Need For Speed is one of the best-loved and most successful driving game franchises ever – but you can forget everything you knew about it, as NFS Shift – the clue is in the name -- takes a radical new direction. You could argue that it has grown up – it has moved, by and large, from the streets to legendary race-tracks like Spa, Donington and Laguna Seca (although there are street circuits, too), and gives you the chance to pilot drool-inducing machinery like the Pagani Zonda and Koenigsegg CCX.
The shift in emphasis becomes immediately apparent when you start a Career in the game: there’s not a cop-car in sight, but instead, NFS Shift assesses your driving skills by putting you in a BMW 3-series and dropping you into a short race around a gloriously detailed reconstruction of the legendary Brands Hatch. Buy a car and you instantly have a choice of five races. What initially strikes you are the stunning, mega-crisp graphics, best enjoyed through NFS’ famous cockpit view, which now has a level of attention to detail that beggars belief.
You swiftly come to appreciate the structure of Need For Speed Shift’s Career Mode, which sounds complicated but has been cleverly designed to work in your favour. To progress through the game, you must win stars, which are given out for finishing on the podium (three stars for a win and so on), but also for passing thresholds for Profile Points in each race. Profile Points are awarded for two opposite aspects of your driving: aggression and precision, and the balance between them defines your driving style. This system works brilliantly, as you actually get awarded for indulging in driving that would be frowned on in real life, such as punting opponents off the track or four-wheel slides. Those who fancy themselves as budding pros will undoubtedly want to earn more points for precision than aggression, though.
There are four Tiers to negotiate before you even get to the NFS Live World Tour, the two-series culmination of the game, in which you compete in the world’s most exotic cars – to move up the Tiers you need to collect specified numbers of stars. And your Profile Points let you level up as a driver, to a maximum of Level 50. Each time you level up, you get rewards like sponsorship, new rims and vinyls, plus invites to extra races.
NFS Shift boasts straight Races, Time Attacks – in which you get a certain amount of time to post the fastest lap – Eliminators, Drift events, Driver Duels – in which you pick one of two cars and must defeat the other over three races – Endurance races, Manufacturer races – in which you’re given an identical car to everyone else on track – and Hot Laps, where you have three target times to beat in order to grab the stars on offer. You earn plenty of Invitational Events along the way, and you can see who out of you and your Friends owns each event in Career Mode. NFS Shift is sure to be a big draw online: up to eight players can compete in Races, Time Attacks and Drifts.
Factor in realistic handling with bags of feel, AI that makes rival drivers improve steadily through the game and extensive customisation of both mechanicals and bodywork, and you have what must be the most complete, best structured and best-looking racing game ever, whether you’re a serious petrol-head with dreams of becoming the next Lewis Hamilton, or an enthusiastic amateur who tends to favour arcade-style racers. With Shift, Need For Speed has stepped up several gears at once.
Need for Speed SHIFT is an all-new simulation racing IP that combines the true driver’s experience with real-world physics, pixel-perfect car models, and a wide range of authentic race tracks. Need for Speed SHIFT takes players in a different direction to create a simulation experience that replicates the true feeling of driving high-end performance cars. Players are thrust into the loud, visceral, intense, athletic experience of racing a car on the edge of control from the driver’s perspective through the combination of perception based G-forces, the hyper reality of the cockpit view, and the brutal experience of a first person crash dynamic. Need for Speed SHIFT features an accurate, accessible physics-based driving model that allows you to feel every impact, every change of track surface and every last bit of grip as you push yourself to the edge.
Need for Speed SHIFT is being developed by Slightly Mad Studios in collaboration with Black Box and senior vice president Patrick Soderlund at EA Games Europe. Slightly Mad Studios includes developers and designers that worked on the critically acclaimed games GT Legends and GTR 2.
- True Driver's Experience – A variety of visual cues delivers the true driver's experience including a three-dimensional HUD that mimics driver head movement, inertia and G-forces. The depth of field also adjusts based on the speed of the car
- So when the car is travelling at high speeds the perspective will shift to the distance putting the car/cockpit out of focus
- Enhanced AI – A sophisticated AI system will mean that your races are more exciting than ever before. AI opponents will react and perform based on the player's aggression and overall driving skill thus creating race experiences for all skill sets
- Dynamic Crash Effect - When the player hits a static object or opponent car, the player will