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Need For Speed: Shift (Xbox 360)

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Genre: Driving & Racing / Video Game for Xbox 360 / ESRB Rating: Rating Pending / Release Date: 2009-09-18 / Published by Electronic Arts

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    14 Reviews
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      12.07.2013 13:44
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      A great driving experience for fans of racing games.

      Need For Speed Shift - Xbox 360

      --

      I was never really that much of a fan of driving games and to be honest, the more hyped up a game is the worse it usually turns out to be. For instance, I find 'Gran Turismo' and 'Forza Motorsport' absolutely abysmal. I did like 'Project Gotham Racing 4' and found it enjoyable. I am also a fan of 'Race Pro' and 'Grid Racer'. They are all good examples of a good driving or racing experience.

      After playing those I tried the 'Need For Speed' franchise of games. 'Need For Speed Most Wanted' (the original) was a great game; (see my review) and so was 'Need For Speed - The Run'. I tried some of the other NFS games and enjoyed those too. I had always noticed but not fancied 'Need For Speed - Shift' because I felt the franchise was doing well with themed type games and not standard racing games, but I saw it for less than ten pounds and thought 'why not'?

      I am really glad that I did because I have been playing it for months on end now and have not tired of it. I have recently purchased 'Need For Speed - Shift 2 Unleashed'. But I haven't tried it yet as I am still getting enjoyment out of the first game.

      I found that this game is one of the more exhilarating race games available, if not the best. You can race in a variety of cars on some of the best race courses in the world. You can really feel the speed and the handling of the cars is superb.

      The game is produced by Electronic Arts, which is probably better known for its sports games, such as 'Tiger Woods' and 'Fifa' amongst others. It was released in 2009 with the follow up released in 2011.

      The fact that it was released four years ago and is still such a great experience speaks volumes.

      NFSS is really a revamp of 'Need For Speed ProStreet'. ProStreet was a racing game similar to shift but it had a story mode to it and was more arcade based. Shift is an arcade racing game but is more based on a proper racing simulation than the franchises earlier efforts. Shift is a lot more realistic when it comes to the cars handling and overall is head and shoulders above its predecessor.

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      The Game Plan

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      You can play NFSS in single player mode in a variety of scenarios. There is a standard 'Quick Race' mode where you can just choose a car and track and begin racing.

      The main game is the 'Career Mode', which is a realistic reconstruction of what it would be like to test drive cars, race for teams and be invited to events to win prize money and cars in order to further your career.

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      Career Mode

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      Career Mode is based on four tiers of driving and your aim is to gain enough experience points in each tier to open up the next. The ultimate goal is to gain enough experience points in tier four to progress to the 'NFS Live World Series' and ultimately go on to win it and become the world champion.
      Tier one consists of average cars and races that are not too demanding. Tier two contains performance cars and the challenges get bigger. Tier three consists of Super cars and again the challenges become more demanding. Tier four is the last tier before the World Series and contains hyper cars and the biggest challenges.

      There are sixty cars divided through the tiers and the more prize money you win the better your chance of buying a higher performance car.

      You can also customise your cars in a variety of ways in order for them to compete with higher rated vehicles. You can change wheels and tires, tune gears, align the brakes and cars properties, and play around with the cars differential and aerodynamics. You can also paint your cars in virtually any colour and as your driver level gets higher new decals become available to pretty-up you vehicles.

      This really is a great driving experience and even G-force plays apart in the realism. The cars movements and handling are very realistic. As with all driving games the only unrealistic thing is the ability to carry on after a heavy smash; but saying that, the car does show damage and the crashes are realistic. When you experience a heavy hit, the screen becomes blurred to replicate the driver's blurred vision and shaken body and head.

      When you start the game, you start as a level one driver and you start your racing and career in tier one. You have to collect stars in order to progress to tier two. Let's, for example, say that you needed fifty stars to open up tier two. Your fist race in tier one might consist of a standard three stars for finishing on the podium. You would get one star for third, two for second and three for finishing first. As the races evolve you might come across a race with six stars up for grabs. This could comprise of the three podium stars as mentioned and an additional three stars, which could be gained by fulfilling certain tasks during the race. These tasks are numerous and could be anything from mastering corners, keeping the race line, receiving minimal damage, reaching top speed or any number of other scenarios.

      You can also build you stars and your money up by taking part in invitational events.

      As well as collecting stars to open up the next tier you also gain experience points that increase your driver level. The ultimate goal is to reach driver level fifty. I am currently on thirty-six.

      As mentioned the further you progress, the more challenging the races become. Tier four has some momentous endurance races in it and they are great to take part in.

      Both the tier races and the invitational events contain different race modes and scenarios. You can race in European, US or Japanese events and take part in time attacks, elimination races, endurance races, drift races, hot laps, one on one challenges and all sorts of others that are equally as enjoyable. Some events will require you to own a certain car, so you may find yourself unable to enter them until you purchase the required car.

