Need for Speed Underground 2
Recently the Need for Speed franchise got an infusion of playable when the game franchise welcomed it’s newest incarnation, Need for Speed Most Wanted, which not only became the first Need for Speed on a next gen (XBox360), but it also became the first utilizing a never before seen game engine for the little GBA which used 3D racing (a first for the GBA) and not recycled Spy Hunter style overhead camera angles for the races (and welcome addition to the GBA lineup whose only past racer with 3D racers being Banjo Pilots)! But this, of course, isn’t Most Wanted. This is Underground 2, whose story is very non existent, gameplay is so-so, and has mini game slash extra content that just isn’t worth it.
You think a Nintendo DS version of the Need for Speed franchise would be… well… at least passable, but this is barely that if anything! You start off with two selectable vehicles out of a total of 18, which is kind of slim for a street racer (even the underwhelming Midnight Club for the GBA offered more than double the vehicles as this game, even if they were generic vehicles), and your off to the races. Image 1 of 3. Click to enlarge
However, while the game is abit light on choices these choices are actually somewhat interesting since, for one, these choices are of actual cars from actual major car companies (for starters). Second good thing is that you have a small degree of upgradability to your vehicles
Image 1 of 3. Click to enlarge
The next thing to focus on is the tracks. There are only a few tracks here to run, which is not bad but… well… could have been better (I.e. could have had a few more choices to race on). The tracks do try at times to instill greater variety by having you start races at different points of the track (so if you aren’t paying attention you’d believe they were new tracks), so I guess that’s something to fool you into thinking there was some variety in the levels… right?
As for storymode… uh… is there actually a story in this game? I didn’t find any nor do I believe there is a story in this game. That’s OK, feel free to make up your own story if you must have a storymode.
Otherwise besides a thin picking of tracks there are a thin picking of race modes. Again since this is a handheld I guess that’s expected, so just remember that.
Oh, also there is supposed to be mini game content, but the mini games (which are supposed to help enhance your vechile’s performance) just aren’t very good. I mean why am I playing a boring keep the dot in the middle of a stock market style pointy red/blue zone of “overheating problems” which you have to stay clear of in order to keep from overheating… that sounds, and is, boring. If I had a choice of mini games I wish the minigames were actually… well… fun. Hey, while I’m at it I wish this game had some innovative mini games worth playing, but these games… not so much on the innovative.
Otherwise the bells and whistles pass that are not very interesting. Oh, Underground 2 does offer up a use for the stylus (pass the lame mini games) which has you custom creating your own decals for your car, but if you remember doing your own custom designs for Animal Crossing : Wild World you know what to Image 2 of 3. Click to enlarge
Image 2 of 3. Click to enlarge
What you see is what you get. There is no depth to the game, no hooks to keep you playing, and very little other than a need for speed that’ll make you play this… except that falls short too. Racing in Underground 2 can’t even deliver the slightest sense of “speed” whatsoever, which (good luck) can easily be stopped since clipping things can either spin you out or bring you to a dead stop. What? You wanted explosions and car smash-ups ala Burnout : Revenge? Get Burnout : Revenge then if you want that out of your game, you won’t find that here in Underground 2. Apparently your vehicle is made out of some material that doesn’t break, since I’ve overused and overhandled my vehicle in races and it has yet to explode, or even breakdown or whatever. I can’t even seem to break out the vechile’s windshields (which sucks).
Oh, and did I tell you that the races are not that exciting, right? Right.
Need for Speed : Underground 2 is, yes, a game that only for the most street racing deprived people out there will even be humoring because, well, while the die hard racer might (yes might) forgive this game’s failings just so they can feed their Vin Diesel street legal monkey on their back, we casual players might not be so forgiving. Of course if the game offered up a buffet of WiFi Connection online play we might be talking a different story (like Mario Kart DS), but since it doesn’t then why bother with this. Get Mario Kart DS if you want to race online with your pals.
OK, let’s give the breakdown to this car which is breaking down as it crosses the finish line.
Need for Breakdown Underground 2 Image 3 of 3. Click to enlarge
Not much. I mean with Mario Kart DS and Need for Speed Most Wanted out there (or Burnout Revenge) I don’t see why you’d want to settle for less with Underground 2. I mean even if you can find this for a nice low price you might want to think twice about this.
Only the most seriously die hard racing fans should even think of buying this since, at least to
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I think I said it already but one more time.
The game could be more exciting, could have more variety, could have better mini games, could make me actually care about wanting to play this game to 100% completion by making it actually addictive to play, need I say more?
The game is not for the casual racing curious types. If you want a first taste into the genre for the DS then go get Mario Kart DS. As far as your first taste goes it’ll entertain you far more than games like this.
Moments to Remember?
Uh… not much.
What to Ignore?
I’d like to ignore how it took me several times playing this before the game FINALLY saved! I mean I had to input a name AND pick a car and do the first things over and over again before it FINALLY saved! I don’t know what I did wrong that kept it from saving, or what I did right that it did save, but I’d rather not try to figure it out since… well… I’m on all that interested in learning what I did right or wrong.
The game could have used an obvious “save” option for those of us who don’t want to tap into the power of the force in order to save our game.
If you live, breathe, eat, drink, sleep and talk street racing then you probably already have this in your collection. If not, and you are not that die hard a personality for this sort of thing, then get something better. Mario Kart DS, Need for Speed : Most Wanted (I think it’s on the DS) or Burnout Revenge… ditto, I think I remember this on the DS. By the way, don’t take it as gospel truth about Most Wanted, I only know the GBA version looks far better than Midnight Club (which I reviewed once), so I’m hoping that translates into good gameplay… maybe you should read some reviews on it before you get it.
As for this… eh… Mario Kart DS looks good.
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