Need for Speed: Underground 2
|Need for Speed: Underground 2|
|Series||Need for Speed|
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube & Game Boy Advance
NA November 9, 2004 (PC)
NA November 15, 2004
EU November 19, 2004
JP December 22, 2004
AUS July 27, 2005 (PS2)
|Mode(s)||Single player, Multiplayer|
Need for Speed: Underground 2 (NFSU2 or NFSUG2) was a cross-platform racing video game and the eighth installment in the popular Need for Speed driving game series published and developed by Electronic Arts. Released in 2004, it is the direct sequel to Need for Speed: Underground, and is part of the Need for Speed series, available on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. Like its predecessor, it was also commercially successful, and sold four million copies worldwide.
The game entails tuning cars for street races, resuming the Need for Speed: Underground storyline. Need for Speed: Underground 2 provides several new features, such as a broader customization, new methods of selecting races, the "explore" mode (just driving around freely, like the Midnight Club series, in a large city known as "Bayview"). The City Center was based on Philadelphia, Beacon Hill was based on Beverly Hills and Coal Harbor was based on Camden, New Jersey, and Bayview as a whole is a microcosm of the west coast of the United States. Underground 2 also introduces several SUVs, which could be customized as extensively as other Underground 2 vehicles and used to race against other SUV racers. Brooke Burke is the voice of Rachel Teller, the person who guides the player throughout the game.
In addition to the racing modes included in the previous Underground game (Circuit, Sprint, Drag and Drift races), four new variations of races have been provided in Underground 2. One racing mode was dropped, this being the Knockout competitions. Still, a Lap Knockout option is available when racing Circuit in non-career races. Underground 2 is unique among the games in the Need For Speed series in that it requires players to drive to a certain place in the city in order to begin a race (other games allow the player to select a race from a menu). Most races are marked on the in-game radar, but some are hidden and the player must search for them, should he decide to play them.
A circuit race is a standard race that involves up to four cars driving around a track that loops back to the start line of itself. A circuit race is typically a maximum of four laps and minimum of 2 laps. A sprint race is just like a circuit race except that the track does not loop back to the start line. It's a race from A to B involving a maximum of four vehicles, and because of the track design there is only one lap. Street X races are similar to Circuit races, but they take place on closed courses similar to Drift races.
Drifting is one of the easier types of racing (depending on difficulty level) in Need for Speed Underground 2. One difference to the drifting mode compared to the original Need for Speed Underground is that the player drifts with the other competitors at the same time. Players race against a maximum of three competitors. Points are awarded when the player successfully slide the car and finishes the drift without hitting any walls. Like the Street X mode, no nitrous oxide is allowed. There are also some special downhill drift races where the player starts at the top of a hill and has to slide down from top to bottom, a drifting equivalent of a sprint race (from point A to point B). In these races, there are no other racers, however there is normal city traffic. Players increase their points by sliding past city cars. Drag racing is a point-to-point race that forces players to use a manual transmission. Steering in this mode is simplified to simply allow for lane changes, while the game handles the steering along the lanes, and the player focuses more on maintaining an optimum speed for the car. The Nitrous Oxide meter is enlarged and displayed on the left side of the screen.
The Underground Racing League (URL) is a set of tournaments which takes place in a specific set of closed tracks outside city streets - either actual racing circuits or airport runways. URL tournaments typically consist of one to three races, with the player racing against five opponents. In tournaments with two or more races, a points system is used. At the end of each race, drivers receive a specific amount of points according to their standing in a race. The total score at the end of these races determines the winner of the tournament.
While cruising around the city, players can challenge other cruising opponents in a one-on-one race(these are called "Outrun Races"). The leader is given the freedom to pick his/her racing route, and must attempt to outrun the opponent and distance themselves from him/her to as much as 300 metres (980 feet) to win.Winning these outrun races may get the player some bonus unique upgrades. This racing formula is similar to that of Tokyo Xtreme Racer and Wangan Midnight video games, which uses health bars instead of distance to determine the winner. Once a certain amount of victories have been won by player in certain levels, the player is awarded a unique part free of charge by another racer. These parts are necessary to achieve 100% completion of the game.
As in Need for Speed: Underground, Underground 2 continues to offer similar vehicles for purchase and modification, most of which consist of Japanese models, with a sizable number of European and American models. In addition, Underground 2 is the first game in the Need for Speed series to offer three SUVs as racing vehicles, which may be modified more extensively than their compact counterparts. Also, it is the second game in the Need for Speed series after Need for Speed: Underground to offer a Korean-made car (Hyundai Tiburon) as a racing vehicle. A total of 29 cars are available for both versions of the game plus 2 unique for each of them: the PAL version of the game includes the (Peugeot 106 and Vauxhall Corsa), while the NTSC version includes the (Acura RSX and Honda Civic).
Customization in Underground 2 was significantly expanded compared to previous iterations from the series. Visual customization has expanded with the ability to customize the car's front and rear bumpers, side skirts, spoiler, hood, exhaust tips, doors, roof scoop, wheels (including the ability to put on spinners), headlights and taillights, side mirrors and paint. Vinyls and decals can also be added, as well as car stereos (speakers, amplifiers & subwoofers), hydraulics, nitrous bottles and under glow neon. Most visual modifications to the car have no actual effect on vehicle performance. The sound systems, for example, could be put in the trunk of cars, but served no purpose other than visual cues. Hydraulics can be used in combination with nitrous at a start of a race which can cause a car to do a wheelie and for some cars get a better launch. The performance and handling of the car is affected by cosmetic modifications like spoilers and hoods, which affect the downforce of the car. All of these modifications are required for game completion.
