|modes= Single player, Multiplayer
|platforms= Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, GBA, DS, Mobile phone, PlayStation Portable
|media= CD, DVD, GCN Game Disc, GBA Cartridge, DS Game Card
|input= PC: Keyboard, Mouse, or USB Steering Wheel/Gamepad
Need for Speed: Underground 2 (NFSU2) is a cross-platform racing video game published and developed by Electronic Arts. Released in 2004, it is the sequel to Need for Speed: Underground, and is part of the Need for Speed series, available on GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance and Windows. It was developed by EA Black Box.
The game is based around tuning cars for street races, resuming the Need for Speed: Underground storyline. Need for Speed: Underground 2 provides several new features, such as a broader customization, new methods of selecting races, the "explore" mode (just driving around freely, like the Midnight Club series, in a large city known as "Bayview"). Underground 2 also introduces several SUVs, which could be customized as extensively as other Underground 2 vehicles and used to race against other SUV racers. Brooke Burke is the voice of Rachel Teller, the person who guides the player through the story.
On the Nintendo DS installment, users are able to design custom decals to adorn any vehicle in the game.
The PSP equivalent is Need for Speed: Underground Rivals.
Need For Speed Underground 2 takes place in Bayview after the events of Need for Speed: Underground. The prologue begins with the player driving in a Nissan Skyline in Olympic City, the setting of NFS:UG (though the racing scenes are actually in Bayview). He then receives a race challenge from a rather ominous personality who offers him a spot on his crew, but "won't take 'no' for an answer." The player races off — despite Samantha's warnings — only to be ambushed by a mysterious driver in a rage that totals his Skyline. The driver, who has a unique scythe tattoo, makes a call confirming the accident, and the flashback fades out.
Fast forward to the present day, where we see the player arriving in Bayview via airplane, with a note from Samantha referring him to her friend Rachel (voiced by Brooke Burke), who will set the player up there. He also has the keys to Rachel's Nissan 350Z, which is waiting for him outside the airport. The player then has the option to complete a few races in the car before inevitably returning it to the car lot, where Rachel will give him an earful for being late before allowing him to choose his first vehicle. This one is free, as it was paid for by the player's insurance from his totaled Skyline.
It is then that the player embarks on a quest to become the top racer in Bayview and eventually take down the man who sabotaged his ride in the flashback, who turns out to be Caleb. After winning many races, the player runs into Caleb's street racing crew, The Wraiths. The crew has the same vinyl, paint, and rim set. The player challenges them to a series of URL (Underground Racing League) races and eventually gets Caleb's second in command, Nikki, to join his side. Rachel tells the player that Caleb has been manipulating the sponsorship deals throughout Bayview towards him. After the player beats the Wraiths, an infuriated Caleb challenges the player to one final race in his custom Pontiac GTO. The reward for beating the game is all cars and almost all parts but the player unfortunately does not get Caleb's GTO. But, in order to beat the game at 100%, the player must go back and race the events on the World Map in the player's Garage. In the beginning of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, a player is entering Rockport from the Underground racing scene, a connection between Underground 2 and Most Wanted.
| Rachel Teller
| Samantha's best friend and the player's helper, mentor and part time agent. Rachel will call the player, via SMS, throughout the game letting the player know about unlocks, upgrades, sponsorships, and racing tips. She drives a Nissan 350Z. She is mentioned in Undercover.
| Caleb Reece
|A dangerous street racer who totaled the player's car and leader of The Street Reapers. Caleb controls most of the underground racing in Bayview. He drives a Pontiac GTO. He is mentioned in Undercover.
| Niki Morris
| A female member of the Street Reapers crew who will join the player after he beats her in a URL race. She drives a Modified Ford Mustang GT and is voiced by model Kelly Brook.
In addition to the racing modes included in the previous Underground game (Circuit, Sprint, Drag and Drift races), 4 new variations of races have been provided in Underground 2. One racing mode was dropped, this being the Knockout competitions. Still, a Lap Knockout option is available when racing Circuit in non-career races.
A circuit race is a standard race that involves up to four cars driving around a track that loops back to the start line of itself. A circuit race is typically a maximum of four laps and minimum of 2 laps. A sprint race is just like a circuit race except that the track does not loop back to the start line. It's a race from A to B involving a maximum of four vehicles, and because of the track design there is only one lap. Drifting is one of the easier types of racing (depending on difficulty level) in Need for Speed Underground 2. One difference to the drifting mode compared to the original Need for Speed Underground is that the player drifts with the other competitors at the same time. Players race against a maximum of three competitors. Points are awarded when the player successfully slide the car and finishes the drift without hitting any walls.Like the Street X mode in Underground 2, no nitrous oxide is allowed. There are also some special downhill drift races where the player starts at the top of a hill and has to slide down from top to bottom, a drifting equivalent of a sprint race (from point A to point B). In these races, there are no other racers, however there is normal city traffic. Players increase their points by sliding past city cars. Drag racing is a point-to-point race that forces players to use a manual transmission. Steering in this mode is simplified to simply allow for line changes, while the game handles the steering along the lines, and the player focuses more on maintaining an optimum speed for the car. The Nitrous Oxide meter is enlarged and displayed on the bottom right of the screen.
