Review by IsItLuck11

"There are no more heroes left in the world...."

First off, I'd like to state that this is the first game that offended me so much that I actually had to write a review on it. I suppose my opinions on this game must be heard. Anyways, onward.

GRAPHICS: 6/10

I have to say that I found the graphics to be just fine, for the most part. The outsides of the cars look fine, nothing amazing compared to other current gen racing games but they get the job done. The "damage" is really all that can be expected, and is realistic enough. Sometimes the damage is inappropriate, such as the driver side window cracking when you are rear ended, but honestly I had no problems with it. The interior of the cars, however, are pretty abysmal. They are nowhere near as good as the interiors in PGR 3, and how long ago did that game come out? The gauges are almost unusable and hardly visible, so much so that the HUD is pretty much required to stay on, which sorta kills the feel of the game. Also, the rear view mirrors on some cars (probably most) are a tad bit out of screen, so much so that again you must leave the full HUD on if you want to see behind you. These things just really kill the immersion.

PRESENTATION: 3/10

Presentation, to me at least, is the game's ability to draw you in and make you enjoy what you are looking at and experiencing. Moments like "whoa did you see that?" during cutscenes and so forth, along with the general look of the game, as well as the general sound and music. In these respects, this game is horrible. To begin with, gone is the old image of street racing entirely, this is straight up professional racing. More on that later, but the image has TOTALLY changed from the rest of the premise. There IS music in the game, believe it or not, but you have to manually turn it up, as it starts out at 0 in the settings. Once you do turn it on, it is mostly poppy rap and such, which isn't so bad for the feel of the game but you cannot change songs or really alter it in any way. Not the worst point of the game but I really like to have the right song playing to get me in the zone for a race, and that is impossible now. Also the fact that if you restart the race the song just keeps looping, making it feel like you just have your stereo on next to you, and that the game EXPECTS you to restart frequently. While on the topic of sound, the engines and crashes are all realistic enough but honestly what racing games sound effects aren't?

Another terrible problem with the presentation is the start of each race. There is this really annoying generic European sounding guy that is always "coaching" you at the beginning of each race, but he says the same thing EVERY TIME THE RACE STARTS, AND YOU ARE FORCED TO WATCH THE SAME LITTLE VIDEO OF YOUR CREW LOOKING AT YOUR CAR FOR 20 SECONDS BEFORE EACH RACE. Man I probably didn't have to type in all caps, but EA could have let you skip that scene, too. You can, however, turn off the annoying guy's voice, which isn't bad.

CONTROLS: 8/10

I can't fault the controls, really. Everything feels pretty solid, you move the stick left and you turn left. They let you adjust all kinds of sensitivities and inversions and all this, which is kinda daunting at first. You can turn on and turn off all kinds of things driving related, such as different layers of HUD, anti lock brakes, stability control, and traction control. The game even has this kinda cool feature where the first thing you do is drive a test lap, and it bases the settings off of how good it thinks you did. If you're like me, it probably takes you a little while to get used to a racing game's physics, and you probably crashed all about the place the first time, which kinda defeats the purpose but that's fine, you can alter all the settings yourself anyways. The only problem with the controls is that you can't FULLY customize them, which should be a standard in EVERY MODERN GAME, seeing as how it is incredibly easy to program and requires nothing more than a simple menu to create visually, but that is more of a personal gripe.

STORY: -/-

There is absolutely no story to this game. You can make one up though.

GAMEPLAY: 1/10 or 4/10 (if it wasn't a NFS game and just some random racing sim)

OK when I first saw the commercial for this game I was actually excited. I haven't been excited about a game since playing the Left 4 Dead demo for the first time. I loved the old NFS games, along with the old midnight club games. These were games where racing was actually FUN. Let's talk about why. WHY WERE THE OLD GAMES FUN?

Customization:

