I did enjoy this game to a point, but I got increasingly tired of the long load times and waiting for all the videos and transitions to finish. Graphics and gameplay are solid, just not all the inbetween content, it's simply overkill.
The NFS franchise is at a crossroads. It's got a long history of competent and engaging racers (original Hot Pursuit and Porsche Unleashed), and at some point it seems they went down the "Pimp My Ride" road and never turned back (Most Wanted, Underground). Then they came out with the Shift series that seems to merge the technical aspects with the underground for the young MTV crowd. I get it, no doubt it keeps the NFS franchise alive and well, but it inevitably fails for me because I'd rather have the technical, serious racing (i.e. Gran Turismo, Forza) than the social aspect. And honestly, the camera panning to the hot girls at the beginning of each race is pretty lame.
Anyway, I still have faith in the NFS franchise and will probably play future titles. No doubt they are still fun and maybe I just need to adjust my expectations and play it as a casual racer with friends.