One of the best racing games ever gets a promising RTX upgrade

Need for Speed Underground 2 looked great in it's day, but this Nvidia RTX Remix mod takes lighting to the extreme, for the better.

Need for Speed Underground 2 mod

We’ve already seen some promising early mods released via Nvidia RTX Remix, but this latest one tops them all. Need for Speed Underground 2 was the perfect example of a game that could benefit from a lighting rework, and other results are impressive so far.

As one of the best racing games released on PC, it’s been 20 long years since Need For Speed Underground 2 was first released, and it was a great game aesthetically at the time, even if its dark tone was partially technically as well as artistically driven. Now, with a fresh coat of Nvidia RTX Remix paint, it’s impressively restored.

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In the footaged captured by MxBenchmarkPC, we’re finally getting a good look at a game that will truly benefit from path tracing being added in, especially when there’s next to no chance of a remake ever happening.

We see the same performance drops between the pre and post-RTX Remix gameplay that we also saw with the Max Payne Remix, but the caveat with Need for Speed Underground 2 is that it was locked to 120fps at launch, and removing this cap would cause the game to become unstable.

Running this mod on an RTX 4080, MxBenchmarkPC is able to achieve anywhere between 30-50 fps at both 4K and 1440p with DLSS 3.5 enabled, using varying quality presets. Suffice to say, there’s some optimization work to be done here.

One commenter has pointed out that there is some artifacting occurring with the lighting, but this has been put down to a process called light culling. This is baked into the game during development and effectively switches off light sources once they are not needed, this becomes a lot clearer in the RTX Remix mod as the general lighting is far more vibrant, but it creates a constant flickering to occur on the lower third of the screen.

Despite this, the RTX Remix mod for NFS: Underground 2 confirms what had already been suspected before the open beta of Remix, old school driving games will all benefit from having their lighting reworked. Mechanically these games are still sound 20 years later, it’s just the visuals that needed a tweak to bring them back to life.

Running games via RTX Remix requires one of the best graphics cards money can buy, especially given how demanding they’ve proven to be so far.