The older games had the epic customization factor. You could drive around an open world (in most of them) finding little shops that had unique or better pars. Sure there were the basic performance (like level 1, 2, and 3) but the big part was the paint, vinyls, rims, and all of the countless other accessories. It was fun making a car that looked ridiculous, or a car that you actually lusted over. One of the fun things for me was that you were racing cars that you actually see driving on the street every day, as opposed to million dollar exotics and such. Well this games customization is a JOKE compared to the older games. There are a good amount of cars to choose from (now in tier 1-4 style, as opposed to just whenever you could afford them) and a few of them are cheap cars like Honda civics and Ford focuses, but most of them are ridiculously expensive deals that you and I will never drive in real life. That would be OK, but a fully upgraded civic is nowhere near as good as a new Camaro SS, which kinda kills the "street" feel of the game. In real life, as much as it kills me (I'm a devout American Muscle guy) you can EASILY make a Honda Civic go faster than a new Camaro for WELL under 20 grand. Would I want to? No. But in a video game that is about having FUN should I be able to? Yes. Furthermore, as far as custom parts go, there are none. You can choose from three body styles for every car, but the thing that sucks is that they are tiered, so that body #3 is substantially better than 1 or 2. That means you're gonna have number 3, and so is everyone else. That is how all of the custom parts go, interior or exterior, it's just worst to best with no real choice or personal preference, unless you want a car that is under snuff. You can, however, paint and vinyl your car all you want to, and it's mostly free. That goes for rims too. There is plenty of customization here, even though most of the graphics are pro racing based. One of my biggest problems with the game is right here in the car upgrade department though........THEY EXPECT YOU TO PAY REAL MONEY FOR BETTER PARTS. Let me explain that, most parts (rims, upgrades, vinyls) are either earned through driver rank or purchased with in game money that you earn from winning races. However, the game always gives you the option of paying for things (sometimes like cars you couldn't otherwise get) with MICROSOFT POINTS. THEY EXPECT YOU TO PAY REAL MONEY TO EDGE OUT YOUR COMPETITION. That is ridiculous, utterly presumptuous, and paints a pretty bleak picture for the future of video games. Can't beat it? Just take your credit card and buy a better car that no one else can afford, THEN you can beat that snide guy on the internet!!!! God when my friend and I saw that we were frustrated beyond belief.

ATMOSPHERE:

Yes we all know that street racing is illegal, and even a lot of us that actually love to soup up cars and drive fast know that it is irresponsible to endanger others in reality. But we cannot deny that it is incredibly fun to think about running from the cops and weaving in and out of parking lots and highways while dodging slow moving traffic. Well the old Need For Speed knew this and exploited it. You generally played as a low level out of town racer who works his way up in the ranks. I always kinda liked getting lost in the big cities, sometimes just driving around was fun. Even thought the old stories and characters were cliched and ridiculous, they were still fun and entertaining. Well all of this is GONE. Now you race on circuits like in every other racing game. Now you have no name, no identity. You are just YOU, and the only other character is this European guy narrating, and makes the game feel an awful lot like a FIFA soccer game or something. And when I say narrating, I don't mean story telling, I mean literally "Ok you have a few seconds to relax just have fun out there......Ok it's green GO GO GO!!!!!" before every race. Does it get old? Yes, very fast. Is it annoying? Yes. Does it add anything to the FUN you're supposed to have? No.

RACING:

Ok, now we are here, at the BIG REASON we all play these games. The old NFS games were absolutely ridiculous. You could take hair pin turns at 80 mph with no problem, the nitrous oxide was absolutely overpowered, acting more like a rocket boost or something. The race tracks were crazy, and the cop chases were totally unrealistic. Not only were the games unrealistic, but anyone could pick up and play one. It didn't take too long to get used to the physics, and it was more about reaction time and quick moves than precision. However, most importantly, these games were F U N. Sure in real life it takes time to shift between gears, and cars can't turn that fast, and all this and that, but SO WHAT? Need For Speed was just about the last mainstream series that was still a FUN racing game, but now it has completely sold out. Just like GTA, they decided to make the cars drive more "realistically" for some reason, and sapped the fun out of the game. This game is now a driving simulator, which is totally fine for a PGR or GT or Forza game, but this is NFS darn it! That is the number one reason this game gets a 1/10 for gameplay, it has completely changed and let down its hardcore fans, or even its casual ones, like myself.

Speaking of realistic.....I'm pretty sure I could make a slight turn in my old Ford Bronco at 40 mph without losing control of it....and I'm pretty sure I've gone 10 mph on grass without sliding uncontrollably.....But then again EA is the expert here....

FINAL WORD:

This game is not terrible, it IS a decent racing sim, but it is nothing like the old NFS we all know and loved. As far as it being a racing sim, it is nowhere near up to the likes of PGR 4 (or 3 for that matter) or the new Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport games. The game is just frustrating and overly annoying in just too many aspects.

If you liked the old NFS, just don't bother. Don't even rent it. Play it at a friend's or something.

If you like racing sims, don't bother. There are much better sims out there, and most of them don't have annoying FIFA announcers, either.


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 11/13/09

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


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