Shift 2: Unleashed Review Sensory Overload

The racing game sim is not easy to come by. With the two big names Gran Tursimo and Forza dominating is there room for a third? Need for Speed Shift made a splash upon its debut which not only took a departure of its arcady appeal but it showed that the series could grow new legs and still walk just fine. Dropping the Need for Speed in the title this time Shift 2: Unleashed is out to make all the juices in your body flow with exhilaration at every corner.

Like any other racing sim it starts you off with a set amount of cash to buy a low end model car, D Class for this game. In which case you must build up your reputation by winning races, earning cash and getting new events unlocked. Tutorials are at the heart of every new event before you take part in it which is important. There is an RPG like level system in place for doing things within a race to unlock more features. Driving in the guided line, leading for an entire lap or driving clean races are some of what can be rewarded XP wise. All of this makes you aware of how much better you can be as a driver while racing.

The game would have you believe that this is a true racing sim where in some cases it is and some it’s not. Buying upgrades and tuning vehicles are great features which will let you get the speed and handling that your looking for. You can even tune cars to events whether your doing short track, long track, drifting and other racing types which is great to have so you don’t need to keep changing a cars options. Upgrades can also be sold back so money never feels waisted which is a good thing to have.

Vehicle AI’s act cautiously but are smart in their actions as to give you a good challenge. We did notice that as you progress through higher classes and events further the level of difficulty can someone spike. AI seem to not drive with cation anymore and are almost to aggressive. For a game that promotes respecting a racers line they seem to want to drive right through you to get ahead? Upgrading is no longer the only thing you can do, sometimes you will need to perfectly tune a certain car to come close to winning.

While tuning your car is great it should be noted that the games vehicle physics are exaggerated. They are loose to the point where if you don’t tune the car a certain way some seem immensely difficult to play on most of the tracks with. Which make invitationals or races that give you loaner cars that much harder to do since you cannot tune those cars yourself. Also forget about fishtailing someone, it’ll only result in your loss and them laughing as you spin out.

The game has plenty of modes that you will go through. Standard, Elimination and Driver Duels are some of our favorite. While others can get somewhat annoying to get through. Time attack modes can get very tedious to do. Events can easily turn 20-30 minutes to part take in if you don’t restart. Drifting also doesn’t seem to fit very well with the games default handling. You will need to tune cars specifically to your liking if not the mode can be a chore to play at times. Autolog makes its return with most intact. Spawning from Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, gamers can keep track of their records and friends records. Lap times, complete races, recommendations and gallery are some of the options you can see, it all works very well.

Some of the newer introductions to the series is night driving which give you a totally different feel while racing. When playing the game from the inside car camera the cabin lights up in different shades and angles depending if a car is directly behind you or if you are passing street lamps. Another thing you notice about night racing is how scary it can be, sometimes lights are not on corners or on some parts of the track period which make it hard to know where to turn. Also having your driving cabin light up because of cars at your rear gets downright nerve racking but can keep you on your toes.

The games biggest introduction is the new Helmet Camera which tries to literally put you in the shoes of the driver. As you race the camera tends to blur, turn in the direction of a corner and even brace for impact like a real driver would. This gives a new sense of speed and precision that has never been done in a racing game. In all honesty if you are not playing this game on the helmet cam view or the inside cabin view then your not really playing at all. The feeling becomes sensory overload and should be experienced by all.

Car models look good but not quite up to par with other racers of the genre, however the overall package is note worthy as it delivers great textures all around. Vehicles have full car damage now and look pretty sick if one takes a mean spill. Vehicles also sounds ferocious and add to the games sense of speed. I’ve never wanted to own a Z06 Corvette more then I do after playing this game. Replays have some good camera angles, can be saved and liked how some stages have this slow down camera in certain corners, it’s slight but appealing. Music can get repetitive quickly as there aren’t many songs, I do however like the different variations of single tracks within the game. There are menu and sometimes two different replay versions of the same song which adds some style. Would have been nice to get an option to play music while racing too.

Online multiplayer also works as expected. The leader can choose races according to class, car and even camera angles. Championships can also be done earning you crowns if you won and other accomplishments..

Shift 2: Unleashed if played properly takes you to a place where no other racing game has gone before. It takes what you know about racing sims and throws it out the window to experience what they have envisioned through their eyes. The game engages you and makes you learn how to really make a winning machine. The game could use a bigger assortment of vehicles, have more options and while we wish some of the imperfections could be addressed they are only obstacles that racing fans can overcome and are not actual roadblocks. The Helmet Cam view is a great addition and hope to see more of it in the future as the series in itself is not to far from its predecessors and headed in the right direction of true racing sim.

[starreviewmulti id=2 tpl=20]

Overall = 8.6

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Remy Cuesta
Remy Cuesta
[Editor-in-Chief] Co-founder of LVLONE I work to bring you our readers a fun outlet to read tech and gaming news, reviews and experiences.

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