First off I have always been a fan of the NFS games that revolved around street racing with great customization options. This is not one of those NFS games. Shift is a racing game that revolves around track racing, like Forza Motorsport or Gran Turrismo, both great games, but not what I expect from a Need for Speed game.
That being said it is not a bad game. It returns to the arcade style racing, completely taking out the the ability to roam the city streets. There isn't a story behind the career mode your goal is to win, no drama about you stealing another guys girl or something like that, its all about racing, and placing on the podium. You earn money to buy and upgrade cars, and you get the money by winning races, and winning races also gets you player points, that level up your driving level and unlock garage slots, more money, and vinyls.
The main goal of this game is to earn stars, getting a certain number of stars will unlock a new tier with new cars and new races. The stars though are definitely easy to come by, I unlocked tier 5 before I was even done with all the races in tier 2.
Another thing, if you want to experience the true beauty of this game then you need to race from the cockpit, from the view of the driver. Here you will most closely feel what it would be like to drive a car at 200mph, and when you crash you feel it, your vision blurs, the colors disappears, and you just have to keep driving as your view slowly comes back into focus. In this view you also have to put up with cracks and dirt on your windshield.
Overall it is a great racing game, though I still miss the games were I would spend more time customizing the look of my car then I would racing in it.
While Shift is a clear departure from the typical NSF arcade style car driving (pinball physics and win by ramming your opponents off the road), it does it well.
- Good but not great physics
- Fun supercars
- Good racing simulation
- Lots of repetitive racing on the same tracks
- Trophy hunting is a lengthy chore
- Poor implementation of "mastering corners"
If you complete this game, it is a lot of play hours. That's not all bad though since some of the supercars you get to drive are very well done.
Mastering certain corners seemed to be near impossible for whatever reasons (maybe a glitch?) and you could spend a huge amount of time just getting to one of the most difficult turns on Nordschleife then failing and having to start all over at the beginning again. And having to do it twice for the full length vs piecemeal Nordschleife tracks I thought was a little silly since the turn is exactly the same. This was definitely one of my pet peaves.
Other than that, it was an enjoyable game. I'd categorize this game as a hybrid between a true serious racing simulation and the classic arcade NSF racers (about halfway in between the two), and I mean that as a compliment. I personally am not all that excited about games that try to make driving as real as possible. Maybe that's because if I wanted authentic driving with accurately modeled physics, I'd just go outside and get in my car.
All that said, I do not plan to check out Shift 2. Just one Shift filled my racing simulator need to the brim. I don't want to start another time sink of mastering corners and all that.