The critically rated gameplay of Need For Speed: Shift has been refined and iterated upon for Shift 2 Unleashed, EA and Slightly Mad’s sequel. Now in first-person, Shift 2 Unleashed makes racing more exhilarating and immersive than ever before by making the actual racer a physical entity in the car. And while players can opt out of using the helmet cam, the intensity of Shift 2’s visceral races will be seriously impacted. Delivering an unparalleled sensation of speed, the Shift 2 racers lean and tilt into the apex of each corner and are physically jostled by on-track bumps, scrapes and impacts.
Behind the scenes, Shift 2 Unleashed has received an all-new rendering engine, completely new, high resolution textures, and the addition of night-time technology, allowing night races to be accurately rendered and correctly lit by each individual headlight and light source. Cars and tracks can now degrade through the course of races, reducing performance, grip, and mechanical reliability.
Online, twelve players can participate in a variety of race events, and even when racing in single-player the online Autolog engine tracks and ranks performances in the background. An evolution of the lauded Autolog technology debuted in Criterion’s Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, all stats, race times and performances are reviewed, rated, and uploaded automatically, and the data announced to friends who are able to challenge and potentially improve upon said results. Shift 2 Unleashed ups the ante, sending data to all players in with a shot of besting the results, creating a constant self-improvement mechanic that keeps gamers involved and interested.
On the track, Shift 2 Unleashed has all the bases covered. Players can compete in numerous tournaments and races to improve their character through persistent stat tracking and ranking, and to unlock over 130 fully-licensed, high performance cars, and over 50 real-world racing locations. Said cars can be customised with any number of new components, and their performance tweaked in the search of that elusive, final one tenth of a second.
Shift 2 Unleashed may be a serious, realistic game, hence the removal of the Need For Speed name, but for those searching for serious, Shift 2 Unleashed is perhaps the best PC racing game to date.