Need for Speed: Underground 2 (Gamecube) Review
Last year Ea tried something new with there Need for Speed (NFS) franchise, they moved away from Hot Exotic Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, Porsches and other out of reach cars to Import Tuner Cars, Nissans, Honda’s, Fords, Toyota’s and other cars that are popular with the import tuner community were included. This year EA went with something a little different but still familiar by moving away from the Import Scene to the more broader “Tuner” Scene, this means EA was able to include a more broader range of cars such as Mustangs, SUVs (*groan*), the Pontiac GTO (which is really an Aussie Monaro but dont tell the yank that they get up set). So with all this movement to Generalised Tuning has the game improved over last years effort? Yes yes it has, in every aspect you can think of
The Graphics on the Gamecube Version of the Game are something of a mixed bag and something I would expect of a PS2 game (sorry PS2 owners it the truth) while the graphics are great there a still somethings you notice which makes it not as pretty as the Xbox or PC version, granted with the PC version you bump up the graphics to full force and resolution it does make the Gamecube Version a bit poorer. Along with some problems with the graphics is the Textures to buildings and surroundings, the texture quality of some buildings is so poor with blurred and unidentifiable features, I suppose EA though you would be cruising along at 200kmph however when you slow down and are just cruising around you can definitely notice it.
However that aside the city in which in the game takes place does look wicked! The Lights, Skyscrapers and distinct suburbs of the city set it apart from the last game. One complaint in Underground 1 was the fact that no matter were you raced everything looked the same, however with Bayview (the fictional city were the game takes place) split into 5 sections you can notice the change when you enter a new section. The Cars themselves look great, however some cars are missing smaller details such as door handles, and some cars such as the Supra and Skyline dont look right on the game however that seems to happen with Photo’s as well so you really cant complain.
The Menu’s in the game are fine however as a car nut I do have a complaint when you are modding the Performance parts in your car you cant see what if going on behind all the text, were as in the first game you could, And also I dont know if it is just the Cube version of the Game but the Movie are of Very Low Quality.
Also having Brooke Burke in the Game is definitely not doing the game any disadvantages.
Music, lets get this rubbish out the way quick, In My Opinion there is only two good songs on the game one being Black Betty by Spider bait and the other one is the Riders on the Storm one. My Tip is to just turn the music down in the options and listen to your engine. And no matter what you say about the main song in the menu last year it just doesnt feel the same without out.
However one section were EA have improved is how the cars sound, unlike last year were every car at sounded very similar, however with the inclusion of V8’s and SUVs you can tell the difference’s (well I can). The sound of the NOS and Turbo is perfected with the blow off valves on the car coming at the same as they should in real life. However while driving around you will get calls from people (randoms, unlike Brooke Burke who can call me anytime) telling you of hidden races which dont appear on your map and this can get very annoying after a while.
If you have played a NFS game before you know what to expect from the Handling of the Cars. NFSU2 has a good mixture of Arcade Handling and Realistic handling which a good mix for the type of Game Underground 2 is trying to be. However the sense of speed within the game, unless you car is modded to the max, is slow, not that slow that it is painfully slow like some other games out there (GT3, GT4 Prologue) but is a bit tedious when your car is acting like a dog. However its worth saying that there is no other game you can plant the car have it smoke up, rip up the handbrake throw a couple of 180’s and then snakie it up the street over and over again 🙂
One of the most touted parts of NFU is back, yes thats right the customisation! There are 1000’s of exterior parts to apply to your ride and they’re all easy to put on and mix and match. Everything on the car except for the interior (you can edit the boot but thats not the interior) can be edited spoilers, hoods, front guards, rear guards, taillight, headlights, headlight colours, side skirts, exhausts, neons, rims, spinners, window tinting, audio and NOS in the boot, even your HUD can be edit with a different style dial, also the Vinyls and Decals are back because remember you cant get enough stickers on your car. However all of those Ive listed there is still more which I wont go into yet, but you must also remember that its not all unlocked at the start and you must start off with a pretty funky (meaning bad) car.
EA has done a good job in making the huge city in NFSU however the lack of Pedestrians and anything resembling human in the city it feels like an empty shell. Also I feel the EA has tried to make the game longer by adding in these driving to part A of the city to part B of the city. However getting there is tedious and when using the freeways there is often not enough exits and youll find yourself at 200kmph zooming past the exit or passing over the point were you have to get it to and the exit is ages away. Navigating Bayview, reading SMS’s, starting outrun races and checking your stats is all done by the dpad. The left D-pad allows you to look up all the available race’s and events and there turn the GPs to home in on them which can cut the time it takes to get to event to event.
This game is easily a 40+ Hour Game there is sooooo much too it, you will finish the story line rather quick however exploring and unlocking is the name of the game and with five stages, five major city sections, and hundreds of races within those sections there is plenty to keep you occupied. The Split screen mode is rather fun and good for a quick bash however as you know already there is no online mode for the Cube Version. However with its $69 price point it is definitely the console version to buy however if you had a capable PC I would recommend you get then PC Version.
Need for Speed Underground 2 is a huge improvement over it predecessor, however the games world is massive and open, filled with many more courses that before, now this is a good thing however the city is actually maybe a bit big and you will find yourself just driving from event to event which does get tedious after a while. However the game is actually fun and if you into Tuning and Driving or even if your not there is nothing like making your own unique car and fanging it around a make believe city. Forget the tiny faults in this game and just go have fun! $69 is a small price to pay for the amount of fun this game will bring you.