A pretty face with issues
The really sad part is that as I mentioned earlier, the presentation of the game is really great, which makes you want to keep playing. The awesome new helmet camera which puts you in the helmet of the driver, rather than just in the cockpit gives a really exciting effect and automatically tracks your view into corners, furthering the immersion as your drivers focus shifts between close and far and even causes the dash to blur out.
What I also really liked is that Shift 2 finally added something that almost all other racing games leave out… the clean racing line (I haven’t played the 1st so excuse me if it already had it). In racing, rubber slowly comes off of the race tires, causing a very rough, dirty, slippery area outside of the racing line. Run wide on a corner and you will run over the dirty parts of the track, making your controller vibrate and also giving you that little bit less grip.
The career mode is also paced well (including photo modes and so on), and allows you to get a lot done without having to spend lots of time buying cars and upgrading them, although that is still an element of the game. Even though it doesn’t keep up with the amount of cars available in rival games, all of the cars are polished and can be modified and the tracks are varied and allow for night and day racing (sadly no weather though).
Multiplayer also works well and can be good fun, although I don’t think it will have much lasting appeal when compared to its rivals. Lag can also be an issue though, so unless you have local friends to play with consistently, expect some weird on-track moments thanks to the wonders of the internet.
It just doesn’t all really matter much though, once again, thanks to the weird steering system and that’s what make it so sad.
This is one of the strangest conclusions that I have had to write for a game. As a package, I love what was done with NFS: Shift 2 Unleashed. The game is exciting, it is beautiful, the effects make it exhilarating yet somehow it has all been spoiled because of a very frustrating steering sensitivity issue. What gives me hope is that a problem like that can be patched, and if it is I can see myself spending a lot of time enjoying the game.
Until that day though, I sit a little sad knowing that deep down I have this desire to play the game, but everytime I load it up to play again, I leave feeling frustrated and upset because of a silly sensitivity issue that’s bad enough to hurt everything else good about it.
While the game is still playable, the massive issue with twitchy steering sensitivity holds Shift 2 back from being an incredibly enjoyable racing title.
Design and Presentation: 9.5
This is where the game wins. Great looking design, fantastic car and track graphics and effects that really pull you into the heat of the moment. Nice soundtrack to compliment very decent sound work as well.
You can get a lot of playtime out of Shift 2, but only if you are able to look past the gameplay issues or somehow miraculously don’t have any issues with them.
I would happily slap an extra point onto this game to make it a 9.0 if the twitchy steering issues were resolved, because everything else oozes fun and excitement. From the menus to the night race scenarios.[Reviewed on Xbox 360]
Last Updated: May 3, 2011