By Mike Joubert 25 September 2009


It’s hard to believe that the first Need for Speed was released 15 years ago. With only eight cars to choose from and seven tracks to race on, it pales in comparison to what’s on offer in modern racing games. As the subsequent games in the series got more pimped out with neon lights, babes and the lure of illegal night racing, the Need for Speed franchise, one of the most popular in video gaming, lost its appeal for a lot of racers.

Well, we’re glad to report that good, plain, honest racing is back with Need for Speed: SHIFT.

Coming from Slightly Mad Studios, the same developers responsible for ultra-realistic GTR2 and GT Legends, the focus is solidly back on the driving experience, with two aspects making the difference. (Check out our interview with Slightly Mad Studios' Stephen Viljoen here

Firstly, playing from the driver’s perspective you can actually feel the speed, and of course experience the chaos of crashing into a barrier. This definitely adds to the racing atmosphere of the game and is a facet that has never really been explored by other titles. Secondly, the way SHIFT tracks your style, either as precision racer, think Ayrton Senna, or aggressive paint-scraper, think Ricky Bobby, does a lot to draw you into the racing. That said, because you rack up profile points for basically everything, it looses its appeal after awhile.

There are loads of cars to buy, and yes you can mod your car, but not in the same detail as for example in NFS: Underground 2.  The game gets progressively harder as you go up in Tier, a result of winning races and accomplishing certain task such as keeping a drift for long enough. Although the variety of vehicles on offer isn’t as as wide as Gran Turismo, you’re never left wanting, plus the eight different types of events do much to add spice to life.

Ultimately we believe a lot of old fans will return to the NFS franchise thanks to SHIFT’s emphasis on good old racing, instead of the pimping of rides. SHIFT proves that fun isn’t only reserved for the backseat of a car.

A good reward system and a variety of tracks to race on.
Car selection is a little thin and the career mode is a little dull.

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