VANDERBIJLPARK. ΓÇô Shift 2 Unleashed is the 17th installation in the Need for Speed franchise. It is undoubtedly unfair to compare the latest version with its predecessor, but anyone who has played Need for Speed before will know what the franchise is all about. ItΓÇÖs about going fast in exotic cars with realistic physics.
Shift 2 differentiates itself from the pack by allowing you to tune the driving realism to your liking. The game starts off with a test lap for you to try, and then suggests settings based on your performance, which can be changed later as you get more comfortable with the game. Loads of driving-assists like displaying the best driving line on the track, traction assist, antilock brakes, and automatic speed adjustment for corners are included and are very useful.
Playing the game with manual transmission with all the assists turned off is a nightmare for all but the most dedicated and hardcore among virtual drivers. Shift 2 is definitely leaning towards the simulation end of the driving spectrum.
YouΓÇÖre constantly rewarded for doing practically anything in the game, from winning a race to performing a number of supplementary objectives. Bonus experience points are on offer for mastering each track by sticking to the correct racing line or taking corners correctly.
Another big new addition is real racing stars who, according to producer Jesse Abney, act as the gameΓÇÖs bosses.
These stars, including Vaughn Gittin Jr and EAΓÇÖs own Patrick Soderlund, will introduce themselves in a video and talk about their particular racing discipline.
These videos also aim to create a rivalry and add an incentive: if you beat the racer, you take their car. Shift 2 Unleashed looks comprehensive, even though EA admits it wonΓÇÖt offer the same number of cars as some of the gameΓÇÖs competitors. The races we played were challenging an elimination on the winding roads of Tokyo in particular, but the promise of more experience-points kept us coming back for more.
Then there was the Alpental Circuit from the first Shift, now with the extra challenge of playing at night, which in combination with the helmet cam was a nerve-shredding delight.
* Question: What is the title of Need for SpeedΓÇÖs newest installation?