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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

Slightly Mad Studios

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

September 25, 2009

 

 

- Great playabilty for both single player and online modes

- Great audio

- Realistic crash feeling

 

 

- Advancement can be uneven

- Not as comprehensive as other driving simulators

- The heads up display can get a little overcrowded

 

 

Review: Baja: Edge of Control (360)

Review: Need for Speed: Most Wanted (360)

Review: Forza Motorsport 2 (360)

 

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Need for Speed Shift

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

need for speed shift          need for speed shift

 

Racing games tend to lend themselves into two categories. The arcade type - like Burnout or the simulation type, like Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport. With this version of Need for Speed: Shift (the fifteenth incarnation in the series I might add) I have to say that they’ve successfully pulled off a game that touches on both modes.

 

In the single player career mode, you’ll make your way through various tiers of driving levels by earning stars. Much like kudos in other racing games, you’ll earn your stars by racing clean or holding that drift just long enough. You’ll also get them for dirty overtakes where you scrape the paint off your fellow racers cars. It’s really

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truly enjoyable.

 

Instead of asking you what difficulty level you’d like to play on, the game throws you into a race and watches your performance. Based on how you do, it adjusts the difficulty level automatically but lets you adjust it any way that you see fit. I found this a great way to figure out the level you should be playing at and it’s my hope that more games in the future take a nod from this one.

 

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The graphics are very good in this game. Each title that seems to come out in the series looks better than the last, but the audio really caught my ear this time around. Whether it was the general engine sound or the change as you went through tunnels that added to the realism, it sounded great. So much so that when my brother called me during this review on the phone, he actually thought I was driving!

 

I have to make mention of the crashes. Yes, from time to time you may find yourself becoming better acquainted with a wall. Whether you bring it on yourself, or fall victim to another player putting you there I must say that the way the game reacts when you hit the wall seems very real. It’s obvious that the development team went to great lengths with this part of the game and it’s much more realistic feeling than I have experienced in other titles in this genre.

 

need for speed shift           need for speed shift

 

Online works well with a mode that I particularly enjoyed – the Driver Duel tournament mode which pits you against up to eight other players with identical cars. Makes you realize whether you are good or not so good in these modes, which has often been a complaint of mine with other racing games.

 

Overall, this game makes you want to get to the next tier, pushes you to get to the next level so you are invited to international events, and rewards you regardless of your driving style. That makes it accessible to just about any gamer out there and is definitely worth your time to give the cars in here a spin.

 

- Syd Bolton

(November 5, 2009)


Syd Bolton surrounds himself in classic games at the Personal Computer Museum (www.pcmuseum.ca) in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

 

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