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Need For Speed: Shift

28 September 2009
PSP, PC, Xbox 360, PS3
EA Games

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Need For Speed: Shift

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A disappointing racer that veers clumsily between hardcore simulation and arcade thriller, Need For Speed: Shift already feels creaky alongside many of today’s more accomplished digital drivers.

Like all editions in EA’s long-running series, Shift is slick and sharply presented, and boasts a scarily convincing illusion of speed that makes the game a fine weekend rental. But while it has all the elements in the right places, Shift is never sure what it wants to be; like a driving sim it uses twitchy, often over-sensitive controls and rewards players who are clever on the brakes and stick doggedly to the racing line, yet also heaps bonuses on players for forcing rivals off the track or sliding outrageously around corners, this clumsy blend of styles being more likely to divide opinion among gamers than appeal across the board.

Shift’s brutally competitive computer-controlled opponents – which don’t seem bound by the same rules as human players, and will think nothing of ramming you off the track or racing past you on the gravel – also add an extra layer of frustration during gruelling endurance races, while the game’s disappointing selection of cars, dull career mode and shoddy car customisation make this feel like a game that should’ve skidded into stores two years ago.

Reviewed by David McComb

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