The Need for Speed series has had its ups and downs over the years. The Underground titles released in the early noughties were huge moneyspinners for EA, as they single-handedly revolutionised the racing genre by giving every teenage male around the world the chance to stick imaginary bits of plastic onto fast cars and then take to the track in the monstrosities they created. It really was great fun.
Unfortunately, things then went downhill. Their attempt to break away from the Underground scene, Most Wanted, was a decent addition to the series, but ultimately provided nothing particularly new to the genre. Follow-ups Carbon and Undercover were both pretty dull and ProStreet was, well, shit.
Blurry = Fast. Fast = Good. Basic maths.
However, The release of Shift marked a resurgence for the series. The game was far more realistic than the previous titles, offering more of a simulation than an arcade experience to gamers. If we did have one criticism, it was that the supposedly ‘revolutionary’ drifting modes weren’t all that.
It’s quite rare for the NFS team to make sequels to their titles unless a game is a huge hit (See Underground, Hot Pursuit), so we’re assuming that other people must have thought Shift was pretty decent as well, given the fact that the sequel, Shift 2: Unleashed is scheduled for release at the beginning of next month.
The follow-up promises to be more realistic than the previous Shift title, with more game modes and cars than before, a far more advanced physics engine in place, a revamped take on night racing and improvements to the in-car first-person view, coined ‘Helmet-cam’. Sounds intriguing.
EA have promised Shift 2 will be “the most realistic racer ever,” but will it really offer a threat to the pace-setting racing sims such as Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport? We’ll find out soon enough.
Shift 2: Unleashed is out April 1 for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360