It's more expansive than the original, but not as thrilling.

User Rating: 8.5 | Need for Speed Underground 2 (Greatest Hits) PS2
"Need for Speed Underground 2" is one of those sequels that expands upon the original in every way. Yet, it's not exactly an improvement. It has better graphics, a smoother framerate, deeper customization options and the addition of SUVs and the ability to own more than one car. Now you can modify your vehicle by running it on a test track to maximize its performance. Thanks to the GTA-inspired, open-ended city; players now have control over which races they wish to participate in. There are five areas in the fictional city of "Bayview" and they all have their very own distinct look and feel. The new race types include downhill drifting, Outrun, "Street-X", SUVs and URLs (the Underground Racing League). Car shops, hints, free money icons, shortcuts and some races are hidden throughout the city which gives the game an exploration aspect.

A very helpful map, message system and statistics screen are easily accessible. Nitro can now be refilled by driving dangerously like in the "Burnout" games. Also, finished races can be seen in multiple angles during the Replay mode (NFSU 1 lacked this option). The total number of impressive vehicles which can be unlocked is 30. I enjoyed the story's stylized presentation; graphic novel-like panels which are similar to the ones found in "Max Payne". There's also a showcase mode, where a photographer offers an opportunity to take a picture of your ride. Online and split-screen racing challenges are included. Overall, this is a good racing game, but the racing itself had a better sense of speed in the first game. Also, traveling to the races can be a chore after awhile. Still, I'd grade it a 'B'.