Need for Speed Shift (Xbox 360) Reviews

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★★★★☆

“I think nhs shift is a good game, defiantly one of the...”

written by antony1993 on 20/05/2011

I think nhs shift is a good game, defiantly one of the games that comes to.mind when people ask me for a good racing game to play. Easy to play and modify cars but a couple things will be sorted out by the time shift 2 comes out, q recommended game brought me and friends hours of enjoyment. One bad point is when racing and you use nos you can't control how long the shot is and it can ruin your race if going too fast in to the quickly approaching corner ahead but other than that I can't think of many other issues I have with this game. This is a good game for those who enjoy slightly unrealistic games such as turnout paradise. Shift is an on track game so it has no free roam. Good for those who are fairly new to racing format games.

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★★★★★

“Colin McRae: DIRT 2 ”

written by Nirbhay on 16/02/2010

Colin McRae: DIRT 2

If review scores were handed out for slickness alone Codemasters' Colin McRae: DIRT 2 would be an easy 10. It positively oozes class from the moment the 'press start' screen pops up, whether it be the slick in-game menu system, the neat loading screen info or the simple fact that you can make the voice over man use your real name. This is about as polished as a video game can get and we're only talking about the menu system. Considering this quality shines throughout the entire game we have a clear contender for racing title of the year.

Your racing career makes up the core DIRT 2 experience, with the goal being to earn enough experience points through competing in events to level up and unlock new events. From the relative comfort of your tour camper van you can access a world map showing all of the countries that host rally and off-road racing events, so it's simply a case of picking and choosing what you want to do - perform well in the rookie events in order to move up to Pro level and beyond. With numerous difficulty levels, flashbacks that let you rewind time if you go head-first into a tree (the same system that Codemasters debuted in GRID) and optional performance damage the game is fully tailorable to your skill level, so beginners through to veteran McRae fans should find a suitable challenge in DIRT 2.

Money is handed out for competing in events, but there's certainly more emphasis placed on XP - while you can buy better cars for each event type and need to buy upgrades to compete in harder competitions, the gap between those and what you start with isn't nearly as large as it is in most other racers. XP is what really matters, and there are ways to earn it even if you find yourself languishing in last place and struggling. During the World Tour you are always working towards Missions, such as driving a certain number of in-game miles (200 miles nets you 2,500 XP), breaking environmental objects (smash 100 to get 2,500 XP) or driving on two wheels (manage a combined total of 100 seconds with two off the floor and you'll add another 2,500 points to your XP total). While not as XP rich as the harder events, these missions mean that you're always playing for a reason even if things aren't going well for you on the track.

The Colin McRae series has been about far more than traditional rallying for some time now, and DIRT 2 is easily the most diverse game yet. You get plenty of point to point rally events in places such as Morocco, Malaysia, China and Croatia, but these are just a small portion of what the game has to offer. Whether you're racing in a high speed Trailblazer event in Utah, an off-road event in California or a Rally Cross event in London, you'll never feel like you're being forced to do the same thing over and over. There are even game-like event types, such as the arcade-style Gate Crasher, in which you must smash into small boards in order to add time to the clock - the more time remaining when you cross the finish line the better.

To begin with the locations available to you will be fairly limited, but as soon as you start earning XP and leveling up you'll open up new locations and events. There are even team events (you'll make friends with the numerous racers as you compete against them) and the X Games to compete in once you've reached a high enough level. You'll open up X-Games Europe fairly early on, but it'll take a fair bit of effort to take part in the Asian and American events, but with plenty of XP on offer they're well worth it. The X-Games is a neat addition to the game, but their inclusion seems somewhat slight given that they feel almost exactly the same as the other events on the tour.

Something we haven't been able to test much is the included online and multiplayer functionality. There are leaderboards on offer for more or less everything, and you can compare your stats to your friends at the push of a button, but more important is the competitive multiplayer modes. Pro Tour is where you'll go for ranked racing and where you'll earn Fame points - the online version of the career mode's XP. For a more laid back online session the Jam Session mode allows up to eight players to mix and match tracks and vehicle types, as well as customise settings such as allowed vehicle grades, damage and catch up. Add to this regular tournaments to compete in and you've got a solid online package.

