Need for Speed Underground 2 tries to inject a story into your career mode using static-image cutscenes that pop up before some races. The effect is similar to what the Max Payne series does with its noninteractive sequences, though that game pulls it off much better than Need for Speed Underground 2 does. Dopey story short, you're sent off to a new town after getting ambushed by a rival racing crew, and you'll have to start from scratch with one car and a handful of races to get you going.
The biggest change made by this year's game is that the action now takes place in one large city. You're given free rein to drive around wherever you want, and you'll have to drive to races to drive in them. You'll also have to drive to different parts shops to customize your ride--in fact, you'll have to find most of the game's shops by cruising around the city, looking for the right type of colored lights. The game gives you an onscreen map, but shops don't show up until you've found them, and some races don't actually appear on the map, either.