While cruising around the city, players can challenge other cruising opponents in a one-on-one race. The leader is given the freedom to pick his/her racing route, and must attempt to outrun the opponent and distance itself from him/her to as much as 300 meters (1000 feet) to win. This racing formula is similar to that of Tokyo Xtreme Racer and Wangan Midnight video games, which uses health bars instead of distance to determine the winner. Once a certain amount of victories have been won by player in certain levels, the player is awarded a unique part free of charge by another racer.
SUVs, also known as Sport utility vehicles, was a new element added to Need For Speed: Underground 2. In this mode, players could modify, tune, and drive SUVs in the same manner as they could with normal cars. Players could choose to race in an event with SUVs only or in a mix of Cars and SUVs. Like cars, users are able to add on parts to SUVs to increase their performance and handling, however, the added weight of SUVs makes them much harder to maneuver, especially at higher speeds. SUVs were not featured in any later editions of the Need For Speed series (except as non-playable police vehicles), thus making them exclusive to Need For Speed: Underground 2.
The URL is a set of tournaments which takes place in a specific set of closed tracks outside city streets - either actual racing circuits or airport runways. URL tournaments typically consist of one to three races, with the player racing against five opponents. In tournaments with two or more races, a points system is used. At the end of each race, drivers receive a specific amount of points according to their standing in a race. The total score at the end of these races determines the winner of the tournament.
Need For Speed Underground 2 had online multiplayer capability on PlayStation 2 with broadband connections, and Xbox using Xbox Live. EA's online service has since been disabled, the last servers going offline in 2007.
As in Need for Speed: Underground, Underground 2 continues to offer similar vehicles for purchase and modification, most of which consist of Japanese models, with a sizable number of European and American models. In addition, Underground 2 is the only game in the Need for Speed series to date to offer three SUVs as racing vehicles, which may be modified more extensively than their compact counterparts. A total of 29 vehicle models are available for both versions of the game plus 2 unique for each of them, the PAL version of the game offers an additional two cars (Peugeot 106 and Opel Corsa) while the NTSC version offers two different alternatives (Acura RSX and Honda Civic).
Customization in Underground 2 was significantly expanded compared to previous iterations from the series. Visual customization has expanded with the ability to customize the car’s front and rear bumpers, side skirts, spoiler, hood, exhaust tips, doors, roof scoop, wheels (including the ability to put on spinners), headlights and taillights, side mirrors and paint. Vinyls and decals can also be added, as well as car stereos (amps and speakers), hydraulics, nitrous bottles and Underglow neon. Most visual modifications to the car have no actual effect on vehicle performance. The sound systems, for example, could be put in the trunk of cars, but served no purpose other than visual cues. The performance and handling of the car is affected by cosmetic modifications like spoilers and hoods, which affect the downforce of the car.
The car’s performance can also be enhanced by upgrading the car’s engine, engine control unit (ECU), transmission, suspension, adding nitrous oxide, tires, brakes, reducing the car’s weight, and adding turbos. The player has the ability to either upgrade the performance through upgrade packages or by purchasing individual parts of each performance category.
NFS: Underground 2 also introduces a dyno-tuning system which allows players to specifically tune certain aspect of the car such as suspension springs, front / rear shocks gear ratios, aerodynamics, brake bias, individual tire grip, etc. The player could then test the setting via a dyno test at which point they would be given specific information such as 0 – 60 time, max torque, etc.
The game sold 9 million copies, and entering the "best-sellers" of each console (PS2's Greatest Hits, Xbox's Platinum Hits and GameCube's Player's Choice).
Reviews were positive, but many elements were criticized, such as having to drive excessive amounts to get to specific races, bland voice acting and strong product placement for companies with no connection to auto racing, such as integrating the logo for Cingular, an American wireless communications company, into the game's messaging system and displaying it on-screen for much of the gameplay. The GameCube version was also criticized for its unstable frame rate and inferior graphics. The hip-hop slang used by the characters (such as calling the money "bank"), the comic book cut scenes, and a lack of police also garnered criticism.