      You also own a garage that holds your vehicles but to start with it is small and only holds a few cars. By increasing your driver level you will gain extra garage spaces.

      Another part of career mode is badges that you are awarded for different tasks. These badges are in the game to gain achievement points. You get achievement points for gaining five, ten and fifteen bronze badges and the same with silver and gold. Then there are minor badges to collect and master badges.
      You might gain badges for driving a certain amount of kilometres in a certain car or doing a certain amount of clear laps at a certain track. There are a lot of different scenarios and it is fun and challenging, trying to complete them.

      There are nineteen tracks to race on in the game, including Donington, Silverstone and the formidable Nurburgring in Germany. The race tracks are exact and if you're a Formula One fan, like me, then you will appreciate the realism and the work that has gone into creating these tracks. It took two years to develop this game and you can see why.

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      Online play

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      Online play consists of standard races against one to twelve other drivers. The points accrued while playing live count towards you career experience points.

      Online play is fun and a real rush when you are racing full out against players of a similar quality to your own.

      It is also another testament to how good this game really is that there are still players online after four years and especially as there is a sequel to the game out there now.

      You can customise races by creating your own race room and determining the track, number of laps and car performances or level permitted. Or you can join a game in a room that someone else has set up and then choose a car according to their permitted levels.

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      Graphics

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      The graphics in this game are top-notch. Driving a long straight at nearly two hundred miles an hour at the Nurburgring is exhilarating enough, but when the sun is shining and turning into dusk it looks amazing and you would be forgiven for flying off the track due to admiring the scenery.

      The cars look realistic and it's great to drive one that you have totally customised.

      You can view the game from the standard 'behind the car' mode, from the cockpit or from a few other different viewpoints. I prefer the standard view from behind the car. The cockpit view is impressive however and the graphics look slick. You can see the driver shift gear and adjust mirrors and it looks so realistic. I just can't drive that way though.

      I think the makers of the game deserve massive credit for the look they have achieved as it really is superb.

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      Extras

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      Various patches and add-ons became available during the year the game was released and indeed, the year after in 2010. Extra cars were added and a whole new Ferrari experience as well as an exotic car and race pack. I purchased the Ferrari pack recently and have had some great fun with it. I have included the details to the Ferrari pack below but couldn't really comment on the other packs as I don't own them yet.

      In 2010 NFSS players were able to download a content pack that delivers 10 extraordinary Ferrari cars including the 430 Scuderia and the ultra-rare FXX and F50 GT. Now, Need for Speed SHIFT players will feel the rush of being in the driver's seat, realizing the true driver's experience of being behind the wheel of a Ferrari car.

      In addition to 10 new cars, the Ferrari Racing Series also extended NFSS's career mode with 46 new Ferrari specific challenges designed for the Ferrari cars to participate in including hot laps, eliminators, endurance races and a world tour. Completing the perfect Ferrari package an additional 125 gamer points as a reward for undertaking various exciting challenges is available. All Ferrari cars can also be taken online where players can prove who has the skills to master the top-end Ferrari machines.

      The Ferraris available include:

      1996 Ferrari F50 GT
      2005 Ferrari F430 Spider
      2005 Ferrari FXX
      2005 Ferrari Superamerica
      2006 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
      2006 Ferrari F430 Challenge (Online/Quick event only)
      2006 Ferrari F430 GTC (Online/Quick event only)
      2007 Ferrari 430 Scuderia
      2008 Ferrari California
      2008 Ferrari 16M Scuderia Spider

      You need a live account to download this pack as you do, of course, to play on X-Box Live. The Ferrari pack cost 800 Microsoft points.

      --

      My Thoughts

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      As already mentioned, I am quite a fan of this game because it has given me hours upon hours of enjoyment. It is a great stress reliever to say the least.

      The graphics are crisp and the gameplay is excellent and smooth. It is also quite easy to pick up but can be demanding the further you progress. I prefer this to be honest because too many racing games are set up as too easy on the 'easy' mode. I like to start off on 'normal' mode and then shift the level up if I find I am mastering it.

      I also like this game because of the different scenarios involved. One minute you can be racing in a twelve car race at Silverstone and the next you can be talking part in a drift race in Japan. The elimination and time attack modes are exciting as well; especially the elimination mode because you have to stay out of last place and be the last car running, which on a challenging level can be quite edge of your seat stuff.
      Most people buy a racing game and think it is too hard and give up on it after a few hours but I find that if you stick with this game and build up your garage and cars and get used to the different tracks and trials, then you definitely get your monies worth longevity-wise. Another review states as a disadvantage that it was over too quickly. I find that statement mind-boggling off as this game offers hours upon hours of entertainment (if you play it properly). You have the career mode and the invitational events, not to mention an online mode that you could play indefinitely.

