Saturday, August 20, 2011
First Up For Review....Shift 2 Unleashed.
Now normally i'm no huge fan of racing games, but the mass influx of good quality racing sims in recent years made me want to give the Need For Speed Franchises latest entrance into the series a good looking at. First and foremost, the game is truly beautiful. It really captures the visceral and gritty experience of racing pretty well. Races in the game can be summed up into one word; Terrifying. The engines roar, tires squeal, and smoke bellows out across the track as you and the other racers battle it out for the checkered flag. The sense of speed is captured amazingly and it really feels like your racing down the track at 150 mph. But enough about the true to life feel of the game, lets see how all of the other aspects play out.
This is the one thing that i just couldn't get past through all of my time playing; the handling. To put it into layman's terms it sucks. One minute turn on the steering wheel and it feels like the track suddenly turned into jelly. The controls just have a completely uneasy lightness to them. You don't notice it too much in the early parts of the game, but as soon as you start beefing up your cars muscle, and getting into the later events it starts to become unbearable. This can be fixed somewhat by fine-tuning your car, and the settings in the menu, but even then you still tend to overcorrect often because of the sloppy handling. The AI has been improved drastically over the last game, but they will still tend to forget about you in the corners. There's nothing more frustrating than being in the lead on the last lap of the race, only to have some idiot smash your rear end in and send you flying into the wall. All in all the gameplay is somewhat decent and will provide you a pretty good amount of fun. It doesn't stack up to Forza or the Gran Turismo series as far as a racing sim goes, but it's still a fun play
I won't go into too much depth on this, but if they got one thing right in this game it is the sound. The cars sound amazing, and true to life. If you put a turbo on your car you can actually hear it whine, and let off boost as gear down. The engines have a nice deafening roar to them, and all of the sounds of a true racing experience is recreated beautifully.
If you played the first Shift game, you would know that one of the key differences it had from other games in the genre was it's unique cockpit cam. This returns in this game, with the addition of a new helmet cam, that actually puts your view in the helmet of the driver. The feature seems to be a good addition on paper, but when combined with the sloppy handling it falls short. With the new camera you look into corners as you turn into them, and it gives you a sense that your oversteering sometimes. This leads to some pretty bad overcorrections and sometimes some nasty wrecks. This could just be a problem on my part but i just had to witch to the original cockpit cam.
Overall, the game isn't too bad of a buy. It's definitely something different and worth a play or two. Personally i would recommend waiting until the game goes up on sale for a lower price, as it's not really worth the $60 price tags of games nowadays. Here's how i would break it down as far as ratings go.
Overall : 7
Shift 2 isn't the greatest racing game on the market, but all in all its not too bad.