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Right off, I just want to say that I'm a major fan of the Need for Speed franchise, and personally I see that it's the greatest racing series of all time, so you may be excused to think that I'd write a biased review towards any Need for Speed game, and I do admit, all the review I've written in the past about Need for Speed games have been positive. But this isn't going to be one of them.
The first impressions are as normal for any Need for Speed game (I'll say NFS to save time), fancy graphics and a pretty amazing video and effects, it make your want to continue on to play the game, even though I have never heard of anyone switching of their console because the title screen looked rubbish. So I continue on, and may I say in all honestly that I almost wanted to go back to the store and ask for my money back. Unlike all the other NFS games, it starts of slow and dull. The graphics look horrible, reminded me of the very first Gran Turismo game, where the cars look like one massive part. Now I know that it is on PSP and the graphics are not going to be mind blowing, but having played Midnight Club Los Angeles on PSP the night before, I was expecting something similar if not that tiny bit better. In most honesty, without of course being rude to the EA PSP division, it looks like they sat down an intern and told him or her to design this game in 2 weeks or else. Thinking about it, this could explain why there are about 6 tracks in the whole game, which they try to hide by just switching them backwards.
Another factor I'm quite annoyed about is that the game looks nothing like the trailer. I'm not talking about the graphics of course, but the fact that the trailer is clearly in the "1st person driver view" and the PSP version doesn't give you that prospective at all. The closest I got was bumper view and that isn't all that good. But the most disappointing part of it all was the lack of the amazing crashes. The trailer clearly advertises awesome crashes where all the cars have a massive burning pill up; none of this was found in the PSP version.
So far I've only covered the bad points of the game, and this is all generated from first impressions. The game fails to deliver that the trailer promises. It is as if they simply forgot about the PSP version. However it is not all bad. Since I have gotten all my rage about this game out, I may as well mention that once you've gotten over the empty promises and managed to get past the first few races, the game becomes bearable and actually entertaining. The races become slightly more challenging and you get a choice of cars that can do over 50 mph. Also you eventually realise how the scoring works, as NFS Shift doesn't work in the traditional NFS manor of earning money and buying upgrades, it improves the car the more you use it and the better you drive. The music isn't too bad either, featuring some good tracks from The Prodigy and Kasabian.
Overall I've got to say that the game isn't all that bad once you get familiar with its crappy graphics and slow start. In fact it's a game that perfect for the PSP as it's not too difficult and doesn't really require much effort in playing. All you have to do is race and get a sense of achievement once you get a new car or an upgrade for the car. To conclude, I may have been hard on the game to begin with but that is what I felt first playing it, and if you decide to go out and give it go, you'll see, but I guarantee that it does get better and much more fun.