      The tracks are very true to life and ultra-realistic. It makes you wonder what they'll offer with this franchise on the next generation consoles.

      I would recommend this game to any racing game fan as it is one of the best, of not the best, out there.
      I give Need For Speed Shift five out of five stars.

      ©Lee Billingham

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        25.06.2010 20:38
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        A very good game which will please most car enthusiasts.

        Need for Speed shift is an interesting new twist in the long-established Need for Speed series. Faltering after recent, disappointing Need for Speed titles, Shift intends to break out of the 'illegal racing' mould and venture into an accessible car simulation. Overall, the game achieves this goal.

        Presentation and Graphics

        As with all Need for Speed games, Shift cannot be accused of having a boring interface. Far from it, it sports a sleek, easy-to-use menu, complete with the currently selected car of your choice to the left of the menu. Every screen looks polished and modern, and the clear layout helps beginners into the bulk of the game. Furthermore, cut-scenes, although not incredibly frequent, show the graphical capabilities of the Xbox 360 beautifully, combining the well-rendered tracks and cars with flowing motifs describing the upcoming races and championships. Guidance is also discretely, but cleverly, incorporated into the game, with a narrator outlining the objectives and general helpful tips briefly and concisely.

        Graphically, car lovers are not left wanting. Each of the cars is faithfully recreated to help along the simulation feel of the game. In the 3rd person view, both the detailed surroundings and tracks are plain to see, while the car itself is visibly damaged during the race and wobbles as you accelerate and reach top speed. Yet the true graphical beauty of the game comes in its 'cockpit' view. Each different car has a unique 'inside helmet' view, and this interface is the only one to fully immerse you in the game. It is arguably the best in-car camera ever seen in a game, with the dashboard shaking at high speed, the windshield cracking upon impact, and the driver even briefly blacking out after a crash.

        The sounds in the game are the real highlight, with cars roaring at the starting line and screeching as you hit corners at high speed. In the 'cockpit' view, these sounds are amplified and truly lend a sense of true speed in the game. With no accompanying soundtrack while racing, the sounds of the cars are intentionally propelled to the forefront of the game, and do not disappoint. Both in its graphics and presentation, then, the game truly excels.

        Gameplay

        Shift also plays very well, with driving easy to get into but fairly difficult to truly master, particularly on higher difficulty levels. The AI offers a demanding, but not overwhelming challenge, making a podium finish in most situations fairly easy to achieve. The career mode has as its ultimate goal your entry into the 'Need for Speed World Tour', for which it is necessary to build up your reputation through winning races and finishing on the podium in as many races as possible.

        By far the most successfully implemented feature of the game is the experience points system, which always makes the player feel rewarded for driving well, and also deters them from making easily preventable mistakes. You can gain these points for driving either accurately or aggressively, allowing you to obey the rules of the road or cause mayhem to rise up the rankings. As these points are integral to your receipt of money after races, there really is an incentive to perform well in a race, to the point where a podium finish can become secondary to the pursuit of points.

        As your reputation rises, you gain access to more races, which can range from drift races to time trials to general track events. For each new tier, a new class of vehicle is needed, so the purchasing of cars and their modification is integral to success. Featuring famous vehicles from key manufacturers (as well as true circuits such as the Nurburgring), authenticity is at a premium, though you won't find as many vehicles as in other racing simulations (think Forza Motorsport 3), something which bears thinking about if you like to collect cars in such games. If this is the case, this may not be the game for you, as cars are fairly easy to obtain and there isn't much incentive to obtain them all. Furthermore, you need to purchase upgrades to really have the chance to compete, and there are extensive tools enabling you to do so. Likewise, visual modifications can be made to your cars, though it was disappointing to see this had been downgraded from previous iterations of the franchise, and was limited to a satisfactory but very limited set of vinyls.

        For some players, this career mode will have them hooked for days on end, with the desire to earn experience points, rise up the rankings and obtain new cars being seemingly irresistible. Sadly, for some, it may become rather monotonous after the higher-level cars are obtained. Later in the game, with more modifications and superior cars, it can become fairly routine to do certain races, with some simply being done to complete a tier in the game. Bearing this in mind, although the gameplay itself is sound and not broken in itself, the nature of the career mode, which is at first compelling and addictive may become monotonous for some after extended play. There is also an online option, though this review will not consider its highs nor its lows.

        Summary

        For the general fan of car games, this is a refreshing entry into the Need for Speed franchise, offering an easy to play, addictive and attractive prospect. For the hardcore car enthusiasts, however, this game simply doesn't offer the breadth of a Gran Turismo or a Forza Motorsport 3, so it may be worth missing. Overall, though, this is a very good game which will please the majority of people.

