Need for Speed SHIFT - 360 - Preview
Even the most hardcore fans of the Need for Speed franchise would agree that the series has been in dire need of an overhaul over the past few years. The series found itself too cemented into the world of underground street racing, leaving it precious little room to grow. As racers like Forza Motorsport, Gran Turismo, and Midnight Club hit the market, Need for Speed found itself struggling for footing in a crowded racing genre.
Therefore, it’s a breath of fresh air that EA has decided to go back to the drawing board for their latest entry to the Need for Speed franchise, Need for Speed SHIFT. A game that reflects the company’s new development strategy (two-year development cycles composed of several different teams), SHIFT represents a, well, “shift” for the direction of the franchise.
At this year’s E3, EA had a hands-on version of the game, with a definite emphasis placed on the game’s cockpit view. The cockpit view is a fantastic touch, giving you a realistic look from inside your car, and really does a fine job of adding to the overall immersion.
The game also does a nice job of really making you feel as though you’re in a speeding car moving in excess of 150 MPH. Whereas previous Need for Speed games felt at times a little sluggish, SHIFT moves at a blistering pace, and feels quite comfortable while doing it.
The game also features some pretty impressive AI that will react to your driver and your actions realistically. Should you be an aggressive driver and knock into your rivals often, they will react to this and try to take you out before you can get to them. Additionally, your driver will get stat boosts and levels based on their in-game actions, which adds to the dynamic of your progress through the game.
Need for Speed SHIFT is shaping up rather nicely, representing a fine change of pace for the franchise, and one that fans of the series can rally behind.