Need for Speed: SHIFT
Most of my Need for Speed memories involve fast and furious street races, police chases in an open world and laughably lame stories.
- Wonderfully realistic look and feel, genius reward system keeps you ravenously hooked
- Periodic difficulty spikes and rubber-band AI kill the great pace of progression; weak customisation
Need for Speed is a spectacular racing series known for its high octane thrills. With the series' latest release of SHIFT, the popular franchise doesn't look to be slowing down any time soon.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
Obviously, simulation racing isn't the most organic evolution for the series. Sure, ProStreet had a dose of realism injected into it, but it wavered indecisively between circuit sim and arcade racer. So it's appropriate that the latest NFS title is called SHIFT because it's obviously trying to "shift" the franchise in a new direction.
SHIFT is executed so effectively that it will grab Forza fans without alienating its speed obsessed audience. True to tradition, SHIFT is incredibly accessible. For example, if you don't ace the corners during your evaluation race the game will automatically regulate your speed around tight bends. Driver assist and AI difficulty settings are all adjustable, of course, so hardcore players can tone down the hand-holding helpers to better reflect a realistic racing experience while n00bs can up them to compensate for their lack of skills. I wound up somewhere in the middle and it was a near-perfect fit.
Thanks to the brilliant new experience and levelling system I found myself obsessing over my races. Whether you're drafting, blocking or smashing into opponents, you're always earning experience which, when combined with podium finishes, earns you higher ranks and stars. Stars unlock access to higher tiers, better cars, and profitable invitational events. The standard pyramid structure is saved by the RPG elements and rapid stream of rewards, though, and it's a gratifying pyramid to climb-for a while, anyway.
Unfortunately, I eventually hit a wall with my levelling that seriously took the air out of my tires. As in an RPG, you're going to have to suffer through some grinding and from time to time, the excitement of collecting stars begins to wane. One-on-one races and drift events became soul-crushingly frustrating, and difficult objectives demanded perfect driving. The uneven difficulty is made worse by the occasional rubber-band AI problems. Even after lowering the difficulty to easy I still found myself struggling to gain levels.
It's not the difficulty that bums me out as much as it's the change in pace. I got so used to blindly blowing oodles of money on upgrades-performance, mostly, since the aesthetic customisation is limited to body kits rather than individual parts-that it was a jarring buzz-kill when levelling up came to a screeching halt. The time you'll spend before that dip, and after you conquer it, however, totally rock. The multiplayer ain't too shabby either: experience points and cash seamlessly tie to your offline career, and there's plenty of both to be earned in the stellar ladder tourneys and regular races.
Crossing the Finish Line
The game does a great job of continuing to reward you for your performance and because of that, SHIFT is an engaging and addictive sim racer. It sets a great foundation for future iterations but hopefully, the sequel won't suddenly throw the e-brake on the action and force you to the side of the road every now and again.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 2 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
- 3 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 4 Ring Video Doorbell review
- 5 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- IEM Sydney adds Overwatch Contenders 2019 finals
- Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory is set to arrive later this year
- Blizzard tag in Good Old Games to re-release original Warcraft
- Weaker-than-expected sales have thrown Phantom Doctrine dev CreativeForge into disarray
- Apex Legends hands on preview: Swinging at the king
PCW Evaluation Team
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
- Huawei P30 Pro: Australian review
- Samsung Galaxy S10 review: Messy decisions mar smart evolutions
- Panasonic Lumix S1 review: Hands-On Australian review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies