The game is great!!! I haven't had any issues with it at all. I am running it at max settings of course. It looks great and plays great. It will definitely take me longer to finish this one than it took me to finish the first one. The patch was more for online issues, and for the US version it was only a couple of things.
Just played a bit of it. Just enough to get invited to the underground racing circuit. I haven't played enough to really comment on it, but it doesn't seem very revolutionary from the first one. Then again, thats not really a bad thing coming from a sequel. The real fun doesn't start until you get a kick ass ride anyway.
I upgraded with the patch as soon as I installed it so I don't know what it fixed. Must have been very critical though since they got the patch out before the heat cooled off the release.
I have played the PS2 and Gamecube version on EA World in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Man, it looked good! The version I played had infinite everything (all stickers, pimp ups, cars etc, it was a special developer edition) so it was really fun to pimp out a Golf GTI with full gear Oh and the Gamecube version sucked, looked ugly and played like sh ite.