What? Another “Need For Speed” game?. Electronics Arts has released a Need For Speed title annually for the last several years, and with the continuing lack of innovation, critics are starting to knock the series down to it’s knees. It’s just becoming increasingly apparent. The last time a major, critically acclaimed Need For Speed game was released, it was Need For Speed: Most Wanted in 2005. And it’s not like Need For Speed is a bad series, it’s that it used to be so great. It used to be the very best of the car racing genre.
So, as I was saying; about “Need For Speed: Shift”. Shift is unlike any Need For Speed game in a long while, in that the races don’t take place off-road or in packed cities, but on an actual racetrack. Shocking, isn’t it? It appears that there will be loads of different cars to race in, from some slightly modified models of your ordinary car to, eventually, the Le Mans Prototypes that can supposedly reach speeds of 200 miles per hour. So while Shift is in many aspects going the way of the car racing simulator, the racing will still be as wild as we have remembered it to be in the past.
These changes to the franchise are being incorporated by creative director Patrick Soderlund, who is well equipped for the job. In fact, he’s something of a racer himself, and is doing his best to make sure Shift effectively captures what it’s like to be behind the wheels of a race car.
There’s only so much that can be said about a racing game, but it’s worth mentioning that Need For Speed: Shift features a very impressive cockpit view, with all the detailed gauges and knobs you would see in the seat of a real car. Speeding up can send your head back against your seat, and braking will push your torso forward and up close to the windshield, momentarily. These adjustments add a whole new depth to the use of the cockpit view.
EA intends to release Need For Speed: Shift in the summer, and it may be that many people are so fed up with the Need For Speed franchise that they won’t be interested. But seeing as how EA has brought in a new developing studio and an experienced driver in order to make this game as good as it can be, perhaps EA should be given a chance.