Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed
Geared up for action
Review Just how can a new racing game carve out a niche in a saturated genre? How can you improve on the intensity of Race Driver Grid, the visuals of F1 2010, or the driving physics of Gran Turismo 5 and Forza 3?
Pretty straight forward
Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed seeks to answer those questions not through innovation, but through assimilation. By incorporating elements from the competition while attempting to straddle the gulf between arcade and simulation racing, developer Slightly Mad Studios has crafted a racer of sophisticated range and scalability. But in attempting to tick all the genre boxes and appeal to the widest possible audience, its underlying 'everything to everyone' philosophy comes at the expense of the core driving experience.
Although paltry compared to the dizzying scale of GT5, Shift 2's 145 cars, 35 raceways and 80 unique tracks prove more accessible to casual racers while still providing ample variety for silicon petrol heads. The original Shift's career mode has been simplified to a series of unlockable events – with a Tiger Woods-style XP system driving progression – and it makes for a smoother ride.
Speed between the lines
Earned both off-line and on-line, XP is rewarded not just for race placements, but also individual driving elements, such as slipstreaming, split times and mastering corners. It's a system that eases the bottlenecks of other racers, where progression is determined by results only, and it's one that fortunately tempers the game's formidable challenge.
Next page: Steer the course
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If this new one is anything like the original Shift, it will be a total flop. I gave Shift a try and found it virtually un-playable. For me the shift from the arcade handling of Most Wanted and Undercover to the "we copied GT5" handling in Shift ruined this game series.
please stop with this
stop putting out game reviews on a site that primarily caters to PC users when you dont test the game on a PC unit. Shift 2s predecessor suffered from ATROCIOUS analog-input-to-PC control conversion and was unplayable unless you had some sort of derpstick-equipped controller or a wheel.
same crap with the deadspace review. If I wanted to read console reviews I'd go to every other games hub on the net that doesnt seem to think PC gaming still exists : you know, IGN, Gamefaqs, 1up, etc etc etc.
you're writing for a PC-portal. review the PC version. End of Discussion.
No helmet cans, please. Thank you.
"helmet-cam turns to follow the driving line." GEBUZ ALMIGHTY NO. Please no, have mercy.
At the infancy of racing games, Microsoft tried to do a racing game (googling result is Microsoft CART Precision Racing), that had that same "feature". It made the driving so dizzy, and hard to focus, that it gave me headaches.
The cam would turn so badly that it wouldn't show the "windshield" anymore. Ops. Is that the gearbox of the car in front of you, or are you front spoilers happy to meet my helmet?
Lo and behold, somebody tried to pull that off 20 YEARS LATER. Even in the tiny screenshot provided here, thank you, but no thank you.
Intelligent AI? HOW ABOUT RUBBER-BAND AI? In the Most Wanted series, even if you could outrun, out-turn, and outwit the crap of the AI, there they were whizzing by you on the next corner after you nicked an oncoming car, when you had clearly opened some, say, 200 meters ahead of them.
That was most glaring when (ahem, in the purpose of research) you cheated the hell out of the game with trainers. You could enable infinite boost, infinite slow motion, and there were the AI cars one corner behind you, even when they clearly couldn't have infinite boost as well. Or could they?
So I found out that you should upgrade only suspension, tires and brakes; everything that help you corner. Provided you don't hit anything, you are bound to win every race. However, you can't do that for very long, because the cops need to be rammed, and you can only do that with plenty horsepower.
Not even cheating helped the game, so I dumped it in a drawer. Yes, MW is fun at first, but then the AI starts to annoy you with its infallibility. To prove my point I ran all the timed courses, and the AI just broke her own record of the track just to keep up with me while I was not cheating, and did it again when I cheated heavily. Consistency FAIL.
Of all the games mentioned here, I liked NFSU2 with its full Arcade approach to handling that responds very well to gamepads, and the classic Gran Turismo 2 in the original PSX that was pretty unforgivable, but it was fair regarding the AI behaviour and theoretical lap record for each course, and you had to actually learn cornering, braking, and following the line in any course.