Thursday, March 31, 2011

Need for Speed: Shift 2

Good gracious... where do I begin?
This game fucking sucks.

Some years back, EA, the inventor and owner to the rights of the Need for Speed franchise, announced that the series would take a turn towards simulation, after being something like "Fast and Furious: The Game" for like 5 years.
The result of such statement was Need for Speed: Shift, and it was not really a simulator. It was a game that rewarded you for things like shoving cars off the road. For this review it shall be called Shift 1, to not mix them up with the newest offering of the series: NFS: Shift 2. The name is fitting, because you can just think about it as "shit too".

Shit Too was overly hyped in the past year as the new benchmark for all racing simulators out there. It was being designed with a big budget, all the driving physics would be 100% real, aided by professional racing drivers, engineers, car designers, team managers, mechanics, the Queen of England and even the Pope.
Well folks, it's a huge disappointment. Seriously bad.
I installed the game and went on my way. I was greeted with a sub-par intro video of some generic driving around a circuit or a crash, don't remember, wasn't paying attention since I knew it would have no importance for the game whatsoever and I was right.
Then I go straight to the options menu to set up my steering wheel: first problem. The wheel, while detected, is not in the "officially supported wheels" so it's sort of like "figure it out yourself". I configure the turning axis, the throttle, brake, the lot. Setting up the advanced controls was a little more tricky because the sliders for settings such as "speed sensitivity" have no tooltip whatsoever so I have no idea what I'm adjusting. And there's no way to test your settings in a quick fashion: you can't test drive them nor can you change the control settings from within the game.

Quick mention to the fact that the menus and the navigation within them is pure shit. The game was obviously lifted from the consoles and given little as far as adapting it to PCs. Sometimes in the menus you use U and I to go left and right. What the fuck? You know we have arrow keys right? Nooo. The arrow keys are only useful when you're placing vinyls.

Anyway I chose what I felt was best, at pure random, and went on my way. Some redneck looking guy called Vaughn Gittin Jr. greets you, and asks you the very cliché "So you wanna be a pro racing driver! I have a race for you" ... siiighhh... I haven't heard that one before, Mr. Gittin. He gives you a Nissan GTR and sends you on your way for two laps in a circuit. As soon as the command of the car is given to me I can notice how shitty the controls are. I try to lap the thing around the circuit but it just slides all over the place, screeching and chirping, can barely keep it on the road. After fiddling with the wheel settings a bit more, it was somewhat better, but it's still borderline undriveable.

And this, my friends, is the main issue with this game. It feels nothing like driving a car, it handles nothing like a simulator.

So if it's not a racing simulator then, it should be a game, right? RIGHT? Well I don't know cos I've already a headache from trying to tame the different cars into doing simple things such as going in a straight line. A particular race with a Lotus Elise felt like I was driving on top of a track made of butter.

Not everything is bad, obviously. The graphics are nice and the sounds are realistic enough. The tracks are detailed and when you manage to finally get the car in a straight line, the feeling of speed is there. The cars offered seem to be varied but I don't like the "class" system that goes with it. You can upgrade your cars but if you upgrade them too much you'll find yourself at the bottom of the next class instead of the top of the one you came from.

The car editing screens are better than in Shift 1, and they've learned their lesson by letting you mirror your vinyls to both sides of the car instead of making you apply them all manually. But they still got some things wrong, can't go much in detail.

All of this just makes me wonder, do game companies not use beta testers at all anymore? Or are beta testers given a lobotomy as part of their training? This game was being made for quite a long time and with quite a budget yet it came out like total crap. I could go for pages and pages telling you all the things that are wrong with it and I've only played 3 hours of it!

This post already went for too long and I've left out several other issues with this thing.
If you're a fan of racing games, do yourself a favor and stay away from this. Buy 60 dollars worth of wallpaper paste, they're better spent.


  1. I didn't even KNOW this game was coming out.
    I think Need for Speed is going the way of Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero and should be just mercy-killed like they were.
    Also, beta testers aren't like many people think, they only report BUGS, the programmers/designer don't give a SHIT what the beta testers think about the actual game.

  2. The only Need for Speed I ever played was Carbon.. not really into racing games :) nice post though

  3. Holy crap that looks REAL.

  4. Well the graphics are nice. but we all know that doesn't top gameplay.

    I stopped playing need for speed a while ago :X

    Forza was the only thing that held my interest for a while.

  5. graphics are very nice indeed!

  6. Man, it really sucks? That makes me quite disappointed. :(

  7. Well thats disappointing, I usually get the Need for Speed games

  8. Super bummer! I was looking forward to getting this game. Guess I'll have to think twice about it now.

  9. I really loved shift 1, what a bummer this turned out so bad!

  10. hahahah, shift 1 sucked also. Once you got up to 180mph or so the car would nail a wall if you tapped the steering wheel. It was completely unplayable! I love the NFS arcade racers, what a shame (

  11. Couldn't agree more. I remember playing the first and second NFS as a child with such joy. Most wanted was a blast too. Sad to see such a thrilling and fun series turn into a rotten fuckheap of ass =[
    Thanks EA!

  12. Ahh NFS, all time favourite game.
    And this edition sucks according to you. Hmmm!

  13. ive played all need for speeds and love them all. except this one its just crap in always possible. i think they should just make 1 more need for speed like most wanted and just finish there.