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Sunday, September 27, 2009

You Need This : Need For Speed SHIFT

Need for Speed is fast and furious

LAST week, when reviewing Supercar challenge, I said there are 2 types of racing games - arcade racers and simulations. Well, I was talking absolute codswallop, because Need for Speed Shift takes the best parts from both styles and slaps them together to give you one hell of a ride.

This game manages to be very realistic yet forgiving enough so that you can enjoy from your first race. You're guided through the game from the start, with your first race determining what driver assists you need and how tough your opponents will be.

Like all racing games you start from the bottom with a crappy car and no money, but win a few races and the quids soon starts piling up and better cars become available. To help speed up this process there are extra points for maneuvers such as clean overtaking, spinning other cars out and perfect starts.

Shift was designed to be played in cockpit view and you should be given 3-points on your license if you play it from the out-of-car perspective because that would be a crime.

Most of your view is taken up by the dashboard of your chosen car. This sounds like a bad thing considering you lose a full-screen aspect of the road but it adds a realism and gives the drive an intense and even claustrophobic feel, which is a brave move and works unbelievably well. The G-force effect on your drivers head as you drive is what makes this speed-fest stand out from other driving games. You can almost feel your neck being pulled forward when slamming on the brakes as the camera is thrust towards the windscreen. I really can't overstate how well the makers have done to capture the feeling of speed in this game and when you hook up for races with your mates online there will be some almighty crashes as you battle for first place.

The graphics are slicker than Nigel Mansell's moustache and the sound effects are so awesome that I played most of the time without music. racing games graphics can be very bland, especially when real tracks are used. Shift has loads of real-life courses, like Brands Hatch and Silverstone, but the makers have used a creative license to add some personality to the dull scenery on its tracks.

I've played a lot of racing games which have the longevity of Michael Schumacer's latest comeback (short for those who don't follow F1) but I'll be playing Shift for many miles and miles yet.


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