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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
I am predominantly a simracer rather than an arcade racer, so I am reviewing this from the biased perspective of someone who typically likes Forza2, RacePro and Gran Turismo. I have never played any of the NFS games. But I have played and enjoyed the Burnout games. So I DO like arcade racers now and then too.

Pros:
- The presentation is hip and energetic...
Published on September 18, 2009 by J. Leigh

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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nowhere Near A "Simulation" Racer
If you enjoy the likes of Project Gotham Racing, Dirt, Grid, or any other title in the the Need for Speed franchise, you will likely enjoy the sometimes overwhelming amount of audio/visual eye candy presented in NFS: Shift. However, if searching for a "close-as-it-gets" simulation-style racer, such as Race Pro, Gran Turismo, and the Forza, I recommend avoiding...
Published on October 13, 2009 by Earl Wilkerson


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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, September 18, 2009
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Need For Speed Shift (Video Game)
I am predominantly a simracer rather than an arcade racer, so I am reviewing this from the biased perspective of someone who typically likes Forza2, RacePro and Gran Turismo. I have never played any of the NFS games. But I have played and enjoyed the Burnout games. So I DO like arcade racers now and then too.

Pros:
- The presentation is hip and energetic with pulsing sound effects and visuals.
- The audio is cranked all the way up by default. So if you are using a driving seat with some kind of vibration system like an Aura Bass Shaker or Buttkicker, you will need to turn it down. Mine started getting pretty hot in a matter of a few minutes compared to games like Forza 2 and Race Pro- which would barely warm the units up.
- Cockpit view feels less claustrophobic than GT Prologue. Not sure why.
- Camera shake does definitely add to the realism and excitement.
- Money is earned pretty quickly so you can buy new cars- a lot less grinding compared to GTP. Also when you buy a car, you can later turn around and sell it for the same price as you bought it.
- The beginning of the game puts you through a trial race from which it provides you with a recommendation of the gameplay settings. This is a nice touch- especially for introducing newbies to the genre.

Cons:
- Although the presentation is more "hip" it is also much more cluttered. There is often too much graphics and too many statistics presented to you both in the HUD and after the race.
- Program is not entirely bug free. It froze on me twice. And on another occasion I was able to start racing BEFORE the green light!
- Load times are pretty long so I recommend installing it on your harddrive- which helps a little.
- Even in Pro mode (i.e. no traction control, stability, and abs) it felt easier to control than Forza 2, and definitely easier than Race Pro.
- The force feedback on the wheel appears weaker than Forza 2. I was surprised it was already set at 10/10 by default.
- Cars do not appear to be visually as pleasing as Forza 2 or as accurate as GT Prologue. For example, the rear airfoil in the Audi TT does not raise automatically at greater than 75mph- which it does in GTP.
- Quick Race mode gives you a limited set of cars to start with. Although you earn cash pretty quickly and you can buy them.
- Cars are pretty aggressive on occasion, forcing you off the track on purpose. But at the same time, sometimes you see it do some really weird turns (that are not a result of a spinout) and decelerations that seem to indicate the AI decided to revert to following its rail.

On the whole NFS is simracing from a NFS perspective. It's a good effort for the NFS franchise. They presumably want to try and keep their existing customers (who tend to prefer a more arcade-style experience) but at the same time take a small nibble at the simracing piece of the pie currently dominated by Forza, Gran Turismo, and others.

Hardcore Simracers will probably be better off sticking to the Forza and Gran Turismo series. Forza3's new ability to wind back time so you can redo a portion of the race will likely be the top feature in the game- allowing you to practice a corner over and over.

I think casual games will still find this game enjoyable for the excitement-drenched visual and audio experience. I find that even though I am a semi-hardcore simracer, this title does grow on you after a while.

Addendum:
I recently played the demo version of Forza 3. Here's a quick comparison against NFSS:

F3's driving physics definitely does feel more accurate. E.g. on the Audi R8 about 70% of the power is supposed to be in the rear wheels and 30% in the front. In F3, it feels right. If you do too sharp a turn and hit the gas too hard, you will oversteer. In NFSS however, the R8 feels like a front wheel drive vehicle- in a hard corner, I can usually turn the wheel in the direction I want to go and just floor the gas, and eventually the car will straighten out. Your car almost never oversteers. I do admit though that NFSS' version of the R8 physics does make it more fun sometimes- you can whip your wheel around on a hard corner and just floor the gas- gives you a heroic feeling when taking an insane corner- which admittedly is not a good way to drive on a real race track.

The steering vibration in F3 is much stronger, and it really adds to the illusion of weight of the car. So if you through a serious of left/right turns quickly, the wheel will pull very hard in both directions and it really gives you the sensation that your car's weight is being flung from side to side.

