Need for Speed Shift – demo review

Please note that this is a review for the demo, as I will not spend my money on a questionable (imo) game and since I have not asked EA for a copy to review (not that they would send one anyways) it will stay that way. But, this demo was released after the game itself was, so I will not give them any slack about the actual gameplay or looks since it should be representative of retail release.

So, after hearing a few things about the game after it finally came out, I decided I wasn’t going to drop coin on the game right away. Well, yesterday I came across the demo that was released (after the game ships?) and played for a good 2-3 hours.

At this point I would like to preface my comments by saying this:
I was under the impression that NFS:Shift was going for a simulation esque game, like Forza, Enthusia, or Gran Turismo.

As far as that is concerned, this game sucks. It is a horrible driving simulator, the cars handle like crap, the racing is crap, the physics are ok but not good.

Now, as far as it being a Need for Speed game, this is a move in the right direction. I could see myself enjoying it as a arcade type racer, and it has all the gimmicks to get that done with beautiful visuals and fun racing action (sometimes). When you crash the screen goes fuzzy and stays that way depending on the severity of the crash to impair your driving for a few seconds if it was really gruesome. The interior shots are some of the best I’ve seen in any racing game ever and the driver actions are pretty much the best. I do like the fake sense of speed they give you by making the screen shake a little at really high speeds (140 mph+).

But if they were really working towards a simulator, this game is horrible. The cars drive like garbage with the traction aids on, but take them off and the car can’t seem to right itself at all, it’s sliding one way or the other, and when you go to correct, it starts a slide in that direction, almost at any speed. Basically the cars handle like crap. It also didn’t seem to matter what car I was in as far as speed as the Lotus felt just as fast as the GT-R, crazy fast but didn’t show differences in the chassis or drivetrain differences.

The cars that were in the demo also designed like crap, like most NFS games. They let some 12 year old go to town with stickers and then call it good. These cars can look good, and I’m sure in showroom form or a user created livery they will be fine, but the ones created by the NFS designers suck hard.

So, I won’t buy it until it’s 15 bux at gamestop, maybe not even then. In my eyes it’s now just another NFS game, not the one to break the mold like they made it out to be. It was definitely a step in the right direction though, and I look forward to the next try at making the series more realistic. For now, I will just keep playing GT5 prologue or Enthusia for my simulator games, and Grid or Dirt2 for my arcadey games.


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