Last month, nine years ago, the Need for Speed series had seriously tried to discard their arcade heritage and bring more interest from players.
After excellent titles such as were Hot Pursuit, Underground and Most Wanted, in the middle of the past decade Electronic Arts seemed like they no longer knew what to do with the Need for Speed series. For the three years in a row, we had very average to extremely bad Need for Speed titles – Carbon, Pro Street and Undercover, and seeing how bad they were, EA decided to step on a brakes.
They handed the series to the new team, the British Slightly Mad Studio and gave them the task of making something new for Need for Speed. The team decided for a complete turnaround and instead decided to go for a more realistic approach instead of the traditional arcade racing that we had worship all those years. Well I won’t say it was real simulation, but it was certainly an attempt to truly try and recreate the basis of the Need for Speed series – adrenaline feel during the fast driving.
That is how the Need for Speed: Shift has come to life, which rejected the theme of illegal racing in the open world, and devoted itself to professional racing on realistic tracks such as Laguna Seca, Nordschleife - Nürburgring, Silverstone and others. There were altogether 19 tracks and about 60 cars divided into 5 tiers (Tier 1-4 and race cars). You could choose from an old Toyota Corolla GTS (AE16) to something more exotic such as Bugatti Veyron 16.4.
For the purpose of presenting the feeling of speed while driving, they took the view back into the car cabin nine years after Porsche Unleashed that was first introduced with that type of a camera view. This view was a key to show the speed, from that perspective the camera blurred in a crash and you could heard as well how the driver was breathing.
Car customization was still present, but with a different approach than what we know from earlier Need for Speed games like Underground, Most Wanted or Carbon had. You could customize cars to make them a track beasts so you could chase the time records that is somehow most fun to do on a Nordschleife – Nürburgring track. Being able to use different body kits, put roll cages, make weight reduction, set racing suspension and upgrade transmission and engine you were capable of making an incredibly fast cars.
After lunch, Shift got three upgrades in DLC’s with 20 new cars. Those DLC’s were: Team Racing Pack that brought a new race mode and a five new cars, Exotic Racing Series Pack that brought seven exotic cars like McLaren MP4-12C including timeless classics like BMW M1 Procar and Acura NSX, and last the Ferrari Racing Pack with 10 amazing cars from Ferrari. But more importantly, the game again secured good marks and interests of players for Need for Speed. The sale was good enough to justify the sequel that followed in the spring of 2011. It was also the last Need for Speed that wanted to be closer to the simulation than the old style arcade racing.