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Shift 2 Unleashed: Need for Speed
PC, XBox 360, Playstation 3

Reviewed on: PC
Slightly Mad Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Rated: "E10+" for Everyone 10+

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

view user comments (1)
User Rating:        6
Presentation: 6

Shift 2 is a polished and great looking racer, but it's the first person view that ties everything together. Putting players literally in the driver's seat makes everything from the visuals, to the sounds and even the crashes all the more impactful.

Gameplay: 5

Take the realism from Gran Turismo 5 (albeit turned down a bit) and mix it with the arcade aspects of past Need for Speed games and you'll have the Shift sequel. It's a visceral racing title that's easy to jump in to and play, but incredibly difficult to master.

Lasting Appeal:

Shift 2 is packed to the brim full of multiplayer options that are sure to keep players interested for a long while. That's on top of the ambitious Autolog feature and a lengthy career mode.

Overall: 6
Need For Speed: Shift 2 is easily the best racer to come out this year. The developers manage to create a realistic driving simulator that doesn't bore, and an arcade style racer that's not over the top. It's visceral, it's fun, and it's challenging.
CHEATfactor: 6

I caught quite a bit of flack for my review of Sony's realistic racing simulation Gran Turismo 5. You see, I gave it less than a perfect score, which some readers didn't quite agree with - to say the least. Look, it's not that it was a bad game, I just found that the developers focused too much on the realism and left out most of the fun.

Need for Speed: Shift 2 is the perfect example of what I meant by that. The game, developed by Slightly Mad Studios and EA feels like the perfect mix of realistic simulation and fun arcade style racer. Sure, there's the meticulous crafting and tinkering with specific car parts, but the focus here is clearly on the sheer thrill of racing; on the visceral sense of speed and the rewards of victory. With ambitious modes and some cool new features, Need for Speed: Shift 2 does what most sequels fail to, improve on the original.

Undoubtedly, Shift 2's most lauded achievement is its gritty, realistic presentation. Cars thunder by as objects in your window blur and even rocks and dirt are kicked up in front of your windshield. The slickest part of Shift 2's presentation though has got to be the new helmet cam mode which literally puts players into the driver's seat. The left and right of the player's view is obstructed by the lining of the helmet, and it creates the feeling of claustrophobia that one would assume would come with the action of jumping into a race car. Think of it this way, most racing games put you in the role of the car, but thanks to the driver's helmet cam, Shift 2 actually makes you feel like a driver. The result is unquestionably a different feeling and much more realistic racing game.

"...go out of its way to encourage actual driving skill over aggressive bumper cars style play."


Shift 2 succeeds mainly on the back of its accessibility. Sliders and a ton of settings allow users to decide just how realistic they want their game to be, though it never becomes a complete arcade experience. Players who want the experience of constant tinkering and modification will find much to love here, but it never feels like it gets in the way thanks to the game's focus on pure driving. The game doesn't feature many of the over the top staples from modern day arcade games like flashbacks, so you're going to want to drive strategically to avoid a big crash (as cool as they look, it's difficult at times) as it'll likely put you into losing position for the rest of the race.

Interestingly enough, the game seems to go out of its way to encourage actual driving skill over aggressive bumper cars style play. If you find yourself purposely trying to ram other cars off the road or bumping them to get an advantage, you'll often find yourself being targeted by the AI controlled racers for a sense of community revenge. This may sound annoying to some, but it goes a great distance in stressing strategy over douche-baggery.

"Each car also handles remarkably well..."


Slightly Mad Studios has also done a great job fixing many of the issues found in the first Shift game. Powerful cars like Mustangs instantly feel different than smaller and quicker cars. Each car also handles remarkably well and unlike the original, doesn't suddenly start to handle like crazy with every small bump of obstacle in the road. There's also a wonderful sense of progression here, as you'll gain XP and cash for both winning and losing depending on how you perform, so you never feel like you're merely grinding through race after race.

Beyond the lengthy campaign and customization options, Shift 2 also features an impressive multiplayer suite. Anchored by the much improved Autolog feature which ties the entire game together brilliantly, you're going to find little lag and a ton of cool online features that are a pure blast to play. Need for Speed: Shift 2 is full of content that's sure to keep you busy.

Most racers feel like they have to choose a side in the sim VS arcade argument, but Need for Speed: Shift 2 throws all of these expectations out the window in favor of an amalgam of the two genres' best features. The result is a realistic yet fun and innovative racer. Thanks to the ultra cool driver's helmet cam, Shift 2 feels like no other racer on the market. 



CHEATS USED: Add Cash, Easy Wins, Add XP, Unlock Events

Much like many racers from this generation, Shift 2 gives players the options to customize their rides with slick body kits, and performance enhancing parts. Just think of the trainer from Cheat Happens for Shift 2 as one hell of a performance booster.

Featuring options such as adding cash, the ability to win races quickly, instantly adding XP and even unlocking events instantly, the trainer opens up a ton of options for players looking to get the most out of their Shift experience.



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