Customer Review

14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All a Sequel Should Be, March 30, 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Shift 2 - Unleashed - Xbox 360 (Limited) (Video Game)
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It may not be completely fair of me to do so, but, This edit needs to happen. Shift 2 Unleashed: the previous review is no more and with a complete driver level I'm much more prepared to create a much more thorough review.-----------------------------------------**

Need for Speed Shift, the sequel to the ill received game, NFS Prostreet. Prostreet to the franchise to the track and removed the cops, Shift, sought to refine the formula. Both games suffered from their own share of bugs and problematic handling, but overall, as standalone games, succeeded in a way for providing a simish experience. And what I mean by simish is that the game makes you drive more like a real driver would, hitting the Apex of a turn, and using the Brake. Since most NFS games are never synonymous with braking you can see the problem in user base here. I digress, Both of the games suffered hitting that middle ground of a sim/arcade game Prostreet had a bunch of tanks for cars with horrid understeer, and Shift had a bunch of squirrely go karts. Both games required input modification to be played correctly, either by car settings or controller ones. Going into this review with that background, if you've never played this type of game before, well, now you know where we're at, and references I make to previous titles should be clearer. Let's get on with it. Here's Shift 2.

Good:
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What's good about this game is actually more or less equaling out what's bad, but Shift 2's strength's lie in its presentation, selection, its unique autolog feature, and some driving aspects.

Presentation:
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Shift 2 has a very theatrical presentation, the game's menu takes place around a R-35 who is pretty much going to crash into the guy flipping in front of him. The way the menu actually loads is from a cutscene that stops right there. The menu uses the right and left directional buttons to navigate, its flashy and it's a bit slow, but its cool, and it does work the way it should. Menu's are generally intuitive, I didn't have a hard time navigating them and they're not hard to see. Autolog returns from hot pursuit and is shown on the bottom, is brought up by the Back button, and can be checked in the menus at any time. The meat here is in the career mode, which is a bunch of flags and sub menus, its not slow to navigate and its pretty simplistic to understand what kind of events you'll be participating in. Obviously as you play more, more unlock and eventually the whole set is there and it's a matter of finishing it. Graphically, Shift 2 is great, the car models are very well detailed, and some very little things occasionally struck me as I hadn't really seen them before, such as flies hitting the windscreen or the heatwaves emanating from the hot exhaust. Shift 2 is very well animated, suffers very little frame rate drop, and when it does its initial load or while its saving to the HDD.

Selection:
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A great set of fully tunable cars awaits, over a hundred make an appearance, and for the first time, a NFS title really shines in selection. Chances are with the selection of cars, you CAN find a car you like and be proud to own or drive, and there is a good chance a favorite of some sort may await you. This game also is not limited to new cars, older models make an appearance such as the 69 charger, or the 427 shelby cobra. All the way up to the likes of the newest supercars like the Gumpert Apollo and the Bugatti Veyron.
Not only is the selection good for the cars, but the tracks as well, featuring a great number of real life tracks and some fictional with Night and Day lighting as an option for each. As far as repetition is concerned, the game has a wide selection of tracks to keep things interesting.

Autolog:
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Autolog deserves its own section, mostly because there isn't a self contained thing like it. Autolog is NFS facebook, Forza's Record menu, a suggestion area, a marketing channel, and a news channel all at once, all in one place. You can compare your laps to your friends, see which of you is faster, see what records of yours your fiends have beaten, compare your times to the regional and global leaders and get suggestions about what to do next, by hitting one button. It's really nice actually, but it doesn't shine without many friends to enjoy it to its fullest. It's still a great feature.

Driving Aspects:
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Shift 2 allows a good modification of vehicle tuning, and now like Forza, the user can tune their car while driving to dial in their settings with instant feedback which is useful. In addition, the Performance index feature forza uses finds its way into shift, in its own form creating classes amongst cars, separating cars performance-wise to keep competition fair. On this note, generally speaking the game will match your car's general performance, keeping most of the field within 200 points of your chosen car's P.I. This eliminates the need for "Rubber Banding" and really helps to give a driver that feel of "I've got it, this works, I'm pulling away." While racing, Shift 2 keeps it simple with the way they choose to approach it. Just like real life, you get one shot per race, there is no rewind feature, if you mess up, you either live with it, or restart. For better or worse, this does make the game harder, and more focused on clean driving constant damage will detriment performance and handling, and increase the likelihood of spinouts, which will cost you the race. The online component will be helped, as career trained drivers will be more protective of their vehicles by habit (theoretically). The addition of the Helmet cam is also an interesting feature that when gotten used to improves immersion. The camera is in the driver's helmet, and as such moves with the drivers action, tilting for turns, the head turning to the Apex before a turn, and the head rocking back and forth after a collision. A lot of the driving aspects are really neat, and set this game apart from others in the same genre, and give it a unique flavor.
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Bad:
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Shift 2's not without fault, I'll discuss Bugs, Driving aspects, Customization, and Drifting.

