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Need for Speed Shift 2 has been released on 360 and been provided for us to preview/review by the publisher.
Believe it or not we are still playing it. Here are some extracts of what we made of it in chronological order:
"Shift 2 shines with detailed models of 60's legends, but in pure racing terms comes in second best to the stiff competition..."
- Motoring Gamer (Sun, 06 Nov 2011)
"hardly not even just six months after EA got together with Criterion to give us Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, the unceasingly generous scoundrels in their department of brumbrum have now joined forces with Slightly Mad to give us all Shift 2: Unleashed..."
- Tired Gamer (Fri, 06 May 2011)
"Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed finally brings a driver's game into the Need For Speed stable. Night racing, changin weather and track modelling all contribute, but the real star of the show is how it feels to drive..."
- Race Gamer (Sat, 26 Mar 2011)
Need for Speed Shift 2 brings realism into the cockpit with its impressively effective helmet camera. The real test however, will be whether the driving is as believable as the sense of speed.
Shift was last year's attempt to reinvigorate the Need for Speed franchise. With the media circus having moved on to Criterion's Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, you could be forgiven for thinking that Shift was to be swept under the corporate carpet.
Happily though, Shift 2 continues to offer a simulation take on the Need for Speed formula. Like the first game this is all about realism, and leaves the slightly juvenile cops and robbers to Hot Pursuit.
Although Shift didn't end up turning all that many heads (ed: cams?) last year, it did have a unique approach to recreating the racing experience. Rather than simply modelling the car-track-conditions physics, Shift made as much of the effects of movement on the driver themselves. This was particularly evident in the helmet camera view that would roll, twitch and even blur the view after a collision.
These physics continue in Shift 2 with its enhanced drivers' seat experience, complete with in-cockpit vibrations, realistic driver head movements and dizzying crash effects. But beyond this novelty, Shift 2 also promises to extend the believability outside the vehicle this time with authentic physics and degradation of tracks and cars, night racing.
Shift 2 also benefits from Criterion's work on the Autolog social multiplayer system that lets you connect and share virtually every aspect of your racing career: status, pictures, videos with your online graph. This is joined by a local career path that is tailored for your personal racing style.
The real challenge for Shift 2 though is not the technical novelties but whether it can convince racers that there is a genuine driving challenge to be had here. Recent progress of Gran Turismo 5, the upcoming Forza 4 and even the now long in the tooth Grid offer the stiffest of tests.
Shift 2 is released on 360, PS3 and PC on 31st March 2011.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: