Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Need for Speed: Shift

John Marine | 3/20/2012 09:14:00 PM |
Slightly Mad Studios created a spin-off of the Need for Speed series with Shift. As opposed to traditional NFS games, this one is sim-oriented. It showcases the intense reality of racing. It is also a showcases defining what kind of racer you are. Are you the precise kind who keeps the car between the white lines and make clean passes; or are you the aggressive driver who performs dirty overtaking moves and driving like a bloody fool? A lot of racing awaits gamers in Shift. The ultimate goal is to race in the Need for Speed Live World Tour. But to get there, you will have to do a lot of racing. This blog post is a look at "NFS: Shift."

--- Need for Speed: Shift ---

Need for Speed Shift
^ from: amazon.com - Need for Speed got serious when Shift came along from Slightly Mad Studios. This is the box for the PS3 version of "NFS: Shift."

"Need for Speed: Shift" offered some fresh air with a new concept for the series. While it is still considered part of Need for Speed, it is not any traditional NFS title by any stretch. Some just call it Shift. It was released in 2009 for PlayStation 3, XBOX 360, and PC. The experience is based entirely on simulation-type racing. There is absolutely nothing along the lines of illegal street racing or anything like that. This is a straight-up simulation type racer. This is a sim experience that is very much tailored to you, however. The very first action you take part in helps you to set up the game and various other parameters to help set the game up for you. Your performance in the start of your first test run allows you to have a custom-made set of parameters based on your test run.

You must race your way through three tiers of competition to eventually reach the Need for Speed Live World Tour, where (pardon the cliché) only the strong survive. You must collect Stars to advance from one tier to another. You start off in the lowest tier- Tier 1. Collect enough to reach newer levels of competition and eventually make your way to the Need for Speed Live World Tour. Along the way, you will need to buy cars and compete in a variety of racing events. Some of your racing action will mostly consist of circuit races. There are even races that are limited to certain manufacturers and certain cars. Later on, you will be drifting as well as taking part in endurance racing. Your plate will be full of racing, to put it mildly.

I will say that unlike most other racing games, this is one of the games that really focuses on the driver, as opposed to being about just the cars. You are almost intrigued to race from the Driver's view every time. Each big hit will show the screen turn black and white as you hear the driver grunting after a hard hit. The game will honestly scare you. However, it is a good way to demonstrate the feeling of driving at full speed. A big part of leveling up in this game is based on how you are as a driver. You are either a Precision driver or an Aggressive driver. Precision rewards clean overtakes, staying on the racing line, and landing fast times. Aggression rewards dirty overtakes, spinning out others, hitting other cars, and things like that. The ultimate goal from a driver's perspective is to reach Level 50.


The cars you will be using in this game encompass three regions- United States, Europe, and Japan. There are a huge number of cars you can choose from. Find a car that best suits you to take on each level of competition. Various cars can be tuned to various levels. Some cars have one or more of the following qualities:

• Nitrous - this car can be equipped with nitrous for on-demand power.
• Works - this car can be customized to Works spec, going past its stock limits.
• Drift - this car is eligible to compete in drift events.

Each car belongs to certain tiers. You begin with Tier 1 cars and work your way up to the fire-breathing supercars in Tier 4. A car can be upgraded to a higher tier if it is in a lower tier. Be warned- upgrading a car to a higher tier will disqualify it from racing in a lower-tier event unless you tune down that car.

As for tuning options, you have plenty. A lot of the basic tuning options are available to you. In addition to tuning options are Race Parts options to help push your car towards Works spec. They will help give you a distinctive advantage over the competition with racing-spec parts. Take any sort of advantage you can get to make your car as capable as possible. Your car will be a proper Works model once enough tuning has been completed on your car.

You can customize any of your cars with various paint options, vinyl packages, and wheels. More options become available as you advance further in Career Mode. With cars, there are bonuses and badges you can earn for racing a certain number of cars and for logging a certain number of miles. So keep racing hard!


A world of tracks await you. Many of the tracks are real-world venues along with a few fictional courses. Each of the three different regions of cars are also the same regions tracks can be raced at. Tracks can be raced on around the United States, all over Europe, and in various venues in Japan. Have you the courage to race and win at these venues? There are both circuit racing events and drift events for you to take part in. There are driving aids available to help you race the course properly, such as a visible racing line. Races can be run at dawn, midday, or dusk.

