|Need for Speed: Shift|
|Developer(s)||Slightly Mad Studios
EA Bright Light (PSP)
|Series||Need for Speed|
|Engine||The Madness Engine|
|Release date(s)||NA September 15, 2009
EU September 18, 2009
AU September 24, 2009
JP November 12, 2009
|Media/distribution||Optical disc, download|
Need for Speed: Shift is the 13th installment and second reboot of the long-running racing video game franchise Need for Speed; published by Electronic Arts. It was announced in December 2008 as part of a three-game announcement that includes Need for Speed: Nitro and Need for Speed: World. Shift was developed by Slightly Mad Studios in conjunction with EA Black Box and published by Electronic Arts. In the new franchising model for the series adopted by EA, Shift takes its place focusing on simulation/arcade racing rather than the arcade racing of previous titles in the series. According to EA, the game has sold 4 million copies on all platforms combined. Shift was commercially successful, and followed by a sequel, Shift 2: Unleashed, in 2011.
Aimed at a hardcore gamer-style audience, Shift reverts to the touring-car simulation style of its 2007 predecessor, NFS ProStreet. Although the gameplay of these two titles are similar, Shift recreates car handling much more realistic than ProStreet, and does not contain a story. Upon starting the career mode, the player must do a lap of the track to decide on car settings. Once completed, the player is welcomed to the 'NFS Live World Series', and must earn stars in races to earn money, and unlock new races.
There are 60+ cars which are divided into 4 tiers. Tier 1 refers to average cars like the Audi TT, tier 2 refers to performance cars like the BMW M3, tier 3 refers to supercars like the Lamborghini Gallardo, and tier 4 refers to hypercars like the Bugatti Veyron, or Pagani Zonda R. The car customization options include cosmetics as well as performance mods and is more in depth than previous games, affecting aspects such as alignment, aerodynamics, tires, brakes, differential, and gears. Nitrous is also an option for tuning, but different from previous Need for Speed games as it is simulated more realistically. There are body kits which affect the aerodynamics and weight reduction. There are visual customization options like rims, vinyls and paints.
There are 19 tracks in total including real world circuits such as Brands Hatch, Nurburgring Nordschleife, Road America, Spa, Silverstone, Willow Springs, Donington Park and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
According to an interview from Shift's producer, Geever, the game has been in development for two years. He also mentioned that the game features a new "Driver experience". G-force plays an important role in the game, as it affects both the player and the AI. The in-car view also returns, making its first appearance in a Need for Speed game since Porsche Unleashed. The in-car view is highly detailed, and it is possible to see the driver changing gears and moving his head to get a better view of the mirror. The crashes affect the player's visuals. While crashing, there is a temporary blur on screen. The sound aspect have detailed car crash sound, as well as a sharp gasp of breath from the driver before a collision.
The soundtrack of Shift remains similar to that of EA's prior driving sim, Need for Speed: ProStreet, featuring a scored soundtrack rather than a general track list as is seen in previous titles such as Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and Need for Speed: Carbon.
EA promised that patches would be released with new features in addition to bug fixes. Patch 1.01 added LAN (Local Area Network) play and mouse support, providing full menu navigation to the game, to the PC version. Patch 1.02 added 5 cars (Toyota Supra Mk IV, 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T, 1969 Dodge Charger R/T, 1967 Corvette and 1967 Shelby GT-500) and a new online "Team Racing" game mode, where a Blue team of racers runs against a Red Team. In addition, the 1.02 patch fixed several performance issues (especially with ATI video cards), improved gameplay, and increased the maximum number of players online from 8 to 12.
On February 16, 2010 EA Need For Speed released Ferrari DLC pack for Xbox 360 that contains 10 Ferraris, also extends the SHIFT's career mode with 46 new Ferrari specific challenges designed for the Ferrari cars to participate in including hot laps, eliminators, endurance races and a world tour. Completing the perfect Ferrari package are an additional 125 gamerpoints as a reward for undertaking various exciting challenges. Available on Xbox 360 for 800 Microsoft Points the Ferraris available include the 575 Superamerica, F430 Scuderia Spider 16M, California, 599 GTB Fiorano, F430 Spider, 430 Scuderia, F430 GTC, F430 Challenge, F50 GT & Ferrari FXX. An Exotic Racing Pack was also released for PS3 and Xbox 360 which features cars like the McLaren MP4-12C, the BMW M1, the Gumpert Apollo, the Acura NSX, the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, the Maserati GranTurismo S and the Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss.
- In addition to the standard edition, a "Special Edition" of the game has been released exclusive to Europe. The Special Edition features numerous bonuses over the standard edition, including exclusive packaging, a poster of the game, and an unlockable car and race which are redeemable online.
- Shift was released as a bundle with the PlayStation 3 Slim 250GB to promote the game in Europe.
- To promote the game in Australia, a TV special, Need for Speed: Shift Challenge, was broadcast on One HD before the game's release. The special pitted two teams of Australian athletes against each other in both the game and at Oran Park Raceway.
|Official Xbox Magazine||9/10|
Need for Speed: Shift was met with positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 83.59% and 84/100, the Xbox 360 version 82.84% and 83/100, the PC version 82.36% and 83/100 and the PlayStation Portable version 69.60% and 69/100.
Official Xbox Magazine awarded Shift with 9/10 saying that it has an outstanding driver’s view; a deep, addictive career mode with lots of variety and options; sharp multiplayer racing counts toward single-player career. Official Xbox Magazine has also nominated it for editors choice award.
Eurogamer gave it a 7/10, saying, "If the skittish handling and overbearing, messy advancement can be reined in, Need for Speed could have a future in its newly serious and somewhat crowded surroundings. But with the infinitely more comprehensive Forza Motorsport 3 and Gran Turismo 5 looming in the very near distance, it's hard to see the point in this second-stringer this time around, for console players at least. And given Need for Speed's recent, confused history, you shouldn't count on it wearing the same face next year."
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