Need for Speed is by far the most known racing game series in the world, and one of the most notorious of them all. With the past games marking a serious decrease in both revenues and game quality, it was the time for EA to make some changes to stop the series from its downfall. We cannot be sure about how much it will sell (even though chances are it will be a hit) but Shift is really a positive milestone for the series, at least from the gamers’ point of view.
One of the most interesting features is the driver-based view. This view is a lot better than you will get in any other game. The producers relied on a series of camera and visual tricks to make you really feel like you are the one that is driving the car: your view is narrowed when you drive at high speeds, you get small blackouts immediately after a collision, etc. The general feeling this view sends to the person behind the screen is remarkable and is definitely a must-see for any racing game fan. This is not the only graphical advantage of Need for Speed Shift. Overall the graphic quality is really something you will like, although we have seen better in a few (only a few) other games.
The career mode will run you through varied events that you can choose to compete in (you not obliged to compete in any of them). You progress in the game by earning stars in each event. Stars are not given only for your ranking at the finish line. You also get points for mastering small aspects of the game, making each race worth competing for weather you are on the first or last place.
The points are awarded in two categories: Precision (for perfect starts, clean passing or completing a lap without hitting anything) and Aggresion (for hitting oponents and such). This adds something extra to the game as just winning the race is not your only goal anymore.
Need for Speed: Shift is not the game you can just pick up and win every race in the game by pressing the acceleration button and never releasing it. You will get penalties for cutting corners, you have to really work at taking perfect traces around the corners, and you have to make smart upgrades to your car to balance its weak points. Also keep in mind that the price you will pay for a mistake depends on the velocity you have when doing it.
The multiplayer is quite interesting, giving you the option to race with seven other player on any event type you want. The bonus part is the Driver Duel; this ladder tournament will put you against another player in a best-out-of three event. If you win, you move up a position. If you lose, you are back at the bottom of the list. In addition, the multiplayer races will count for your single player career. This makes the multiplayer a really interactive, fun and intense experience.
Need for Speed Shift is nothing like Underground and the games that followed. If you are looking for realism combined with a lot of smart fun, this is the game you should be playing. If you just want to see flashy lights and tape the acceleration button pressed, look further.
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