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        31.05.2010 14:59

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        Good if your starting out in racing games, otherwise i don't reccomend it.

        I was looking forward to buying this game, from what I'd heard it sounded great and all my friends said so as well, unfortunately i was not as pleased as them.

        I mean there isn't really anything wrong with the game it just seemed a bit slow compared to other racing games I have like Grid and Burnout paradise. It just seemed to do the same things over and over again, win race then get money then buy upgrades or a car all the way through the game.

        Although this game was not completely what i expected i did like some parts such as some interesting race tracks and cars which added some much needed integrity to the game from otherwise its dull gameplay.

        This game was good but was just a bit boring, there was no real action just continous racing were as in Grid you could get sponsors and teamates or in Burnout with a variety of Events. The only two real unique features this game had was that if you completed certain tasks while racing you would gain stars that were needed to get to the next tier of races. The main stars were from placing first in a race but there were others such as getting dirty overtakes. Also the game determined if you were a more aggresive or passive driver. This aspect suprised me as I found out I was more passive and i really enjoyed this part of the game.

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        14.02.2010 22:47
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        Attempt at half sim, half arcade, achieves neither. Unlucky EA

        If you're reading this, then it means you've come as far as to try another need for speed release. If like me, you were disappointed to say the least about the previous release "Need for speed: undercover", then we have a lot in common.

        The need for speed series in my opinion has decidedly been taking a downward spiral for some years now, ever since they couldnt follow up on need for speed carbon. The last release, undercover, was abysmal. Too much catch-up, seen it all before, nothing really new.

        The main thing that grabbed me about this release is that it has been done by a new development team to the series. Added to that, it was released just before Forza 3, EA definitely trying to tag those gamers who just cant wait!

        This game is a massive improvement to the last in the series, the graphics are excellent, in car cockpit is as good as the competition (although very late to the game EA!) and the cars and tracks are plenty! What lets this game down is the lack of attention to detail in the gameplay, sounds and dynamics of the handling. If EA are going to make the switch from arcade to sim and they dont do it whole-heartedly, this is what you end up with.

        For me, a game that appeals due to its visuals, but annoyed the hell out of me with its awful skidding tyres samples, dreadful physics on collisions and bumpy tracks and still that curse of the lamer gamer, catchup.

        There is a wide array of cars and tracks and for that, it kept my amusement for the 2 weeks I kept this title. Aimed slightly at the touring car driver, I felt it exposed an excellent gap in the market, however, when the rest of the game fails to deliver, I feel duped by the shiny new graphics....

        It can be had for a bargain these days, zavvi were shifting them for around £16 last week, a sure sign a game has struggled to make an impact.

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        11.02.2010 13:09

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        If you like previous need for speeds (bar Pro-Street) you'll like this

        I'm going to start of by saying its not as good as Need for Speed 'Most wanted' or 'Undercover'. I don't think they can beat either of them unless they go back to the old days of being able to drive around the streets and unlocking the map, however I am hooked to 'Shift'.
        After the huge dissappointment that was 'Pro-Street' I am pleased to annouce that 'Shift' is brilliant!
        There is a masssive range of cars to choose from inlcuding the Veron, and the graphics are superb. Game play is great and a lot more realsitic than previous need for speeds- which means its a little more challenging. Tracking and steering are all setting you can change to make it easy(or harder) for yourself and there is special help for the corners (on the easier setting).
        Literally the only downfall on this game is that you can't preview your alloys before actually putting them on your car.

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        17.01.2010 20:24
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        worth a go

        Need for speed shift
        This games was included as part of the package when I bought the console so I wasn't expecting it to be particularly good, I have been pleasantly surprised by how much fun can be had with the game.
        Starting the game you are immediately in a race which is used to gauge your skill level and sets the difficulty level, you can adjust any settings if you are not happy with the results given.
        Once you start the game properly you have a selection of events to chose from the higher tiers are locked until you win enough stars to unlock them. All very familiar and nothing that hasn't been seen before.
        The main attempt to instil some uniqueness comes in the way points are awarded the points are used to unlock the decorations and paint jobs for the cars and they come in two flavours. Aggression points are given for knocking other cars off the track, hitting other cars, drafting and dirty overtakes. Precision points are given for clean laps staying on the racing line and clean overtakes. Both types count towards your overall score and improve your driver level unlocking the car upgrades.
        The game looks great the car models and tracks are very well done and you do get a genuine feel of speed as you drive. A major impact blurs your view for a few seconds before gradually fading back to the normal view which is a great touch and makes crashes feel far more intense than other games. Driving from the cockpit view is easily the prettiest and the designers clearly want this viewpoint used as you are awarded an achievement for winning a race using this view.
        The driving is a strange mix of simulation and arcade the handling of the cars is closer to a sim but scoring points for hitting opponents is much more old school arcade. Aggressive driving is easier and it's possible to score massive points if you stay in the pack constantly drafting and hitting the other cars. Precision is more difficult staying on the racing line and picking the right moment to overtake cleanly is hard, unless it's just because I drive like a nutcase.
        Overall the game is lots of fun it's very easy to get into but doesn't have a great deal of depth. I am glad I have it I wouldn't have bought it but although Forza is overall a better game this is just about having fun and providing you are looking for an arcade style racer I would definitely recommend this

