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
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.