As I posted earlier we had the local Need for Speed Shift 2 launch event last night and fellow local Stephen Viljoen from Simply Mad Studios addressed the crowd of journalists about the game and what we can expect from it.
He went into many different aspects about the game but these are the key aspects that really sunk home with me.
First up was the economy behind Shift 2, he readily admitted that they got this wrong in the original Shift title which didn’t make earning money hard enough and subsequently everyone could simply grab whatever car they wanted quite early in the game.
Now the system has been totally overhauled and you are really going to have to work hard to move up the car rankings, something proven by the fact that the demonstration was done with a Red Golf GTI as we had a retail build and the cheat codes don’t work in the retail build.
In Need for Speed Shift 2 not only will you earn experience for completing a track in the required time but what could really add some excitement is that if your friend completes the same track faster than you then you will be notified via the built in Autolog system. You can then go back and attempt the track again and if you beat their score then you will unlock even more experience points.
This may get abused by people trying to boost but for the real gamers out there it’s a great way to keep the excitement going and bring you back to the game over and over again.
A new change in the garage is that you can also upgrade your car piece by piece now instead of the package upgrades that existed previously.
As far as racing goes another nice addition is the new helmet cam, this isn’t the standard cockpit cam we are all used to but rather what they have done is stuck a camera inside a racing drivers helmet and seen how it looks really going around the track.
The big change this creates is that as you start going entering a corner the screen will automatically look around the corner as you would in a car and slightly blur the edges so that you are forced to focus on your destination. This doesn’t replace the cockpit cam but is just another addition that I found to be very immersive and enjoyable.
The crashing is another big change with the screen going grey, shaking all over the place, getting blurry and generally being a right pain in the ass when you hit the wall. This has been implemented to ensure people don’t use the walls as helpers to get around those tight corners and now hitting a wall is something you are going to avoid like the plague.
The other aspect of crashing is the damage your car will receive, in our demonstration Stephen slammed the car into a wall and not only did the windscreen crack all over but the bonnet buckled, the sidepanels were ripped off and his right front wheel was torn from the car so that all that was left was a brake disc, shiny red brake pads and the rest of the pack disappearing into the distanceâ€¦ Stephen’s race was all over.
Video proof of said damage
Once we restarted though we got to see a few new things such as dirt and objects on the roadway will be flicked up by the cars in front of you and smack into your windscreen which adds to the realism of the game.
The last thing we saw was night racing which isn’t something new but what NFS Shift 2 are claiming is that this is the best night racing you are going to see and the lighting effects demonstrated don’t let them down.
As a car races up behind you the interior of your cockpit is lit up from the side that the car is overtaking from and while you are on your own the view outside it really barely visible apart from the shaft of light in front of you from your own headlines which makes cornering an incredibly dangerous affair, especially when one or both your headlights have been taken out thanks to some bad driving on your behalf.
I had a bit of hands on time with the game but I’m a terrible videogame driver so I spent more time trying out the crash techniques and sand pits than actually driving. However I did find it a little easier than GT5 to keep my car on the road if that means anything.
Need For Speed Shift 2 : Unleashed releases next Friday and from what I saw last night it’s not going to disappoint the people waiting for it.
Last Updated: March 24, 2011