My Need for Speed: Shift Review Need for Speed: Shift 2 review The Need for Series is back with new developers that have worked GTR PC Simulation racing series. EA made a smart move. The NFS license has taken a U-Turn but a turn in the right direction. Graphics and Sound The visuals in the game are on par for all next gen racing game. The environments and cars all looks great but nothing jaw dropping. The cars have a "bling" feeling as they pop off the screen a bit. I would like a darker grittier look like Dirt 2. There is body damage that will affect the car mechanically and visually. Visually the damage leaves a lot to be desired. You can hit everything on the track and the cars donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t fully represent that. They do look damaged but they should look a lot worse. The game shines in the "Cockpit" view. The interior is very nicely detailed and the blur affect is very cool. The sense of speed is simply amazing. The audio in this game is superb. It really hit me last night when upgraded the Evolution 10 with turbo, engine and drive train upgrades. The car whined up and sounded awesome. I am really impressed with the engine audio (A+). Gameplay When I first started playing this game I did not like it. I thought the handling was just bad. Well after hours of playing I have completely changed my mind. This game is definitely more simulation than arcade. My advice to you (VERY IMPORTANT) is that you must be very precise and gentle with the left analog stick while steering. If you jerk it left or right the car will fish tail all over the track. I was doing this at first and thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s why I hated it. The controls are a bit twitchy but once you learn that you can not jerk the steering wheel back and forth like an animal you will realize how this is game is more simulation oriented. While racing the game tracks every little movement you make. Master a corner, trade paint with another racer, set a fast time through a certain section, clean or dirty overtake, following the race line and the list goes on. You will get experience points for everything and the points are split in 2 categories; Precision and Aggressive. At the end of the race you will be accessed for your driving and the game will give you a score in both categories. Different races will open up in the career mode based on which way you tilt the scale. I like this as I am a precise driver and therefore there are more time attacks and time trials offered to me. While driving I demand that you play this game from the "Cockpit" view. At first I thought it was impossible to compete in this view. Give it time and you won't go back. I realized this because it was not the view but the fact that I didn't know the tracks. Once they put me on Silverstone or Road America I was roaring around the track like a pro in the cockpit and it was very gratifying. Watching the replay was more interesting also as you cant see the outside of the car and watching myself hit a turn perfectly was nice to watch again from a 3rd person perspective. This game like most other racers and has driving assists for mostly everything and you can adjust them to your liking. You can upgrade, tune and customize your rides as much as you like. The upgrade process is pretty linear and the visual customization is no where near Forza like. The tuning portion is great though. You can get into the nitty gritty of the mechanics to your car. There is also an option for simple tuning, very nice touch for the noobs. The AI in the game is good and you can adjust it. If you ram someone from behind, watch out as they might seek revenge. They AI cars will battle with each other and might even take each other out and they might take an incorrect line every now and then allowing you to pass them. I find a lot of them brake way too early therefore donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t tailgate. Racing game AI has come a long way since the Gran Turismo robots! Lasting Appeal The career is pretty straight forward as you will need to collect stars to move along. The more stars you collect the more races you can enter. There are 3 sets of stars you can collect from almost each race. There are stars for Podium finishes, hitting a certain amount of Profile Points, and usually some sort of miscellaneous category. That last category can be a variety of challenges like beating a certain hot lap time or driving a clean lap, ect. There is nice variety of races you will compete in. The types include Time Attack, Car Manufacturer Battles, One on One battle, straight races and some drift events (I havenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t tried these). You will progress along the career like any other racer. DonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t expect anything especially different here. Online: I ventured online for about 10 races and I was pleasantly surprised. It felt like Forza 2 again. There was no lag, no cars jumping all over the place and the graphics did not seem to be toned down a bit. You can collect money and experience points online just like offline. It was a blast and if it was 2 am I would have kept racing. It would help to have a nice stable of cars to be able to compete with some of the monsters out there. Strengths: The audio amazing, the experience points are a nice touch the cockpit view is unlike no other and the racing is fun! Weaknesses: Career is blah, the damage model is not great, visual customization is limited. Overall I would give this game a 8.5/10 It is worth a purchase as the online portion is fun and building a stable of cars is addicting. I will post some videos this week.