We touched on the sublime presentation earlier, but that was just the flash menus before you get into the game properly. Behind the wheel DIRT 2 looks phenomenal. It's easy to get carried away, but we've never seen a racer that looks this good. The point to point stages are the stars of the show, often with huge draw distances, environmental effects (such as low lying fog) and stunning scenery. The fact that it all runs at a consistent frame rate for the most part and looks pin sharp is the icing on the cake. It's a gorgeous game that will earn itself many fans for this alone. The audio work is top notch too, with a trendy soundtrack and decent voice work from the included drivers who often chirp up during events. If there are complaints they're minor, but the flashy menus frustrate occasionally when you're forced to look over a festival for a few moments after each event, and a clearer system for laying out events wouldn't have gone amiss.

Minor problems aside, DIRT 2 is everything racing fans will want from an off-road racer. The driving is fast, fun and be tailored to your skill level. Hardcore fans will work hard shaving split seconds off their best times, while novices can still work through the career and have fun with their fiends online. Wrap up this enjoyable rally experience with the best racing game visuals we've ever seen and DIRT 2 becomes a must-buy game. It's too early to give it the crown of racing game of the year, but it'll take something very special to outdo this classy Codemasters effort.

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★★★★★

“EA GAMES :- NFS SHIFT ”

written by on 13/02/2010

EA GAMES :- NFS SHIFT

When EA announced that it would be giving its Need for Speed games more development time to ensure the series would become known for quality, the racing community clapped politely, but weren't hysterical. Over the years the franchise has had far more critical flops than hits, with the arcade brilliance displayed in Most Wanted generally being overshadowed by the mediocrity of ProStreet and Undercover. So when the next NFS title was revealed as a sim racer, not an FMV laden open-world thrill ride, we were initially confused. Then we realised that developer Slightly Mad Studios is the team behind the superb GTR2, and then we played it. Things suddenly looked very positive for EA, until the release schedule revealed that DIRT 2, GT PSP, Forza 3 and GT5 were all due for release in the weeks surrounding Shift's debut. Just how many racers does the average gamer have time for?

Let's get the most important thing out the way first: Shift is easily the best NFS title in years, perhaps even the best ever. There's no question that EA and Slightly Mad have created a game that will please millions of racing fans around the world and that this is a great new beginning for the franchise. If you want a serious racer, complete with some great cars and tracks, and the best in-car view outside of real life, look no further than Shift. On that front everyone involved should be congratulated and given a hearty pat on the back. But we'd still love to ask some serious questions about a few of the design choices.

Shift has a fairly traditional career structure. Events are split into four tiers, with a fifth - World Tour - being the Holy Grail that all Shift drivers aspire to compete in. Inside each tier is a series of events (race, time trial, head to head, endurance, eliminator and drift), each having a number of stars and cash up for grabs, as well as being an opportunity to earn points that go towards your overall driver rank. At first it's all a tad confusing. Stars, earned for podium position, points earned and achieving set goals, go towards unlocking new events and tiers. You'll move from tier one to two fairly quickly, but from then on you'll need to perform well in lots of events in order to progress.

Points are earned in a way not too dissimilar to the Kudos system in the Project Gotham Racing series, although here they're split between Precision and Aggression. Precision points are awarded for sticking to the racing line, drafting behind other drivers and taking corners well, while Aggression points are dished out for ramming opponents and forcing them off the road while you remain on the tarmac. It's undoubtedly a system that has been designed to give each driver something of a blueprint of their own, but the Aggression points seem slightly at odds with the sim nature of the experience - you don't see many professional drivers deliberately using their cars as weapons.

The career mode will keep you playing for some time, and getting a complete set of stars will take even longer, but it would all be for nothing if the actual driving wasn't up to speed. When you first start the game you'll be asked to drive a test lap in order for the game to determine your skill level - do well and it'll be suggested that you drive with settings suited to an experienced racing game player, while a poor performance will mean the game will recommend a ton of assists. All these settings can be changed at any point, but the test lap (repeatable if you're not happy with your result) is a very good starting point.

