Need for Speed is a famous racing game series. This series have been entertaining almost everyone for years. As time went by, the games started looking better and gameplay improved. Until the series shifted to more serious track racing style rather than the fun crazy illegal street racing style. This is fine, but they must find a balance. All the games went from being a game to more of a racing simulator vibe, except for Hot Pursuit released last year. Need for Speed Shift was unplayable until the patch came out fixing some issues especially handling. In Hot Pursuit, handling was a bit improved, but was still very poor. Now it is time for Need for Speed Shift 2 Unleashed or also known as Shift 2: Unleashed.
You start as a rookie driver, racing different races and gaining ranks or levels to get to the top. The top here is to become the GT1 world Champion. To do this, you race different races eg. drifts, circuits, endurance racing etc. There are many more race types that I'm not mentioning.
In the game you can set the difficulty to easy, medium or hard. Then you can set the handling to novice, normal, experienced, pro and elite. These settings changes things like steering and braking assist, traction control, damage etc. In the race there is usually the so called best line that tells you what the best position is when driving around the track. You also master corners by staying on the best line and going perfectly around the corner. You buy cars, sell cars, tune your cars or upgrade them to get better performance. Okay, everybody gets the idea of buying and selling cars. I can't tune a car, so I just leave that out (I am dumb with that and this is a game, not a mechanic training simulator). Upgrading is another story. You can upgrade basically everything, tyres, brakes, engine, transmission etc. You get to a point where you change the class of your car when upgrading. Certain races requires a certain class car. Then the next point is, where everything is maxed out and you need a new car. A new thing in shift 2 is, you can swop your engine in some cars and then you also have your NOS and works conversion like in the first Shift. When it comes to the cars, there are actually a lot of things you can do. You can have fun changing the look of your car by adding vinyls or a new paint job or just leave it stock.
The gameplay is good apart from the handling. It is not the best. This game is a racing simulator (my personal opinion, some might differ) and the developers tried to make this game as realistic as possible. They overdone it or rather, did it wrong. To explain, I will be giving an example: You are driving, you get to a corner, you brake like crazy (If you don't you go off the track even though you're only going 50km/h). Now you ask me, what is wrong with that and the answer is simple, the other cars don't have to brake hard or at all. They just zoom past you in corners even though your car is faster, just because you have to brake more than they have to brake. Then you can't catch up again, because of their speed through corners. This problem is only in certain races and certain cars. If the developers made the game is such a way that opponents also have to brake like you, that would be better and more realistic. That was their goal, but they did not achieve that. I was expecting all the previous handling bugs to be fixed, but when I started playing, I found that it was even worse than Shift 1 in some cars. There are a lot of people disagreeing with what I said here, because they like it. I want to have fun and not smash up my keyboard out of frustration. You can use a controller or keyboard to play this game. I only have a keyboard, but I heard that the game is a bit (A BIT) better with a decent controller. This is track racing, thus no free roam mode and the game can be very boring and repetitive. There is no real story or plot. Only your one goal.
The graphics are really good. The cars are nice, shiny and look's realistic. The developers paid a lot of attention to the finer details of the cars. I am impressed with that. The tracks have the same great and realistic details. When you ram your car onto the gravel you just spin and see dust and gravel flying all over, which looks really cool. There are also cool and realistic brake or skid marks on the track and they stay there for the whole race. The music in the game is just average, but the sound effects are well done. Each car has its own growl and it changes with upgrades, which is realistic and well done. The sound of tyres shrieking especially if you brake hard or skidding around a corner is also well done. The only problem is the volume. Even on a low volume the game sounds (when racing) causes a bit of a distortion on my speakers, and I heard the same complaint from friends of mine.
So at the end of this short review I came to the conclusion, this game is not all bad. The sounds and graphics are really good. Gameplay is good and all the upgrading is fun. Handling is very poor and I'm waiting to see if there will be patches solving these issues. The game can get boring easily, with the repetitive racing. What I would advise, is to play till you are bored, then leave the game for another day. This will take you long to finish, but you don't have to suffer through the repetitive races all at once. This game was fun at first but I struggled to enjoy it every moment. This game was ment to be received in low dosages. Good efforts from the developers, too bad the handling issues brings down the quality.