Racing fans have for long been praising several franchises in the genre – one of which is the all-popular Need for Speed. Need for Speed: Shift is the newest game in the series, and it made some great changes to the gameplay, making the game a lot more lively and competitive. The core aspects and feeling of Need for Speed have been preserved though, and it still has that special feeling you’ve come to associate with the franchise.
In a departure from the majority of the series and following up mainly on the previous game, NFS: ProStreet, Shift uses a realistic simulation engine for recreating the driving feeling, and as a result the game feels much closer to a rally simulator like the Colin McRae series, than a traditional Need for Speed. On the other hand, there are lots of arcade elements thrown in to counterbalance that, and this still gives it a certain edge that helps it identify as a Need for Speed game.
You’ll have access to a huge variety of cars – over 50 – and they can be customized to a great extent. For example, you can install different kinds of upgrades to the car’s performance, such as improved engines and braking systems, and even fine-tune some of the more sensitive elements like the alignment and differential.
You’ll also see the return of the famous Nitrous which was made popular in the previous games, though don’t expect it to feel so powerful. You can also choose to play on a good number of maps, taking you around all sorts of places – the developers have done an outstanding job in this department.
Graphics and System Requirements
NFS: Shift’s graphics are very eye-catching, as is traditional for the other games in the series – eye candy has always been an important part of any NFS game, as we all know. You should expect effects like realistic sun glare, reflections, and of course highly realistic impact physics, simulating crashes with spectacular accuracy. The engine’s quality reflects on the car handling as well, and you should expect a very smooth and realistic feeling from it.
Despite that, NFS: Shift doesn’t require much of a computer to run it at the highest settings if you’re a PC gamer – around 1.6GHZ of a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and a video card equivalent to ATi’s X1800 (or better, of course) – and you should be flying. We’re definitely highly impressed with the way the developers have managed to balance between eye candy and strain on the computer in this case, and they have our praise for it.
If you’ve got a racing wheel controller, make sure you hook it up before playing NFS: Shift – it will make all the difference between a great experience and an unforgettable one. Those of you who have a force feedback-enabled controller should feel an even more captivating experience.
A game that can actually make your adrenaline go up – you can’t really say that for many titles out there. Need for Speed: Shift is just the perfect formula for great gameplay.