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        06.01.2010 09:50
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        quite fun

        I had a go on this game just the other day and I found it really good. The graphics are outstanding and really make you feel as if you are in that car with an extremely realistic in car view. The game play is good fun and could keep you hooked for days. There is a whole range of race events to compete in from manufacturer cups where you drive one of the manufacturers cars through to drift events where you drive you own car and have to do as much drifting as you can manage. There is also a quick race feature where you can test your driving skills and practice for the races in career mode. Sadly though the game does not come with split screen mode which was a great disappointment for me as I like to race other people and test how realistic the damage is !

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          30.12.2009 20:25
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          2/5

          In my opinion Need For Speed has been on a steady plunge towards the worst driving game out. What used to be a fantastic franchise, back in the days of Underground, the game is not what it used to be. This is partly because of the inclusion of the World's supercars to the game which is not what I'm familiar with the Need For Speed series, although it used to be all what Need For Speed was about prior to the Underground releases.

          Since the release of Most Wanted, I believe Need For Speed have sufferered because it's getting worse. The graphics may be getting better but the general gameplay and handling of the game is bad. I also think the inclusion of Police in the game has left the game stranded with no way back.

          Although, I haven't played much of this release, from what I saw and played I didn't like it. It handed like an arcade game and was genuinely poor. I still believe EA have a long way to go to bring the franchise back to the top of driving games.

          Overall, I would give this game a 2/5 as it's my personal opinion that Need For Speed is struggling. I would only recommend this game to those who are true hardcore fans of the series, and those who preffererd Need For Speed when it was first released.

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          15.12.2009 17:14
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          A weird racing title which seems to encourage reckless driving despite it being a simulation.

          Need for Speed Shift

          The Need for Speed franchise has been on a streak of lower quality games recently. Ever since Carbon disappointed in 2006, each game afterwards, from the bland Prostreet to the unpolished Undercover, have failed to come close to reaching heights of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. Now, the game has shifted back to a simulator style from Prostreet but much more pure simulation, a la Forza Motorsport. But as we all know, realism doesn't always mean fun, and that seems to be the problem with Shift-it's not very fun.

          Shift thrusts you immediately into the driving seat as you perform a hot lap. But this isn't just any hot lap, after this, depending on how well you do on it; it will change the difficulty, driving model and other options judging you on how you drove in the hot lap. Some may be offended when they get shoved onto easy with no damage modelling and the assists turned on, but the game does a good job of judging how you should be driving, meaning that if it says go on easy, you probably should go onto easy and take the advice.

          After that, the game's options open up. You can access quick race for a spur-of-the-moment race with whatever track you want, or jump into the career mode. The career mode is all about the stars, as you earn podium positions you gain up to three stars and there is a bonus challenge on each race like leading for a whole lap or sliding around a corner for three seconds. There are also two more stars for reaching the point threshold (explain more in a sec) which means you can usually earn a good six stars per race, but considering you'll need about 280 to complete the game, it's by no means a quick win to the top.

          The core of Shift comes from its driving style system. Performing actions like overtaking drivers or completing a sector of the track without going off it or crashing earns you points. These points are catagorised into two styles-precision and agressive. Precision points are rewarded when you overtake other drivers without hitting them, follow the race line provided on easy and basically be a gentlemen driver. The agression points are dolled out if you use crash into other drivers, ram them to overtake them and even cause them to flip out altogether. And that's where things go wrong. The problem is that the game rewards you more for being reckless rather than careful, for example a clean overtakes is 30 points while a dirty one is 50. And if you can flip out another driver, you can gain a whopping 75 points. This causes races to turn into demolition Derbys rather than actual races as you try to earn the most points.

          The first thing you should do in Shift is adjust the handling, as the default setting is too sensitive unless you're using a steering wheel. But once you fix it, you'll find the driving to be solid. The physics are somewhat weird as when you crash into the back of other cars they sometimes fly over your car. However crashing into the side of another car produces much more realistic results, and when you turn on the damage modelling, the damage is impeccable. Also try turning off all the assists and you find Shift to be a realistic driving experience as it can be. However, there are some problems which hinder Shift.

