Need for Speed Underground 2 E3 2005 Hands-On

We nitro-burn our way through an E3 build of Need for Speed Underground 2.

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Need for Speed Underground 2 is a V-Cast port of last year's street racing game. V-Cast phones are powerful enough to pretty closely approximate a console experience, and NFS:U2 mobile appears to do just that. The game is fully polygonal and runs at a decent clip.

The game opens with a lengthy prerendered CG cinematic, featuring the cars, the girls, and the mayhem. Brooke Burke makes an appearance, which will appeal to people who like Brooke Burke. We selected our vehicle and jumped into the action right away.

The basic requirement for a racing game is that it impart a sense of speed. EA has wisely focused on this element. Need for Speed's liberal use of a blur effect makes the game feel much faster than it really is. The game's physics are hardly realistic, and collision detection still felt a bit off in our build, but the controls were fairly responsive.

Apart from frame rate issues, it would be tough to fault Need for Speed's visuals. The cars have been meticulously modeled, and all sport great highlights (although they don't actually reflect anything). Need for Speed's urban environment demands a lot of graphical processing power, and it looks like the VX8000 and EA's engine deliver. The sound was inaudible in EA's jam-packed booth, however.

If EA can fix Need for Speed Underground 2's jittery frame rate, Asphalt: Urban GT will have some stiff competition on V-Cast. NFS:U2 will hit decks in the third quarter of this year.

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