Need For Speed: Underground 2 - Xbox

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Need For Speed: Underground 2 (Xbox)
Also for: PC, PS2, GameCube
Viewed: 3D First-person / Third-person Genre:
Racing: Car
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: EA Canada Soft. Co.: Electronic Arts
Publishers: Electronic Arts (GB)
Released: 19 Nov 2004 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 3+
No Accessories: No Accessories


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Ooh, how excited were we when we heard this game was on its way, dear reader? Loud, shiny cars to be driven about an urban environment with a devil-may-care attitude and deafening music to boot. Erm, just another normal day in Anytown, UK then, surely? Ah, but for less than the price of a customised tax disc holder, you can own and keep the streets with Need For Speed Underground 2.

As any baseball-capped, Corsa-driving youth will know, competing in the Underground requires an eye-catching combination of speed and style. You can choose from hundreds of performance parts and visual customisation mods to make your ride look good and be a real mean machine beneath the bonnet. Your ride makes or breaks your reputation in the Underground, but nobody is gonna pay attention to a good-looking car if it's running last. So, while you peruse what's available from the outset - a Nissan, a Pontiac or a Peugot for example - don't think of your car as a finished article; think of it more as a blank canvas on which you can project your own personality. Your car can contribute to the all-important visual star rating. As you look more and more sleek and smooth, and your performance improves, up goes your star value and the money you can earn.

Visual mods come in many forms. You can choose from dozens of styles of rims, body kits, exhaust tips, spoilers, side mirrors and more. Your surfaces can be transformed with vinyls, by adding decals to the pearl, gloss or metallic paint job, and you can finish off with a window tint and neon undersides. Smart!

Tuner culture isn't just about how your ride looks. What's under the hood matters just as much, so in the game - as in real life - there is a plethora of aftermarket automotive enhancement available. At a price, of course. NFSU2 offers everything from weight reduction to nitrous oxide, via suspension kits and ECU fuel systems. Add these features to an already powerful motor, and keeping it under control could be the biggest challenge of all.

The gameplay and car handling hasn't changed an awful lot from Underground's first incarnation. The new location for NFSU2 - Bayview - is, however, a massive sprawl of an environment, and there's plenty of scope for exploration. Pootling around looking for a race challenge is one way of getting your kicks in the Underground. Increase your rep by performing to a high standard and you'll get more and more in-game text messages inviting you to compete in bigger and better races for bigger and better rewards.

With the marketing oomph of EA behind it, and a release on all current major platforms, NFSU2 cannot fail to sell in its hundreds of thousands. The boy racers will lap it up, and so will the wannabes. The final word on this game is that the XBox version is the one to get - if you simply must have it - because of the Live! facility and the fact that it knocks spots off the other console versions - especially the GameCube's - with regard to how it looks on your TV.


Need For Speed: Underground 2 - Xbox Artwork

Need For Speed: Underground 2 - Xbox Artwork