          The career mode is bland, quite honestly. The game is mostly tier after tier of races which never change really as there's but two race types. Racing and time trials are the only modes, meaning the couple of hundred events get boring fast. The only shake ups come in the form of car battles where two evenly matched vehicles race and it becomes more about the driving rather than the car, as well as drift events which are extremely hard meaning you'll probably skip those events, and because the career is flexible, requiring about a quarter of the stars to complete the game, then you will be able to skip these lackluster events.

          The disappointing online hurts Shift some more. Online you can partake in driver duels tournaments where two players compete and whoever wins moves on while the loser starts again. There are also custom races where you can change options and the like and if you have a fully upgraded vehicle you can take it online. However online is nearly ruined by the same points system from the career. Again, you gain more points for agression, and in every game I joined at least one other driver attempted to ram me off the track which was annoying to say the least. Another issue is that cutting corners slows your car down for a few seconds, however the game is bad at judging what corner cutting is meaning you could slightly ride over a bump and be punished.

          There's also a limited car selection of 55 cars which range from Nissans to BMWs to Porches. There's some decent cars here but most of them have been seen plenty of times before. The disappointing car customization also doesn't help. You can't mirror designs onto the other side of a vehicle, most of the cooler liveries are locked until you reach higher levels and most of the designs in general are quite poor meaning it's hard to create a decent looking design. There are some preset liveries but they're simply uninspired racing stereotypes. The good comes from the preset body kits which can turn an average looking car into a beast, but it's not enough.

          Shift has some pretty nice visuals backing up the game. The car models look great even if the vinyls look less than good. The environments look good when going at high speed but if you pause the game and look closely with the camera view you'll notice a lot of blocky edges and textures especially with the pedestrians. However you'll be going to fast to actually care. The sound is good too with roaring engines and perfect sound effects like the whistling in the wind. You'll also notice if you drive past containers or in tunnels the sound effects change, which is a nice touch. However the music in the menus is dreafully repetitive, though during the races there is no music thankfully.

          Is Need for Speed: Shift good, bad or ugly?

          Shift doesn't exactly break the current trend of less than average Need for Speed games but it's a slightly better effort than Carbon or Prostreet. It has a solid racing engine, even if the handling isn't perfect from the get-go, but the bland career mode, disapointing customization options and lacking online play let the game down, mostly due to the driver profile system which rewards too greatly for driving recklessly. If you're a fan of hardcore racing sims like Race Pro or Forza Motorsport, then this will be too light of a simulation yet if you're more of a Burnout redneck or were brought up on the thrills of underground racers like Midnight Club LA, then this will be too boring for you. It tries to appeal to all racer fans, but ends up allienating them all.

          Controls: 7
          Gameplay: 6
          Graphics: 7
          Sound: 8
          Value: 6
          Overall: 6.8

          Need for Speed Shift was released on September 18th, 2009 for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC and PSP. It is rated 3+ due to no offensive content and can be bought for £40.

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            03.12.2009 11:48
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            Very good game, well worth the money

            Need for speed Shift is the latest game from the need for speed franchise.
            Need for speed has been one of the most popular racing games of late and started to get very popular since the arrival of the Underground Series.
            But I can't help but feel that they started to go downhill since Most Wanted, with the like of Carbon failing to impress due to a very short Career mode.
            Pro Street was slightly better but not as fun as most wanted.
            Shift really has raised the bar again and I think im right in saying that it is the best one to date.
            The reason people found the other games popular was because you could fully customise your cars, both performance wise and visual wise.

            This game has all the exciting features that made the previous games fun and entertaining. Such as the customizability and the racing experience, just without the cop chases and the civilians to crash into.

            The career mode is the longest in the Need for Speed range with over 200 events to participate in and over 60cars to choose from, ranging from little Audi's to Bugatti Veyrons.
            There are 4 levels of performance and cars, the first level are basic upgrades and vehicles. The cars in this level are things like the Nissan 240.
            The cars in the 4th level are high end racing machines, like the Bugatti and the Zonda, although these cars performance cannot be upgraded.
            The upgrades aren't just to make your car look good, but to help you stay on the track. Whereas before in the older games, it was a contest to who had the biggest wheels and spoiler, where as in Shift, the spoiler is there to help with down force. And of course, you can still purchase Nitrous to give you a little boost when you need it.
            There is also an upgrade you can purchase for your car which will turn it into an unstoppable machine. It is called the Works upgrade and is only available on certain cars. This upgrade will squeeze every little bit of extra performance from your car, such as instant gear changes and race tyres.

            The racing experience is somewhat similar to Forza. Track racing is the main idea and you actually need some skill to play this game, unlike in Underground.
            If you take a corner to quickly, you will go off and if you use your handbrake to violently, you will spin.

            There is a new feature in this game which is Smart AI. This is where the AI will react to how you drive. If you try and knock them off the track, they will fight back and seek revenge later on.