The car's performance can also be enhanced by upgrading the car's engine, engine control unit (ECU), transmission, suspension, adding nitrous oxide, tires, brakes, reducing the car's weight, and adding turbos. The player has the ability to either upgrade the performance through upgrade packages or by purchasing individual parts of each performance category. NFS: Underground 2 also introduces a dyno-tuning system which allows players to specifically tune certain aspect of the car such as suspension springs, front and rear shock absorbers, gear ratios, aerodynamics, brake bias, individual tire grip, etc. The player could then test the setting via a dyno test at which point they would be given specific information such as 0–60mph (0–100km/h) time, max torque, etc.
SUVs, also known as sport utility vehicles, were a new element added to Need For Speed: Underground 2. In this mode, players could modify, tune, and drive SUVs in the same manner as they could with normal cars. Players could choose to race in an event with SUVs only, or in a mix of cars and SUVs. Like cars, users are able to add on parts to SUVs to increase their performance and handling. However, the added weight of SUVs make them much harder to maneuver, especially at higher speeds. SUVs were not featured in any later editions of the Need For Speed series (except as non-playable police vehicles) until 2012 with the remake of Most Wanted.
Need For Speed Underground 2 has online multiplayer capability on PlayStation 2's with broadband connections, PC, and Xbox using Xbox Live. EA shut down the online servers for PlayStation 2, PC, and Xbox making the multiplayer function of the game inoperable. However Gameranger has a supported version of Underground 2's multiplayer.
The player races around in his Nissan Skyline GT-R over Olympic City, the setting of Need for Speed: Underground. He then receives a race challenge from a rather ominous personality who offers him a spot on his crew, but "won't take 'no' for an answer". The player races off — Samantha calls the player to inform him about the party — only to be ambushed by a mysterious driver in a black Hummer H2, who blinds the player with his headlights, then totals the player's Skyline, and the flashback fades out.
Fast forward to the present, the player arrives in Bayview with the keys to a Nissan 350Z, which is waiting for him outside the airport. The Player is able to complete a few number of races before returning it to Rachel. After he arrives at the car lot in the city core district, he takes one of the cars for free, as it was paid for by his damaged Skyline.
It is then that the player embarks on a quest to become the top racer in Bayview and eventually take down the man who sabotaged his ride months ago. After winning many races and getting many sponsorships, the player runs into a street racing crew called The Wraiths. After winning against them, the player progresses until he hears more about the Wraiths, who have been manipulating sponsor deals in their favor (and against both the player and Rachel), before a URL (Underground Racing League) race. The player challenges them to a series of URL races and eventually gets to Caleb, who is the man responsible for wrecking the Skyline in the prologue. After the player beats The Wraiths in yet another URL race, an infuriated Caleb with his modified GTO challenges the player to one final race. The race is a 5-lap circuit race and only appears when you finish the last URL event. After Caleb is defeated, the player gets his role back as the best driver in Bayview.
- The Player - The main protagonist in the story. He drove an R34 GT-R months ago and is revealed to be a male character while flying on a jet arriving in Bayview.
- Rachel Teller - Samantha's best friend and the player's mentor and part-time agent. Rachel will call the player, via SMS, throughout the game letting the player know about unlocks, upgrades, sponsorships, and racing tips. She drives a green Nissan 350Z. She is mentioned in Undercover. Rachel is played by Brooke Burke.
- Caleb Reece - A dangerous street racer who is the leader of the Wraiths. Caleb controls most of the underground racing in Bayview. He is mentioned in Undercover and is portrayed by David Palffy.
- Nikki Morris - A female Wraith who will join the player after he beats her in a URL race. She drives a modified Ford Mustang GT and is voiced by model Kelly Brook.
- Capone - "I Need Speed"
- Chingy - "I Do"
- Christopher Lawrence - "Rush Hour"
- Cirrus - "Back on a Mission"
- Felix Da Housecat - "Rocket Ride (Soulwax Remix)"
- Fluke - "Switch/Twitch"
- Freeland - "Mind Killer (Jagz Kooner Remix)"
- Helmet - "Crashing Foreign Cars"
- Killing Joke - "The Death & Resurrection Show"
- Killradio - "Scavenger"
- Ministry - "No W"
- Mudvayne - " Determined"
- Paul van Dyk - "Nothing But You (Cirrus Remix)"
- Queens of the Stone Age - "In My Head"
- Rise Against - "Give It All"
- Septembre - "I Am Weightless"
- Skindred - "Nobody"
- Sly Boogy - "That'z My Name"
- Sin - "Hard EBM"
- Snapcase - "Skeptic"
- Snoop Dogg feat. The Doors - "Riders On The Storm (Fredwreck Remix)"
- Sonic Animation - "E-Ville"
- Spiderbait - "Black Betty"
- Terror Squad - "Lean Back feat Fat Joe, Remy"
- The Bronx - "Notice of Eviction"
- Unwritten Law - "The Celebration Song"
- Xzibit - "LAX"
Need for Speed: Underground 2 was met with positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PC version 83.50% and 82/100, the Xbox version 82.61% and 77/100, the PlayStation 2 version 80.77% and 82/100, the GameCube version 79.98% the Game Boy Advance version 69.45% and 72/100 and the Nintendo DS version 65.44% and 65/100. It is widely regarded as the one of the best games of the series (Along with Most Wanted) and is remembered for the quality of the gameplay, the length, the endless customization, the interesting side-missions, the graphics and the addition of "Free Run". However, some of its elements were criticized as well, such as having to drive excessive amounts to get to specific races, bland voice acting and strong product placement for companies with no connection to auto racing, such as integrating the logo for Cingular, an American wireless communications company, into the game's messaging system and displaying it on-screen for much of the gameplay. The GameCube version was also criticized for its unstable frame rate and inferior graphics. The hip-hop slang used by the characters (such as calling the money "bank"), the comic book cut scenes, and a lack of police also garnered criticism.
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