The majority of tracks are real-world facilities and are mostly permanent road courses. There are a few ovals in the game you race on as well as temporary street circuits. The brutally long Nürburgring Nordschleife can also be raced either in point-to-point segments to the full 12.86-mile (20.70-kilometer) nightmare of Green Hell.

You can also race drift events. These mostly involve sections of tracks closed off for drift, but there are a few tracks that are a full lap around for drift points. The goal is to rack up as many drift points as possible in three individual sections. The combined total determines the winner.

Race Types

Here is a look at some or most of the events you will take part in:

• Race - a straight-up normal race.

• Time Attack - with opponents on track, try to land the fastest lap time during the duration of the session.

• Car Battle - you must choose between two cars offered to you (no need to purchase either car beforehand). It is a best-of-3 competition. The first race has you leading the opposing car. The second race has the opposing car leading you. If the score is even at 1-1, the third and final race is a heads-up race to determine who wins.

• Drift - try to score as many drift points as possible in a series of rounds. The driver who posts the most drift points after all sessions have concluded will win.

• Eliminator - The last-place car after a certain time limit will be eliminated. The winner is the one who leads when time has expired once all other cars have been eliminated.

• Endurance - Rather than try to win as quickly as you can, endurance races involve strategy and consistency in a prolonged race. Pit stops also play a role in these events as well. The races shouldn't be terribly long. For example, you race three laps around the Nürburgring Nordschleife in Shift. I've had to do three laps around Nürburgring Nordschleife in "Enthusia Professional Racing," and that's about 20-30 minutes total to complete. So these endurances aren't Gran Turismo long.

There are also various championships with various rules and race types to be concerned with. Later in Career Mode, there are certain Invitational Events you can take part in to make more money and win more cars. These events are varied and feature a multitude of cars. Money and cars are what you'll get if you succeed in these events. So make the most of these opportunities to enhance your scope of racing. Races can have as many as 16 competitors on track (including yourself). You can also engage in online racing.

--- NFS: Shift - Final Thoughts/Review ---

Shift is a tremendous game with many different ways to enjoy racing. My biggest grab for this game is that this completely moves away from the Underground-style, street racing style and goes almost pure sim. It even pains me to say that this game delivers a better sim experience than the Gran Turismo series. However, Shift is not any hardcore simulation (like rFactor or GTR). It has that just-right feel that keeps the racing entertaining and enjoying. Car choice and racing types are all very enjoyable. The game even has a great deal of depth that most other racing games and racing series can't really touch.

One thing I do take issue with is that even though the game allows you to define your personality through Precision and/or Aggression, accumulating Stars seems pointless when some of the goals go away from the different tasks. For example, if you're a Precision racer, earning a Star may require you to (for example) spin out four cars. So no one racer can be COMPLETELY a Precision racer or an Aggressive racer. I don't know. It just defeats the purpose of clearly defining a certain style of racer you are.

Some people have complained that you earn too much money in this game. You aren't required to do car collecting, but you can certainly get yourself plenty of cars in this game, have you the money. You can spend all of your time trying to clear all of the races and easily have enough Stars to reach the NFS Live World Tour. A certain sense of accomplishment seems pointless when you waste your time trying to collect Stars to access the other Tiers rather than earn them by doing loads of races in each Tier. I am not kidding- I did most of my racing in Tier 1 and Tier 2 and had enough Stars to access the NFS Live World Tour without even running a single race in Tier 3, Tier 4, or the NFS Live World Tour. The game sort of assumes that when you access a certain Tier, you are supposed to automatically go to the next Tier. But... who am I to tell you tell you how to play this game?

Even if you're a Gran Turismo fan (or even a Forza Motorsport fan), trust me- the experience this game provides an outstanding one on the racing front. Intense racing and vicious crashes make this title pretty enticing to play. It is a must-own to me if you are any real racing game fan.

Did you enjoy this review? If so, do me a favor. Please go buy this game and support my work. I would appreciate your support. Go get it on Amazon by buying from Amazon:

^ Need for Speed: Shift. Available for: PlayStation 3, XBOX 360, Sony PSP, PC, and PC Download

Thank you for reading!

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Asya Kosachova said...

omg! i remember playing this game! used to love it!
should play it again!


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