            When you start the Career, you will take part in a practise race to determine what driving style suits you best, either precision or aggressive.
            The precision driving style is for players who like to take the perfect driving line and hold back until you see the perfect opportunity to overtake. The aggressive driver will draft opponents and try and knock them off the track in order to get by.
            The aggressive drivers are usually the ones with the least amount of skill.
            You are rewarded points for completing either aggressive or precision tasks, like spinning opponents and taking perfect driving lines.

            In each race, you will be given the opportunity to earn stars. Stars are used to unlock races different tiers. There are 4 main tiers and the final World tour tier where you will race the best drivers on the hardest tracks using the best cars.

            You are rewarded stars for earning points in races, completing tasks like spinning 3 opponents and for finishing on the podium.


            There is also a multiplayer mode which can only be played on Xbox Live.
            This includes events like an 8player verses mode and there is also a 1v1 mode where you race another opponent.

            There are a lot of tracks you can choose from in this game, both real and fictional, like racing on Laguna Seca or driving through the middle of London.

            The one bad point I can find in this game is the very long load times.

            Need for Speed Shift has tried to rival that of Forza but it has done that unsuccessfully. Sure this is a great game but isn't close to that of Forza.

            Overall, id say this was an excellent game, lots of fun and loads of cars to choose from.

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            11.10.2009 17:08
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            A good, fun driving game that's worth a look-in

            Need for Speed: Shift take the series to a new level. It may not be as realistic as the actual driving simulators such as forza but it does offer a more relaxed approach to racing. There is a major difference in that it is legal races and not illegal street races in this game, which could be good or bad depending on your opinion. The game focuses more on track driving than in previous installments.

            The game has a large array of cars to choose from, including the mighty Bugatti Veyron which is a joy to drive in the game. The story line is the same as most the previous games ie you start from the bottom and work your way up to the top. Contrary to what you might think it doesn't get dull. There are multiple types of races to compete in varying from drift races to circuits. The drifting is probably the most realistic thing in the game. It is much more difficult than the drifting in previous games. The circuits are great too, one minute you can be driving around a renowned track, the next you can be racing round the streets of London.

            Overall it is a great game. Little tip though, it is made better with a steering wheel. Best Need for Speed game for a while, it harmonises the fun arcade style driving and simulator driving but leans to the fun side of things. Not bad at all!

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              11.10.2009 15:32
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              Worth a try if your into this type of genre.

              NEED FOR SPEED: SHIFT
              =====================

              Unlike previous games in the franchise there are no high speed chases from the cops, this one focuses on more of an authentic track racing game.

              The career mode is lengthy with over 200 events to complete and as you win and are promoted up the leagues until you finally reach the World Tour. The modes vary from standard races, time trials, drift challenges, endurance events and car battles. You advance the leagues by earning stars through either your rank in a race, precision points, aggression points and by completing bonus objectives.

              Depending on your driving style you will earn special medals that will be added to your drivers profile. Your profile constantly changes with each race and is a good indicator of the type of driver you are. With the medals and points your driver profile level will increase and from that unlocks extra car customization, garage cars and available events.

              Available are more than 60 cars all fully customizable, so plenty to keep anyone busy. All of them can have body kits and nitrous added and can be fine tuned to change their individual acceleration or handling attributes.

              The game has over 50 tracks to race from London to Tokyo.

              Multiplayer includes up to 8 player versus mode, and your drivers profile carries over so points and medals can still be earnt which is excellent. There is also a 1vs1 dual mode that pits 2 drivers in identical cars to find who is the best.

              Tip:
              Turn the damage off, if not after too many bumps your car won't look very nice, be a hell of a lot slower and you will find it hard going in a straight-line. Unless you want to knock off most the wheels and totally wreck your ride.

              Behind the wheel you will see the biggest improvement each car handling feels different. The noise and speed of some of the ultra cars is amazing especially down the straights. Each cockpit also looks unique ad beautiful to each vehicle.

              The AI drivers are smart and won't hesitate to push or spin you off the road given the chance. But they will also crash into one another or over shoot a corner.

              Apart from some lengthy load times and the lacking ability to save films which is a let down. The driving experience is brilliant and thrilling rivalling forza and project gotham.

              Recommended.

              Greg

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                09.10.2009 13:33
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                One of the best racers on the 360

                The latest installment of the Need for Speed, Shift, series reverts (thankfully) back to the track-racing percision of ProStreet. After a few more dyer attempts at the even-more-overdone-than-WW2-shooters street racing scene, the new game heads back to some of the most popular race tracks in the world. Slightly Mad Studios have managed to create an accessible racer that's easy for a beginner to pick and jump into, but at the same times appeals to experts.

