NFS Underground 2: First Impressions

We go hands-on with EA's hugely enticing sequel to bring you impressions and fruity high quality media from both impressive trailers. Plus: The babes!

The best selling game in the UK last year was not Pro Evolution Soccer 3. It wasn't Manhunt, or FIFA 2004. It wasn't even Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. No, the best selling game of 2003 was EA's Need for Speed Underground. Little surprise then that a sequel is imminent.

Upon first picking up the controller, what's immediately obvious is the slick veneer of gloss that coats Need for Speed Underground 2's game world. The cars shine, the traffic lights incandesce, and the wet-tar glistens in the moonless night light. The world immediately exudes a sense of coolness and illegitimacy, just the thing when you're racing around crowded city streets in highly modified racers.

The next facet that slaps you across the face is the pervasive in-game advertising that permeates the game. You don't get text messages on your phone, you get SMSes on your Cingular handset. If ever you needed proof that in-game advertising is the next big thing (outside of sports games, that is, which have had it forever) this is it. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing, as it does go a long way towards actualising the experience, putting you in the neon overalls as you take to the streets in your car, made up just the way you want it.

Your first look at Kelly Brook and Brooke Burke as "Nikki" and "Rachel" in Need for Speed Underground 2. Mmmm.

The licensed cars handle well, though there is a certain lack of weight to them. They float across the road and the controls aren't quite as responsive as the possibly could be. That said, this isn't a simulation, and the mechanics work in the context of the game.

The build we played recently allowed you to cruise around the teeming midnight streets of the game's sprawling city setting. Only one of the five neighborhoods that will comprise the final game was available, but there was still plenty to see. Text messages are received while you're driving around, inviting you take part in various types of races. These range from short-course jaunts through closed-off areas to on-the-streets high speed pursuits sure to draw the ire of any attentive traffic police out there.

Early concept art shows the vision of sprawling cities in NFSU2.

One of the big draws of NFSU2 is the extensive car modification. Sadly, the blaring bedlam that is the floor of a videogame show is hardly the place to spend quality time with these features, but we did see the garages strewn across the city where you'll be able to tinker with the innards and facade of your autos to your heart's content. According to the EA representatives on the floor, there will be over 70 billion different variations available to gamers. Needless to say, we didn't manage to even perturb the surface.

EA is making a name for itself as a company that sticks to what it does but does it better every year. Need for Speed Underground 2 is no different. Everything about the game alludes to the attention that's gone into making this a wholly better experience than last year.

Need for Speed Underground 2 is set for release on PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and PC in November, with a Game Boy Advance release to follow.

See more of "Kelly" and "Brooke" at Kikizo Babes.

Alex Wollenschlaeger
Editor, Kikizo Games

Video Coverage
(See Latest Videos & Video FAQ Here)
Need for Speed Underground 2
NEW - best quality hi-res version of trailer (640x480, 2Mbps, 60fps)
1.42m 25.5 MB WMV
Need for Speed Underground 2
Intriguing new trailer in which cars race all over a woman's body. (640x480, 1.2Mbps)
1.13m 10.0MB WMV

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