Högni and Amy's game project

Thought in deed

Need for Speed is back… well, sideways at least

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I’ve spent a bit of time lately playing NFS:SHIFT (Shift from now on) and I’ve gone from a stand of “neat” to “yikes”. This game is in fact awfully good.

Before playing it the first time I had seen a few gameplay videos and trailers and was somewhat put off by all the goings on in the interface while driving. Thankfully you can turn all of this off, which I did. There is nothing on my screen but the 3d representation of the interior of the car I am driving. And it looks fantastic. The feeling of driving very fast, braking hard and turning comes back to you in a great way, better than any game I have experienced so far. GTR and GRID do this well too, but this takes the immersion to a new level. I’m playing with a MOMO wheel controller with gas and brake pedals and I feel that this is as close as I am likely to come to real racing in the current technological paradigm.

The graphics are outstanding. The cars look damn near photo-realistic, and yes, I hate using that phrase. You’re aware you are looking at a computer generated 3d representation of the objects in the game, but they look so good and the lighting is of such quality, you just forget from time to time. I was readily  Some tracks look better than others. The real tracks, i.e. those that represent real tracks that are raced upon in the real world, look distinctly better. Spa GP and Nordschliefe (Nurburgring) look fabulous in particular. The conceptual tracks look worse but not so as to put you off in any way. I’ve never personally been to these tracks myself, but from image and footage I have seen of their real world counterparts, they seem to be faithful renditions.

The drawbacks of the game are the gameplay elements that cater to the consoles. These are achievements, stars, points and announcements thereof in the middle of races. Thankfully these can all be turned off, and then ignored when they are presented as part of the career mode, the heart of the gameplay dynamic, but where you cannot actually turn them off. I would have been well off just getting the money and doing the races.

I thouroughly recommend this title to any who are hungry for some simarcade racing. Some say that games like Forza Motorsport and Gran Tourismo are better games, but I’d rather play yatzee on facebook than play a racer on consoles. And I hate facebook. Not yatzee though, that’s cool.

Need for Speed is indeed back with Shift, but not in the way of the last 4 or 5 iterations. It’s back to pure racing, doing away with the pomp and circumstance of open world mucking about and storylines, leaving you with unadulterated joy.

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Written by Högni Gylfason

22.09.09 at 16:21

Posted in Games

Tagged with ,

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