Recently EA came to town to show off Need for Speed Shift.
Located in a swanky lounge that probably would have made me insane if
it had been a regular night, they had giant TVs set up everywhere with
demos of the game, girls walking around offering free food, and most
importantly, an open bar. I brought a friend along for the ride and
jumped right into trying out the realistic racing game.



The first thing most people realized after picking it up was how
easy it was to crash. To those of us weened on arcade racers it’s tough
to get into a game with precision driving. Brakes? Who uses those? If
you take a turn too fast you’ll end up spinning around in the dirt, the
race damn near lost as soon as it started. This is a racing simulation through and through and the amount of detail on the cars both inside and out (yes, each car’s interior has been accurately recreated) is amazing.


 

The game was set to an easy mode which displayed a series of arrows on
the road to indicate where you should be driving and at what speed, and
made it easier for the newcomers to understand how the game is meant to be played.
The arrows are green for when you should should keep the accelerator down and then turn yellow or red when you have to slow down or risk
flying off the track. It’s all about realistic driving here, and if you
don’t take the turns just right you’ll end up smashing your car into a
wall.
 

It’s nice to see that the over 100 licensed cars take damage, but try
as I might I couldn’t get one completely totaled. Those of you who
prefer the first-person perspective will have to be truly hardcore,
because if you smash your car a bit the windshield will start to crack
and obscure your vision even more. If you hit it really bad the hood
can even pop up and block your view completely!


My friend and I joked that the game shouldn’t even be called Need for Speed at all! Need for Braking or Need for Down Shifting were
more appropriate titles, we thought. While the sense of speed is
fantastic- especially in the first person in-car view- you don’t get to
experience too much of it because you’ll be trying to stay on the road
any way you can.




The game is very solid and will likely make simulation fans happy but is just not for me. Racing a clean line and slowing down to take a perfect turn just holds no interest for me- I’d rather be driving at ridiculous speeds and smashing other cars off the road. But for car junkies who want the experience of sitting in some of the most powerful cars around, here’s your game.



Need for Speed Shift hits stores next week on September 15th.