Bugs:
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A common bug I ran into is the game loading a race, and going black right before I had control of my car. I could rev the engine, and The announcer would speak but nothing would happen, just sound. Pressing the live button seemed to fix it when I entered then exited the live popup menu. The game also freezes a fair amount, but only seems to do so in the menu, and frequently I have been modifying my rims when it does. It's not constant but it is there.

Driving aspects:
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I suppose when you play a racing game, the driving aspect is the most important part, as you'll need to really familiarize yourself with its quirks, and its demeanor at a core level. It's like the fighting system to a fighting game, if it's flawed, the game feels broken.

Shift 2 does not fix its older brother's wonky input. The deadzone is too high, the sensitivity of the wheel is too high at low and high speeds, and the accelerator sensitivity could be less potent. The cars suffer greatly as many of them under high modification handle extremely twitchy. Oddly enough most stock vehicles seem drivable. High horsepower, RWD vehicles are extremely difficult to control, and almost any car high in 5th or 6th gear when asked to turn at high speeds will turn way too much if the car is not corrected, it'll just spin. Fishtailing is the name of the game. Even when you get used to it, the car seems to have bouts of uncontrollable fits, just wanting to spin while you fight it and lose track position because for some reason it just won't go straight. Luckily, dropping the Deadzone and Sensitivity fixes a lot of these issues, but they never completely leave. Shift 2 just has some cars that are always threatening to spin at any given moment, it's almost stressful.
Shift 2 also does NOT support a good many driving wheels, problems such as input lag are only some of what plague some people, and until a patch is released to fix these issues playing with a wheel is not recommended.
All in all though, once you modify the settings, and get used to the driving, Shift 2 is a great game, its by no means a sim while driving, but its fun.

Customization
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Despite the great customization of this title, they went ahead and did this to it. The livery editor is extremely limiting. There are only a few categories available to choose from, very few options in those categories, and worst of all, many vinyl's cannot be color changed. To make matters even worse, these images are not high res, the have jaggies when blown up to max size, and look icky. You can still make cool designs, but this system needs help. There are no number vinyl, and no text vinyl either. The Packaged liveries are nice, but run of the mill, and as such many users will want to make their own designs, it's a backward step even from Shift 1 (this editor) and nothing even close to what Prostreet offered.
Rims cannot be painted, but come in many colors, still this has been a staple of the series for a long time, why remove it now?

Drifting:
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God awful, that's all I can say. Takes forever to get used to, has completely different feel than that of normal driving, and out of place. In the game for some reason, and extremely difficult to master Drifting requires an amount of patience to learn that I just didn't have. The tutorial was spoonfed, too long and unengaging, and oddly enough didn't help me drift better at all. I still can't chain drifts to save my life, and I'm lucky if I can get the car to drift without spinning it around. Drifting in this game just doesn't feel right, and is a gimmick, even by SMS's standards, its only in there for 10 events and can be beaten and never gone back to. It's not recurring, more races would have been a better choice, or something actual people do all the time, Drag racing, and like Prostreet, (possibly minus staging) it'd have been welcome.
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All in all, Shift 2 is a great Arcade/Sim Line stalker. It's fun, but it's got some issues it requires some patience, and it requires time. If you're looking for an easy racing romp, this game will frustrate the crap out of you, if you're looking for a sim, it might not interest you either as that line it treads may not be real enough, but its more up your alley than not. And finally if you're looking for a Grid or Dirt Type of game, I think you'll be alright. With some tweaking, the game can play like that and its fun like those games. I recommend the game as a racer, I however do not recommend as a realistic Sim like that of F3 or GT5. Though it leans more in that direction than that of Blur or Split/Second.

Recommended for ages over 10 due to its twitchy handling, and unforgiving nature.

For an in-depth guide to Shift 2's Control settings, Go here:
[...]

Especially if you're having issues with a wheel.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 9, 2011 4:30:35 PM PDT
R S H says:
awesome review, but a sequel sounds so final! Im looking forward to shift 3
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