Metascore
83

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. An awesome and unique racing game with truly blazzing speed.
  2. 91
    One of the most entertaining racing experiences ever, as was expected. Racing underground has been done before, but this game does it right. If you liked other NFS games, you will definitely love this installment.
  3. Pulling it all together is razor-sharp presentation, incredible city construction and track design, and a use of sound and mixed tunes that is unrivaled in the genre; praise to EA for bypassing the numbing of ill-placed techno. [Dec 2003, p.62]
  4. Combining the reckless, breakneck speed and high-impact collisions of "Burnout" with the neon-tipped street culture of Fast and the Furious (and, more specifically, "Midnight Club II"), Underground is the new definition of white-knuckle.
  5. The bevy of race types will keep people enthralled for hours. [Dec 2003, p.159]
  6. 90
    It's up there on the podium with "Ridge Racer Type 4" and "Daytona USA 2," contending for the title of very best ever.
  7. 90
    One main feature that clearly separates Underground from other street racers is its visual presentation. The nighttime glow in the metropolis does take some time to get used to, but the evening air quickly adds to the stunning scenery and detailed avenues as you travel at high RPMs.
  8. That break-the-mold game that longtime players of the franchise have been waiting for. And if you're already a street-rag reader, you have permission and reason to drool - just keep it off the AirFlow controller, please.
  9. 88
    But the real kicker here, and the focus of the whole experience, is customizing your ride. If you're not into that element, don't go out and try to buy this as a stand-alone racer. You really have to be dedicated to the car creation, and you have to have the patience for it.
  10. NFSU is not quite a groundbreaker in the racing department, but is certainly a top racer.
  11. Performance, of course, is more important than appearance, and Underground boasts better handling than any other arcade racer. It's also faster. [Jan 2004, p.118]
  12. 8 / 8 / 9 / 9 - 34 gold [Vol 785]
  13. While I can’t rank this title above my sentimental arcade racing favorite, "Burnout 2," I can tell you that this game is excellent and next year’s version will be the one to buy.
  14. 85
    Gamers looking for a more traditional arcade racer might need to approach NFSU with the following in mind -- it's tons of fun, it looks amazing, and it's best on PS2 due to the online portions, but be prepared to witness a perceptive lack of variety, and one huge-ass single-player challenge in order to get the most out of the game.
  15. Long on style and short on substance, but it does have enough going for it to be considered a very good racing game.
  16. 84
    If you’ve played a NFS title before and you’ve enjoyed it, you should take a good look at Underground because it gives you almost total control over the way your car looks and acts.
  17. On the GameCube, you can count the number of racing games on your right hand. And with the 480p support for HDTV owners, it's a racer that stands on the more realistic side of the fence across from "Mario Kart."
  18. The nighttime setting makes visibility difficult at times, but that's part of the challenge. [Mar 2004, p.119]
  19. What it lacks in innovation it makes up for with a level of fun not seen in the majority of cloned track racers of recent times - and those Nitros are just too cool.
  20. Very good. With just a bit more variety to its tracks and a slightly better career mode, it definitely could have been much better, but it has great graphics, solid sound, and the sort of easy learning curve that makes it a driving game that anyone can excel at.
  21. An uneven mixture of gorgeous graphics, upgradeable street racing vehicles, variety of race modes, unique customization, lack of opposition, repetitive tracks, and no law enforcement presence... Involving and fun, although not quite as engrossing as "NFS:HP2."
  22. Beautifully detailed with impressive lighting, accurately modelled protagonists and a terrific sense of speed. A refreshing and captivating direction for the series. [Christmas 2003, p.115]
  23. It does improve the longer you play it and there's something enticing about blagging the next new piece of kit to slap on your car. Unfortunately the racing itself simply isn't fun enough.
  24. Boy racers will love Underground's edgy urban chic, otherwise you should stick with the less fashionable but ultimately more enjoyable "Burnout 2." [Christmas 2003, p.125]

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