Review by Crash2006

"Better than some past games, but still needs some work to make it shine."

As a fan of the Need for Speed series I enjoyed Need for Speed ProStreet regardless of what others think about it. I also enjoyed Need for Speed Undercover which I though was a good game albeit with some problems along the way. Does this next installment in the Need for Speed franchise take a step in the right direction or does it end up going in the wrong direction?

Gameplay:

Story Mode N/A:

Unlike some of the recent Need for Speed games, there is basically no story. Basically drive through the various Tiers (which there is not enough of in my opinion) and make it to the NFS Live World Tour to become the World Champion. The cut scenes are limited to basically talking about the Tiers that you will race in, and specific races and that is about it. However though this works as it follows the KISS principle "Keep it simple stupid."

Actual game play 7.5/10

When you get down to playing the game, the game is great, but there are some problems that prevent it from truly being world class. The first problem is the controls for driving the car. When you start the game you get a test lap to determine what driving class as far as how the car handling goes for you. However you will find out that the higher level driving classes are really hard to drive the cars properly. While this adds to the realism of driving a race car, however this gets counter balanced by the fact that is it very challenging takes away from the enjoyment of driving the cars.

As I mentioned earlier the Tier system is just a bit too short overall. There are 5 tiers in all, but it is not that hard to drive your way through each tier and make it to the last tier in the game. It would have been great to see more tiers added, or to give the game more time to complete, you have to complete each group of races or series in a Tier before moving to the next tier. Also I would have loved to see more types of races other than race, drift, and time attack. I would have loved to have seen some Point to Point races (though the Nurburring races that use just part of the track would technically count for P2P races), drag races (but change how you do them), eliminator races in the main mode not invitational events, and tournament style races where if you don't win the race or finish high enough you get removed from the tournament.

What does help with the game play, is the invitational events that you will get accepted to during your career. Invitational events have different modes which usually test you out in higher tier cars than you currently can get access to, and have special car battles, or various races depending on your driving style. These events usually pay higher amounts of money than the standard events that you can race in, and early on in the game, this can be helpful if trying to buy upgrades or new cars.

Another issue that I have is with the prize system in the game. The game awards you a lot of money each time you win a race. Now in the beginning it is not so bad, but it just get crazy in the later tiers of the game. For example in many Tier 3 races, you can earn a cool 80,000 for just doing a race. This makes the game that much easier buy giving people lots of money to just buy upgrades for their cars or buy new ones to give them an edge. If EA would have said okay you can still get prize money, but you only get a smaller amount and give the longer and more harder races more money for winning it would have balanced the game out more like Forza and Forza 2 have done so easily.

The last thing that brings down the overall score for the game play is the damage model for the game. In NFS ProStreet the damage model was not great, but if you hit other cars or objects your cars performance suffers even to the point of having your car suffer terminal damage and ending your race. This games while it does improve upon the damage model some, the lack of suffering performance robbing damage takes away from the game play.

Graphics 8/10:

This is where the game really shines (no pun intended). The cars just look great, and the overall detail to each track is great as well. The cockpits of the cars is where the real prize is for the graphics. The cockpits look realistic and when you modify the cockpits, the upgrades show and change as you make your car more of a race car, than just a highly tuned street car.

The tracks look great overall, and you will most likely recognize most of the tracks from other games or tracks you may have seen in real life or in pictures.

Pros:
Great graphics for both cars and tracks.
Keeping the story simple.
The types of cars in the game.

Cons:
Career mode too short.
Some handling properties on the higher handling levels and the damage model.
Too easy to get a lot of cash.

EA is taking Need for Speed in another direction direction which was first tried with NFS Pro Street, with mixed results. While this game is not perfect it still enjoyable and can be enjoyed by all game racing fans a like.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/23/09

Game Release: Need for Speed: Shift (US, 09/15/09)


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