NFSS' gas pedal feels a lot less "analog" than F3. NFSS' response tends to feel like it's a 1 or 0. F3 feels about right. You step on the gas gradually and you can feel and hear the gradual build up of power.

F3's cockpit is closer in view so you can see the dials more clearly. However the rendering of the cockpit is not as detailed as NFSS- and certainly much less detailed than Gran Turismo Prologue. Also with the closer cockpit view in F3, half of the rear-view mirror is truncated.

Even though I tend to prefer realistic racing sims, I find I really missed the camera shake in NFSS. It really does add a lot to the experience. When I play F3, it just feels rather tranquil by comparison.

NFSS' replay camera view is incredibly weak- there is really only 1 view. F3 has brilliant camera views. Just about every conceivable camera view is included. I have never seen so many views in a racing game. This is particular important if you are serious about analyzing your driving. And just as in Forza 2, you can toggle on/off detailed telemetry about your car.

However, still, the one feature that makes F3 the hands down winner, is the ability to rewind time so you can retake a corner. I found myself using this quite often and really appreciating it the more I use it- especially so that I don't have to restart the race just because I spun out toward the end of the last lap. However, I can see that this can be such a powerful crutch that people will over use it... perhaps forgetting that in real life there are no undos when it comes to real car racing... But for now I am thankful the feature is there. It is such a great learning tool.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NFS... Shifts in more than just the title, October 15, 2009
By 
Jason Brown (Fort Meade, MD) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Need For Speed Shift (Video Game)
The game has the feel of the old NFS games, but they have SHIFTed to more of a simulater style game. Just not quity the same quality as Forza 3, 2, or 1. If your looking for the old style NFS games this is NOT for you. If your looking for true simulation, it's close, very close. Tuning the cars is a little more of a guessing game then Forza with no good ways to test your set-up with before you race. If your a fan of the NFS series this is a must have... If your a fun of the Forza series this is a game to have on your shelf but not to play every day.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nowhere Near A "Simulation" Racer, October 13, 2009
By 
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Need For Speed Shift (Video Game)
If you enjoy the likes of Project Gotham Racing, Dirt, Grid, or any other title in the the Need for Speed franchise, you will likely enjoy the sometimes overwhelming amount of audio/visual eye candy presented in NFS: Shift. However, if searching for a "close-as-it-gets" simulation-style racer, such as Race Pro, Gran Turismo, and the Forza, I recommend avoiding.

Graphically, the game is beautiful. Audio is decent also - although not as accurate as Race Pro or Forza. Electronic Arts certainly did revamp their physics engine in this title, giving it a slightly more controlled version of the one found in GRID. Yet, body roll is dramatically over-done, creating vehicles that feel more like drift-racing air-ride suspension Cadillac sedans. Initially, I was convinced this was a direct result of a tuning setup/car type, yet was disappointed to find even the high-end sports cars - those tuned with suspensions stiff as a board - flopped and skidded from one side of the track to the other at even the slowest "highway" speeds.

On a positive side, though, it is certainly nice to see the Need for Speed line-up change things up a little by taking the racing off the street and on the track. Especially with the number of famous tracks (Mazda Laguna Seca, Brands Hatch, Silverstone, etc.) recreated brilliantly in the game.

Bottom line: moderately, sometimes majorly unrealistic vehicle physics and typical Need for Speed flash mar the potential of a great Forza sim racer competition. Simulation buffs should steer towards Race Pro, or wait for Forza 3.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable racer!, October 5, 2009
By 
Scott Sloan (Vacaville, Ca.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Need For Speed Shift (Video Game)
As an older gamer i grew up with the NFS franchise, and watched it with some dismay as it moved away from track to street and then faded into obscurity. With Need For Speed; Shift I feel that EA has helped to bring the franchise back into competition with the Gran Turismo, and Forza franchises. Don't get me wrong the Undergrounds were excellent in my mind but maddening shortcuts, and opponents that seemed to have faster reflexes then Tron made it a maddening experience. NFS:Shift seems like a fresh start with beautifully rendered cars tearing up famous tracks all over the world. The car selection seems very good with classic imports for the Tuner, big american muscle for the Wrenchers, and the exotics that make us all drool like young schoolboys.
The cockpit view is very nice but still feels a little cramped for my taste but the detail has to be seen to be believed. Controls feel good, and the cars all feel a little different when driving them. The AI while a little bit aggressive when it comes to trading paint, or trying to muscle me off the track (NOT NICE!!!) seems to actually use some intelligence with racing, braking lines, but still is subject to mistakes. Nothing like driving through a corner at Laguna and you can't see anything for all the dust in the air cuz the AI took it wide, and is now in the dirt. I thought that was an Excellent little detail!!!
At the end of each race points are awarded based on aggressive, or precision driving (another nice touch) and rewards are doled out. Cash doesn't seem as hard to come by as one reviewer stated so it's not as much of a grind to buy upgrades for your favorite ride. Game has enough variety so far to keep me entertained for hours.
I think it's a great game, and well worth the time and money spent.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shifted Up, August 10, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Need For Speed Shift (Video Game)
I'd sum it up as Television show "Top Gear" meets "Gran Turismo".. Game has an accurate driving feel, coupled with a profile building experience.. Your accelerated to drive on & improve your ranking. Earning Cash quickly & testing out a wide variety of Cars within your 1st day. Your not limited to only driving your garaged cars. There are plenty of Manufacture Races & other Time Trial Tests to hone your skills. One you begin to tune your cars to met track needs, you're really beginning to master the game.

