Need for Speed Underground 2 (NFSU2) is EA's tentative answer to Gran Tursimo mixed with Grand Theft Auto mixed with the Fast and the Furious films. Does it work? We took it out for a spin.
NFSU2 focuses on street racing, changing the safety of the track for the dangers and tight corners of the street. NFSU2 has avoided the pitfalls of pedestrians, but not on coming traffic and more often than not you find yourself approaching the last corner only for a camper van to get in the way and mess it up your impending victory.
As you might have gathered the aim is to win races on the street, upgrade your car and be happy with your supped up roadster. To encourage you down this never ending road of upgrade after upgrade you are given a rather slow uninteresting Peugeot 206 and it will take a couple of races under your belt just to earn enough cash to give it some street cred.
Winning races is certainly one way of doing it and it will earn you money (for the upgrades) and notoriety. The bigger your notoriety gets the more money you can earn at races and so on. Upgrades, as with all EA games are there to suck you in and everything from paint jobs to spoilers and engine blocks can be changed, adjusted and tweaked.
Races, body shops and other services can be found around the city and it's this element for us that really sells the game. Like the Grand Theft Auto series, you aren't restricted to a series of racecourses. You have free roam of the city, and because of it power to choose what you do and where you go next. Do you head over to the body shop in the east part of the city to get a new paint shop or simply enter the race happening in the south? It's entirely up to you.
Fans of The Fast and the Furious films will love this more than the rest of us but either way with what seems a never-ending supply of more cars, parts and respect to achieve this isn't for those looking for a quick driving fix.