you, that you will be playing the game nonstop. The game is challenging while starting you off with Brooke Burke's 350Z. She expects you to meet up with her over at the garage to deliver her car back to her. My advice is to race as many races that the game will allow you with her car to build up your bank account. Because after you finally do meet up with her, you will have a crappy car to start off with until you progress through the game. The car may be slow at first, but the graphics make up for it. However, you will find yourself in a fast car in no time.

The graphics in this game are just as good, if not better than racing in the arcades. Everything in this game is easy to follow and pick up on. If you get sick of using your map, then you can activate your GPS system. This enables a big blue arrow that appears on the screen and directs you to destination X. All of the little red icons you will find throughout the game give you money and tips about the gameplay. You can find hidden money separately from the icons and if you listen to what your buddy has to say (he calls you a lot throughout the game). You can also find pick up races that aren't displayed on the map. The map basically lists all the shops, races, and the main town names. There aren't many people on the streets; except for the chicks you will see waving their flags before every race. Vision while driving is very clear. The graphics, as far as weather change are sick and the graphics of the car's appearance after each time you add to them are insane. There isn't anything that offsets me or makes me dislike the graphics in this game. Which is impressive!

Gameplay

The gameplay will suck you in and keep you playing for sectors of hours. As I said before, the game starts you off slow, but only to prepare you for an intense, fast- paced game playing atmosphere. The controls are simple to get used to. Basically R is your gas, L is reverse/ brake, A is the E-brake, and B is the nitrous (first you need to unlock the nitrous and install it before you can use it). When putting parts into your car, keep in mind it is cheaper to buy the packages they have to offer. As for building a faster car, make sure you install the packages in numeric order. There is the option to drive stick or automatic in the game, but automatic is what I preferred in the end. The modes in this game are career, quick race, 2-player split screen, Xbox Live (online play), and the customize feature which allows you to build up any car you want at no cost. The only downsides are that you can only use what you have unlocked, and you can only race the car in quick race mode. When racing, you will notice that everything you need will be displayed on the screen. The SMS is on the top left, the mini map is on the bottom left, and the tach and speed meters are located to the bottom right. Another key to the career mode is building up your visual rating to 10 stars. Every 1 full point you build up, your rating will result in unlocking a magazine cover, which you have to earn. You first need to find the star on the map. After you locate it and arrive to it, they will give you a certain amount of time to reach another destination where the photo shoot for your car will take place. After successfully completing this, you will have the option to take a picture of your car. You can drive around manually, show-off (which allows you to take a picture under the hood, in the trunk, or to pop open the doors), or simply snap a quick picture. The only other time you will use the star on the map is the result of a victory in a pick-up race, which I will get into later in this review. To build your visual rating, you need to change your vinyl's (where you have a top layer, bottom layer, and two middle layers), paint (you can paint almost anything and everything on your cars), decals (these can be sorted up to 18 different areas along the side and door paneling), custom gages, neon's (underneath the car, under the hood, or in the trunk), window tint, lights, nitrous purge, hydraulics, trunk audio, spinners, split-hoods, doors, front/rear bumpers, side skirts, spoilers, roof scoops, headlights, tail lights, side mirrors, exhaust tips, rims, carbon fiber (you can turn everything carbon fiber), or wide body skirts (which is one of the last things to be unlocked, but a great addition to the car). All of these parts can be purchased at the graphics, car specialty, or body shops.

The game is awesome because there are thousands of adjustments and advancements to be made to your car inventory. The most you can hold in your inventory is five cars. Keep in mind that if you hook up a car and decide to trade it in down the line, you will lose all the money you put into your car. In the career mode, there are many races to be accomplished. They range from circuits, drags, drifts, sprints, street x's, to URL's (which are the races where you make the most money, but may have more than 1 race). On the map, you are always the green triangle. As I was saying before, you can find a pick-up race by locating any of the yellow triangles floating around and pushing up on the directional button when they flash their brakes at you. These racers are willing to run with you at any time and at any place. If you successfully beat them and make a name for yourself, they will eventually give you offers for free (new) parts to add to your car. This is the only other time a star will appear and you will have to locate their shop of choice within the time limit. The positive side to this is that magazine covers look at you when you have new parts that nobody else has. However, if you do lose some of these races, which you will, you will lose some money from your bank. These are the only races that you can't retry and not risk losing money from. One other shop that I didn't mention that you can visit is the performance shop. The performance shop contains parts for your engine (ECU, transmission, suspension, nitrous, tires, brakes, weight reduction, and turbo). After making a purchase to quicken your car, you can test it out by selecting the performance tuning/dyno option. As I said, this game is off the hook and it will amaze you with how detailed it is.

Sound

The music that the game provides is very good, and it fits the game perfectly. You can, however, choose your custom music. The sounds of the cars are also very interesting. They sound like they do in real life. You can actually hear the difference of your engine when you hook it up. The best part is that no two cars sound the same. This game didn't slack off in any department. Even the sound is Grade "A" quality.

Replay Value

You will play this game over and over. It's going to come to the point where you understand what it's like to be a heroin addict. It is worth every penny. Years from now this game will still be one of the best racing games. The only game that will probably be better is the next Underground game they decide to make. Definitely add this game to your collection. Out of the many games I have reviewed, this game gets one of the highest rankings by far.

Bottom Line:

I have actually put this game into comparison with almost as great as a game as Madden. This game is the Madden of racing games. It blows every other racing game out of the competition. If you buy this, you will be addicted and happy to have finally received your money's worth on a game. I was so addicted, I raced my 350Z on the highway and crashed it into a goddamn guardrail. Well I didn't crash because of the game (and I wasn't racing)…but I did hit the goddamn guardrail. There isn't much more I can say, the rest is up to you. If you love fast cars and top of the line graphics, then this game is for you. Need for Speed Underground 2, it's not just a game; it's a commitment to life for the lovers of racing.

Related Links:

Official Need for Speed Underground 2 Website

-Bobby Bernauer




9.5
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