In terms of how driving feels, it'll depend a lot on the assists you've got turned on, but in general we reckon Shift sits somewhere between the flash of Project Gotham Racing and complete seriousness of Gran Turismo. Complete hardcore sim fans may find that a little disappointing, but given the series' arcade heritage this is still a massive departure and will be a huge change from the norm for anyone who has stuck to the NFS franchise down the years. Analogue stick controls take some getting used to, with the sensitivity likely requiring a tweak or two to feel right, but once you've got a setup you're happy with the cars handle superbly well.

Considering how great the handling is the awkward drift events come as quite a shock. Instead of competing against other drivers for the best time or position on the track, drift is all about scoring points by sliding around corners while managing to keep some element of control. After some practice you'll likely get the hang of it and not constantly spin wildly out of control, but these events simply don't fit with the overall feel of the game and for many will be an annoyance to work through. Thankfully these events are dwarfed by proper racing, but we'd have preferred none at all.

When we first saw Shift it looked incredible, and we still think it looks great, but just not as impeccable as we initially thought. It's not until you use the incredible cockpit view, so your vision is fairly limited, that things take off. Sat in the drivers seat, Shift becomes an altogether more thrilling and realistic experience. The sense of speed at times is scary, the head movement as you accelerate and brake puts you in the game like few others have ever managed, and crashes, complete with impact blur, only lack physical pain.

When played using an external camera, however, Shift is an OK game that looks pretty good. Look closer and further afield than the tarmac and blemishes start to appear - and at times the game look rather ugly. In terms of trackside detail Shift is sorely lacking when put up against recent racing hit DIRT 2, and the city tracks look relatively basic when compared to the now fairly old Project Gotham Racing 4. Car Damage is also a little disappointing, falling some way short of what we've come to expect in next-gen racers. Audio is as well done as you'd expect from an EA game, the soundtrack is trendy without being terrible, and there's even a handy voice over man that explains anything new that crops up.

This being a Need for Speed game there are obviously plenty of options for car customisation, from buying new performance upgrades and applying your own designs (making your own graphics is possible by combining primitive shapes), to customising your rims and laying down some paint. Certain tuning options are locked until you've bought the required body kits or upgrades, but assuming you've spent the cash you'll be able to adjust tyre pressure, tweak downforce and more.

Outside of the career mode there's the usual quick race and time trail options, as well as online multiplayer for up to eight players. Our tests have been limited to a maximum of five other players on a closed private network, but performance was excellent. There's nothing too remarkable about the online implementation, but with the driver points carrying through you'll always be working towards the next driver rank and the unlocks that go with it. There's some decent friend integration, with your buddies' best times on tracks appearing throughout the career mode, but there's just nothing here that stands out as anything wholly new. Thankfully the driver AI when you're playing alone is up there with the best we've seen, so the online limitations are certainly forgivable.

Need For Speed: Shift is a brilliant new start for the franchise and has clearly been built by a team that loves racing. It's got shortcomings, as you'd expect from a new entry in the genre (notably a fairly basic online offering and a catch all career mode), but the on-track action is worth the price tag. Shift comes highly recommended to all racing game fans, even if it may well end up serving as a stop gap release until console exclusive heavy hitters Forza 3 and GT5 turn up.

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Nirbhay's Comment

Written on: 16/02/2010

I found this review very helpful because...it contains lot of information about this game...

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★★★★★

“OUT OFF THE NEED FOR SPEED GAMES THIS IS THE BEST...”

written by jasonx1 on 02/10/2009

OUT OFF THE NEED FOR SPEED GAMES THIS IS THE BEST BRINGING THE FULL POWER OFF THE XBOX 360 AND BEATING BURNOUT GAMES ITS SO FAST AND SO RELISTIC THE MOVIE WHEN IT STARTS UP IS GREAT JUST LIKE WHEN YOU START THE GAME . THE CARS HANDLE SO WELL AND THE RACE TRACKS ARE BETTER NO MORE DRIFTING YEAH THE GRAPHICS ARE SO AMAZING SO IS THE SOUND YOU NEED A SUBWOOFER AND SPEAKERS TO REALLY ENJOY THIS SOUND . ONCE YOU PLAY THIS YOU WONT GO BACK TO THE NEED FOR SPEED GAMES AGAIN A MUST BUY GAME

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