It looks like we're going to have to wait a little longer for the next Need for Speed title.
Electronic Arts announced recently that they will postpone the upcoming game until 2022. Add that to the news that Gran Turismo 7 will be delayed for another year and it’s already shaping up to be a miserable start to 2021 for racing fans.
Fortunately, we’ve had some pretty decent NFS games in recent years, with 2019’s NFS: Heat a popular game in the series, while last year’s Hot Pursuit: Remastered reminded us just how good this franchise can be.
With that in mind, we’ve been thinking about another former favourite that we’d love to see get the remaster treatment. Yep, we’re talking about the street-racing, customisation-heavy, storyline-driven NFS: Underground.
Cue another banger from Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz.
Excuse the pun, but Underground was truly groundbreaking when it was released in 2003. It took Need for Speed from the premise of exotic cars racing through over-the-top locations and took you to the streets instead, all the while embracing tuner culture made popular by the Fast & Furious film series.
Every car in the game was fully customisable, allowing players to tweak everything from paint colours (dripping in neon colours, of course), vinyls, front and rear bumpers, side skirts, spoilers, hoods, exhaust tips, and body kits, through to the engine and performance.
Adding to the sleek and stylish look of the game is the setting in the perpetually-nighttime Olympic City - perfect for the neon lights and brightly coloured cars racing through the rain-soaked streets. We can only imagine how crisp and eye-popping these remastered visuals could be on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
Underground wasn’t just a mindless racing game with beautiful visuals; there was a story-based career mode here, too.
Nowadays, NFS games are known for their dramatic storylines, but Underground was the first to adopt this more immersive style.
Sure, there’s no police chases here, but the various race types and challenges (shoutout to the awesome Drift races) certainly made up for it - not to mention the fun you could have with various changes you could make to your car of choice.
Drifting around corners for extra points and timing the use of your Nitrous speed boosts added something extra to races. While it’s true that some of the racing is clearly not up to the standards we’re used to nowadays, and the storyline is lacking some grit and depth - this could all be ironed out in a definitive remastered edition.
Barum dum dum bum, barum dum dum dum...
We can't talk about Underground without mentioning the game's awesome soundtrack. Now, admittedly, some of the songs have dated horribly (there's a song by the Lostprophets here, we won't explain why that's not a good thing), but it's just what was hip at the time!
Rap and Hip Hop are prevalent, with Nate Dogg, T.I., and of course Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz - whose track 'Get Low' was the main bop of this game. But there was also tracks from Rob Zombie and Rancid here, too.
The time is now
Interest is at an all-time high for remastered versions of older classics. It's what gamers want right now.
Nostalgia is the word, especially following the success and fondness for last year’s NFS: Hot Pursuit and coupled with the buzz around Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, too. Sure it would be some work to make a PS2 game look glorious on a PS5, but if we aren't getting a new NFS this year, at least give us an old one!