My favorite part is the Start of the race, the initial battle to get to the lead, avoiding drivers & spinning people out. You will quickly recognize rival drivers who give you a hard time on the track.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I feel the need for a Great game again!, December 29, 2009
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Need For Speed Shift (Video Game)
I have been playing the need for speed games since they were first introduced on the PSone. Over the years the game has evolved and changed. This iteration is by far the best it has been in recent history. It combines beautiful graphics with excellent physics. The tiered advancement system is nice, along with the fact coming in first is NOT the most important part of the race, but how you drive the race is. If you are looking for a game like NFS Carbon or Underground, look elsewhere. I'm glad they have finally stopped with the immature street racing games that have populated the series since last generation; this is by far a step up and in the right direction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing sense of speed, October 1, 2009
By 
Amazon Customer (New Jersey United States) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Need For Speed Shift (Video Game)
I have never before played a racing game that so perfectly captures the feel of driving from the cockpit view. This is really like a first person driving game.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the cars in this game, September 10, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Need For Speed Shift (Video Game)
My 10 year old grandson recomened this game to me ( I am 66 ) I LOVE it !! the cars are really nice & it was easy for me to "master" the tracks. Great game.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best cockpit ever..., October 6, 2009
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Need For Speed Shift (Video Game)
Need for Speed: Shift is EA's newest foray into racing. Long gone are the street races known to many NFS fans, now replaced by both real and fake circuit tracks. The game will start you off on a test track, in the cockpit view. While 3rd person is available, switch to it for one track and you will tell right away that the focus was put into the cockpit view... and what a view it is. Everything from the interior of the car to the blur at 200 mph is done to great extent.

The tracks, on the other hand, are lacking the same detail. It is hard to notice going at normal race speeds, but odd textures on forest tracks are prevalent. While cars are modeled well, the damage seems to be hit or miss. You can fly into a tire wall and not crack your windshield, and then a race or two later destroy it going half the speed. Damage on the cars looks good, though it doesn't seem to have a realistic effect.
Just like EA's shooter Bad Company, the sound in this game is amazing. Engine revs, tire squeals, and collisions all sound amazing in surround sound. Driving on tarmac, dirt, and through a tunnel all sound like they should. There is a lack of music, even in the menus.

The career mode will take upwards of 10 hours to beat, and you could add more if you try for every badge and star possible. Online racing could be great with friends, but the game encourages reckless driving, so expect people to try as hard as possible to take you out. At the same time, it is taken back a notch from the singleplayer. You won't spin out (or spin others out) as easily.

Overall, Need for Speed: Shift is a great racing game, with one foot on the simulation pedal and the other on arcade. It will definitely tide you over until some of the bigger racers come out to play.

8.0 - Presentation: The best racing cockpit, with a dynamic camera and customizable HUD. Loading times are horrendous.

9.0 - Graphics: The cars, both inside and out, look great. Tracks don't blow minds, but when travelling 170 mph, who notices? Damage leaves something to be desired.

9.5 - Sound: Tires squeal with realism, crashing against a wall will leave a ringing, and then a heartbeat, in your ears.

8.0 - Gameplay: Default controls lacking. Career mode offers a variety of race types, as does the online.

7.5 - Longevity: Plenty of badges, stars, and races to do. Online mode doesn't offer much playtime unless you like ruthless drivers.

Overall: 8.4/10

Afterthoughts (no effect on final score): Ordered off Amazon for $[...] shipped, and at that price it is hard to pass up. The achievement list is a little lazy, requiring you to advance through career mode and earn a bunch of badges.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars nice hybrid, December 16, 2012
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This review is from: Need For Speed Shift (Video Game)
This game is a nice hybrid between typical NFS games and your standard racing simulators. The only thing that I find myself missing is the ability to randomly cruise around a city after you've spent a few hours fully customizing a new ride.
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Need For Speed Shift
Need For Speed Shift by Electronic Arts (Xbox 360)
$19.99 $15.44
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