Shift 2 Unleashed
The Need For Speed franchise is known for its balls-to-the-wall racing and adrenaline fuelled spectacles. 2009’s NFS: Shift on the other hand represented their first proper foray into simulation racing (no NFS: Prostreet does not count) along the lines of current favourites like Forza 3 and Gran Turismo 5.
While Shift was a great first attempt, there were more than a few places for the folks at EA to build upon such controls that were dodgy and driver progression that felt lazy at best. Fast forward to 2011, and there have been a few changes most obvious being that of the game’s title lacking the Need For Speed moniker. The cars handle as wildly as they did in the earlier game, resulting in a harsh learning curve where you will be spending a fair portion taming your ride of choice before you can proceed to winning races. There’re a smaller number of cars available this time around too with just 145 to choose from.
To further add to the list of changes, the game’s experience system borrows heavily from role-playing games such as Dragon Age. Every positive action, from overtaking a competitor to sliding cleanly from a corner, nets you experience points. Garnering enough of them unlocks cars, vinyls and races. Think of it as Forza 3‘s levelling up system on steroids.
In addition to this relentless obsession with doling out points, there’s robust social integration too. Borrowing from 2010’s NFS: Hot Pursuit, autolog makes a welcome return. With it you can check your progress vis-a-vis your friends via autolog ensuring that there’s a never-ending tussle as to who is the best racer from the bunch in the game’s varied single-player challenges.
Overall, Shift 2 is a marked improvement over its predecessor, in terms of pure racing it’s nowhere close to purist favourites such as Forza 3 and Gran Turismo 5 but it scores heavily in making it accessible and, most importantly, social.