                Anyone who has previously played any career driven racer before will know what to expect; you start with a small amount of money to buy a bottom-of-the-barrel car, finish a few races and upgrade your car, finish a few more and buy a better car. There are plenty of cars to choose from and they all behave differently making the driving experience for each unique. The cars are broke up into Tiers, as you progress through the career you unlock new tiers and new cars. One thing I found with Shift is I always had the money to buy the car I wanted (however this was usually NOT the most expensive car).

                To progress through your career you earn stars. The more stars you earn, the more races become accessible to you. Stars can be earned in a few ways, a podium finish will net you some depending on your position. You can meet the races bonus objectives to gain more. Or Shift introduces a point-system that allows you to unlock up to 2 stars per race. Its similar to Forza's drivers level up system, but it can swing 2 ways depending on your driving personality. Precision or Aggression. However I found these to have no real effect on the game, or even to reflect my driving style (I like to ram people, but it labelled me as an Precision driver). This element of the game generally gets forgotten about as there is no real benefits from it.

                Two types of race, Grip and Drift. Grip is your usual race round a track for a few laps trying to get the best possible spot, all the locations are based on real tracks and they are pretty accurate. Drift is like drift in any other game ever made, annoying and tedious. The car seems to slide out of control far too easily and most drift races become stop-start as your car constantly spins out of control. I suppose I could have took the time to become a bit better at the Drift side of the game, but it just wasn't fun, I would rather have scraped my eyeballs out with a rusty spoon. Fortunatly the game can be finished without having to compete in any drift events (you can earn enough stars through the Grip events) so its not that big a deal.

                The graphics are superb, although you almost expect that of a racer these days. Anything below exceptional will just be sneezed on and forgot about by the next morning. I would recommend playing the game from the cockpit view however, apart from the great incar detail, you also get some nice effects, such as after a big crash your driver will black out for a moment and you will hear, and feel, his heart beating as if hes about to die. It's a nice touch that adds a bit of realism to the game, even if its not that realistic.

                So pretty much I've rhymed on about how great Shift is, and sure it Is a good game, but every game has its flaws, and while they're minor there are a few aspects of the game that really grind my gears. First of, the Racing Line. I know the racing line makes a game a lot easier for beginners to jump in and start playing, and I know I have the ability to turn it off, but it just annoys me. Its there, and because its there I'll use it. So every race ends up becoming me watching a green line turn red and acting accordingly, it takes the edge of the game and makes it less of a racing game and more of a follow-the-line game. I perfered Grid, where there was no option at all for a racing line, so you had to rely on your own driving cunning to best guide you around the circuit.

                The second whine I have, and this is getting really nit picky, is the speed in which you progress through the career mode. Sure this might appeal to a lot of players who only really play racing games casually, but I managed to get access to the top cars, Tier 1, in a matter of sittings. I liked having to rake around the track in my Ford Focus, but I can barely remember Tiers 2 and 3, they seemed to go by so quickly and I didn't really have the chance to toy about with the cars from those tiers. You see this all too much these days, quick progession through the harder parts to get to the juicy bits.

                Overall Shift is a great game, one of the best racing games to grace the 360, and any flaws the game has are minor and not worth NOT buying the game. Great graphics, good career, great cars and awesome tracks. The perfect recipe for any racing game.

                Andy Creighton

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                  07.10.2009 19:27
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                  Great for fans of the genre. Vastly different from other NFS games.

                  Shift is the new racing game from EA. Based on the Need for Speed franchise. Although if you were after anything like the previous installments, which involved being generally illegal and driving away from the police. This game involves standard, almost arcade style racing, whilst looking absolutely amazing. The graphics are stunning and the audio of the cars is what you'd expect.

                  Your ultimate aim is to get into the Need For Speed racing championships after you have gained enough Stars for completing races and performing certain tasks during them, like reaching a certain speed or taking the racing line on all the corners.

                  The handling of the cars are great, and there is outstanding attention to detail on the insides of the cars. I imagine that the development team behind the game wants you to play with a racing wheel and using the cockpit view in order to play, because without changing the standard controller settings you tend to spin out every other corner.

                  The settings can be set to ludicrously easy where the game even aids you with cornering and breaking slightly. However the game makes you play a test race at the start and I would suggest keeping the difficulty it gives you in order to keep the game challenging but not too frustrating. The leveling up system shouldn't be taken too seriously and seems to reward you quite generously so you can buy and modify new and existing cars.

                  Need for Speed: Shift is a departure from the franchises previous outings, you are now legal, although you can still fit the cars with a nitrous boost and ramming the cars off the track is very entertaining. The damage to the cars is well done and affect the cockpit view spectacularly. One grievance with the game is the voice that I gather is your manager. He initially aids you during the game but ends up pointing out the blatantly obvious after a while and that can get quite annoying.

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