Shift 2: Unleashed is the second in the Shift franchise of The Need for Speed Series of racing games. Shift is the more ‘simulator’ style racing game in the series which focuses on close to reality track handling, as well as a large bulk of courses modeled after real world tracks.
While the graphics of the game retains the same quality as the first Shift, some minor details where added, like more vinyl art work, more wheel designs, and a new view for playing: driver’s point of view (also known as the helmet cam). Another tweak to the graphics system is the game’s damage engine where bits and pieces on the track (like stones and other dirt) contribute to adding dirt on the screen. And another feature are races done on different times of the day like: Dawn, Day, Dusk and Night.
While there were minor changes in the graphics department of the game, the overall presentation of the game was enhanced, controls got tighter,more cars were introduced to choose from and races got more exciting with the introduction of Autolog as the multiplayer portion for the game. Drifting in the game has been reinforced and now it’s easier to start drifting, as there are live in-game tutorial for drifting before doing an actual drift event.
Car Customization has been improved, the player will no longer have to buy all of the parts, and instead they will have to only buy a specific part to represent a tier. Also at the start, tier 3 parts are immediately available. And another addition is that certain cars can get an engine swap. Another thing to consider is that there’s a specific number of points allocated for each part. This corresponds to the Car’s rank. A better part purchased (tier 3) will give bigger points to the total of the car. This point based system allows the player to compete his car to races locked by car’s ranks. The Works conversion returns, and it now applies to all cars.
The AI has made some more tweaks, they now have their moods (or so I’ve come to notice). Some would try to zip by, some for obvious reasons, would like to have me meeting the wall during races. However, I must note that trying to take out a rival car would require some additional skill, there’s no simple tap out maneuver now.
The soundtrack of the game has made some improvements, getting bands such as 30 Seconds to Mars and Anberlin provide some mood music during a race.
Shift 2 is a laudable follow up to its predecessor… now if only we could bring the cars out into the streets again (Underground reboot perhaps?)
Here’s a night race vid I’ve recorded. I’ll see if I can upload one more race here.