Need for Speed has never actually got its customers going with the Shift. The franchise first saw the light in 2008 as the thirteenth installment in the series. It was also their first venture into the simulation arena.
The Shift was preceded by the not-so-catchy undercover and pro-street, and was basically an effort to get the NFS back to the consumers shelves. Unluckily, other than the PC versions, sales were scanty for the newcomer, due to unforeseen technical difficulties.
But that is where the new Shift 2: Unleashed takes over. The game erases the past efforts by the designers, and replaces it with some of the legendary picturesque moments as seen in the earlier games like the hot pursuit. But it remains different in every other way.
'Unleashed' sports original and licensed tracks, with equally impressive cars. All major brands like Mercedes, Mclaren, Nissan, Mazda, Bugatti, Pagani, etc,etc are available. And more impressively, unlike GranTurismo, we get Porsche. Yeah, the real guys (Not RUF).
The tracks are also pin-point, and the gamers will surely enjoy the beautiful scenery within. Almost all the major tracks, are available. And as the player progresses, some areas of the tracks are unlocked. Obviously.
As for the gameplay, Shift 2 is far from the best. I would certainly not call it a hardcore simulator, which is dedicated to lifeless and hard-to-remember controls (FLIGHT SIMULATOR or 18 WHEELS OF STEEL), nor a dedicated arcade game like the Carbon or Hot Pursuit. Nevertheless, it focuses to be a good first-timers game.
In-game graphics are hugely stunning, and the cars are also intricately detailed. Again, like any other simulator, crashing remains to be the most fun-to-watch part, although endurance races, where players have to keep focus for 20 laps, one might find it hard to find the funny side of it. Still, watching the million dollar car airborne and smashed to bits is just another part of the fun.
The beauty of the race is further enhanced by the in-car views. It remains awesome because of the addition of the helmet-cam, which portrays how the racers helmet moves. Cool, isn’t it.
The Career mode is very smooth and fast. You will surely find yourself jumping from one event to the next, and after only a couple of hours, you will have progressed from hatchbacks to supercars. Yep, this is to say the Career mode is short but still in fact, the pace at which you win new cars and unlock new disciplines make Shift 2's Career both varied and constantly rewarding. There are also now more ways to earn cash for any cars you may have missed out on in the Career, and the ability to earn experience points and money when playing online lets you avoid the grind of repeating Career events to earn extra cash.
The Shift franchise surprisingly includes the magnificent AutoLog feature, which was first introduced in last year's Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. AutoLog tracks a friend's best time across every event in the game and sends you an in-game alert whenever one of your own times is beaten. As in Hot Pursuit, this can create some fierce leaderboard competition and is often even more compelling than the online racing. Shift 2 also displays a friend's lap time on the heads-up display while you're racing in single-player. You can always see the next time to beat, thus adding great incentive to keep pushing yourself, even if you're way ahead of the AI cars.
Overall, Shift 2: Unleashed, with its short but interesting career mode, the magnificent cars and the superb AutoLog feature is a cool collection. For beginners it is a must have game, because it brings in a bit of Forza and some HP into the picture. Although the aggressive AI can be considered a turn-down, because even the racers bang you out even in rookie modes.
But still, Shift 2: Unleashed is a good sequel that will serve as an enjoyable entry point to serious racing; however, more experienced racing game players should stick to Shift's more realistic rivals.
BTW just adding to the topic, there are a few DLC’s out for Shift 2 Unleashed including some classic cars, and drag racing. Make sure you get ‘em.