Written by Johnathan Bodily
Electronic Arts latest Racing Simulator Need for Speed SHIFT 2: UNLEASHED Reviewed
We've just received our review copy of Shift 2: Unleashed. After we have had a chance to play the final release we will be updating you on the overall look and feel, give you our impressions, and with any luck we will have an opportunity to compete with a few of you via Autolog.
As you may know, we had the opportunity to play the Alpha release of Shift 2. We were very pleased with the game play and with how realistic the game play felt. GT5 is the only game that comes close to the realism that was observed in the Alpha.
One big difference though is that Sony has touted GT5 as a "Driving" simulator. Whereas EA's Shift 2: Unleashed is a "Racing" simulator. While the difference between the two can be termed academic the production team that EA had working on Shift 2 has done an absolutely amazing job with this title.
We're excited to give Shift 2 a go tonight and will be reporting back with results.
Until then, please enjoy the attached video from Electronic Arts of Darren McNamara of Formula Drift fame, and American Le Mans driver Tommy Milner in the "Autolog Time Attack Challenge."
We've had a few hours to play SHIFT 2: UNLEASHED. The final product is just as impressive as the Alpha was. My only complaint is that I don't have a D-Box to play SHIFT 2 with.
I've found the A.I. to be aggressive at very random points. I can't count the amount of times that I was taking a turn felt a little nudge then went spinning. The vehicle damage is realistic and when damage is enabled makes game play even more of a challenge.
Electronic Arts definitely has a winning with SHIFT 2. Dynamic game play, online play against friends, or against random people bring a much needed hint of realism to the foray. There is only so much an A.I. can do to simulate the aggressiveness, and drive to win in the human spirit, so the ability to take your friends to task and show them what you've got is a great addition.
I played SHIFT 2: UNLEASHED from roughly 7pm until 12:30am non-stop. I actually had to force myself to shut down my console... This is by far one of the if not THE best racing game I have ever played. Vaughn Gitten Jr. is the title character in the game providing game play tips and giving encouragement when the A.I. is taking you to task. The FMV is amazingly flawless on the PS3. It is almost like having Vaughn sitting there in your living room playing the game with you.
You will notice in game that track times show regional records, and world records. You literally get to compete with others on a global scale for track records, drift records, etc... Also, if you aren't happy waiting for unlocks, or need a leg up and a faster car that handles better, the SHIFT 2 Store has you covered. In the store you can purchase a set of primo race ready cars, unlock all of the tracks, or you can purchase that one car that you haven't earned enough in game cash for.
If you enjoy racing, or racing games I suggest you head out to your local retailer and pick up SHIFT 2: UNLEASHED. I couldn't be happier with the game play, throttle control and braking will take a little getting used too if you aren't a racing sim player, but overall my impression is 9.5/10! This game is hands down 2011's Racing simulator of the year! I know, it is only March but once you get your hands on this bad boy, you will have no doubts!
The only downside to SHIFT 2: UNLEASHED was the first-run load time. It felt like the entire disc was being dumped to my consoles hard disk. The data transfer takes a few minutes. After the first-run load times are fantastic. Hope you enjoy the various videos we've posted over the past month or two, and the screen shots. Once we've got some more time played, we'll post a video of some of our game play.
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