Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Need for Speed: Shift is awful

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Caydr
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Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by Caydr » 19 Oct 2009, 17:16

INTRODUCTION:

I'm used to old-school NFS games like Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted. However, I also reached a very high level in NFS: Underground for the Gamecube, which has much less arcade-y physics and gameplay.

That said, Shift is probably much closer to real-world racing. How do I know? Because it's about as fun as watching Nascar.

SETUP:

I recently bought a wireless X360 pad for Windows, and I'm using 3rd party profiling software essentially for the purpose of mapping the start button to "enter" and the select button to "esc", thereby allowing me to navigate virtually any game's menu.

It also unfubars the default trigger configuration, where both triggers are treated as half of the same axis. I don't know, maybe this works in some games, it sounded retarded to me.

I have a high-end system, probably in the top 5% of anyone on this forum. 3.6 ghz C2D 45nm, Radeon 4890 heavily overclocked, 3 gigs of ram running at 1000 mhz, and my FSB is 1600. I'm just telling you this so you know I'm not hardware or performance-limited in any way. I have a console controller for a console port, and a PC that makes consoles look very outdated.

THE ACTUAL REVIEW, THE GOOD:

It's very pretty and you can really tell the difference between different cars. I first bought a RWD car and could immediately tell it was the rear wheels propelling me because of various factors. Switching to an AWD or FWD car was immediately noticeable.

Many parts of previous NFS games that were very questionable, such as magically regenerating nitrous, have been removed - this might be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what style of racing you enjoy more.

The selection of cars is very nice, if sometimes confusing. (Ford Escort? Really?)

The imaginary "racing line" that's drawn on the track is VERY helpful and a clever idea. I don't know if this is the first game to use the concept, but it's excellent. It basically draws a line for you on the track which shows you what the developers feel is the most efficient route to drive. As you come up to sharp turns, the line will change color from green to red, depending on how unsuited to handling the turn you are, based on your current speed and your car's handling characteristics. You can then decelerate and see the line change color to judge whether you've slowed down enough. It actually works very well, but unfortunately you aren't able to see it at all times because of simple visibility issues.

THE ACTUAL REVIEW, THE BAD:

This game is pure boring shit and the menu system is horrible, horrible, horrible. I am very familiar with console ports, so I was not at all expecting a clear and intuitive menu system. Even so, it's confusing and you need to jump through about eleven menus and categories to do anything at all. If you don't have all the buttons on your controller memorized (ie, this one's button 1, this one's 6, this one 5, etc), the menu system will be especially confusing. The same button will do very different things in different menus.

I played through the first eight regular races, and got all the "stars" that can be awarded for these, sometimes requiring a few tries. I also played through the first six invitational races, winning all of them. I feel I gave the game a fair shake, and I find it completely unenjoyable.

I played on what I think was called intermediate difficulty or something similar, with no driving assistance active and car damage set to "full". I also tried with car damage turned off and felt that the game was better served by you being punished for running into walls.

The game just isn't fun. You never get up to full speed, and if you do, there will immediately be a sharp turn. At 1680x1050 resolution, it was impossible to see the road very far in front of you because of small hills and turns. Attempting to look to either side of you to take in how nice the inside of the car is rendered will immediately result in you flying off the track or into a wall.

If you stay off the track for any length of time you will be warned, or eventually removed from the race. However, the severity of going offroad is often misjudged, and skipping an entire section of the track is often equated with slipping off the track on a tight turn. Because you're given so many warnings (4 or 5) for going off-track, and most races are circuits that are often short in length, you will probably find a spot where it's better to just get a warning on every lap and have a guaranteed win because you skip a large section. You can say that's unsporting, but when you hit a wall or something and you need to catch up to the pack, you'll do it too.

Theoretically you can use different cars for different types of track, but you don't know what kind of track you're really going to be facing until you're on it, so you will probably have to restart many races after picking a new car.

Rewards for winning races are completely out of line with the rewards for causing harm to your opponents, which seems odd in a game that is supposed to be centered around realism. You can, for instance, play the same race 10 times. You can only get a reward for winning it once, but every time you race on it you will accumulate points for completing objectives, such as causing monumental damage to your opponents or remaining on the "racing line" for a long period of time. Guess which one of those you'll actually be able to do easily. As you accumulate points, the game introduces you to a system I don't think I've seen before in any game, wherein you can "level up". This "levelling up" is done automatically, and gives you access to higher tiers of races, but more importantly gives you massive cash bonuses.

To put things in perspective, winning a given race will reward you $4000, but this can only be done once. Forcing an opponent off the track or doing something similarly macabre will net you in excess of $40000 after you've done it a few times and level up.

Rewards for actually winning a race and harming your opponents are completely out of whack, but so are the rewards for racing cleanly and efficiently. For every couple seconds you remain on the imaginary "racing line" which is drawn on the track, you gain ONE POINT. For plowing into an opponent on a sharp turn (my trademark move), you receive something like 300 points. Leveling up requires around 1000 points, but I think this scales up as you progress.

I still don't think I've drilled this home. You can complete 10 races flawlessly and get around $40,000, plus some small point bonuses that might eventually level you up. Or you can come in last place on a single race 10 times, but cause grievous harm to your opponents, and receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $250,000 as well as access to higher-tier races and other rewards. Finally, you never have to pay for your car's repairs and there are no penalties for doing anything wrong, ever, except for accidentally going off-track for a couple of seconds 5 times, which will end the race.

I would never have guessed this was an EA game.

CONCLUSION:

You may have read this far in the review and think that I hated the game. Well, I did, but I haven't actually covered the most irritating part: your co-pilot/buddy/token Australian. His accent's not too irritating, it's simply what he says. Oh God. No, it's not the things he says, it's what he says before everything he says: "OKAY!"

Every voiceover begins with "OKAY!..." or possibly, "SO!...". It begins to grate on you. Eventually it starts to itch, and turns into a rash that colors your every perception of the game, until you just want him to shut up so bad you don't want to play anymore.

If you want a racing game, buy Need for Speed: Most Wanted. It's a tremendously enjoyable open-world game, though not very realistic. The graphics are also top-notch, and except for the car interiors, just about as pretty as Shift.
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Pxtl
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by Pxtl » 19 Oct 2009, 17:26

The "half of the same axis" thing is handy for games that have rudder-controls, which logically map well to the L and R button and are expressed as an axis in the control list.

This is a holdover from the days when all PC joysticks were meant for flight simulators.
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1v0ry_k1ng
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by 1v0ry_k1ng » 19 Oct 2009, 17:49

NFS2: SE is the only racing game for me
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SpliFF
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by SpliFF » 19 Oct 2009, 17:50

I really think the whole series has been going downhill since Hot Pursuit. It was simple fun and always ran well at LAN parties. Since then it's gotten a sort of "sickly gloss" where everything is just too bright, and too "way cool". Every shitty car fad (like "drifting" and "pimping") has managed to find a home in the various sequels. I hate most of the new Codemaster offerings for the same reason (Only Colin McRae 2005 impressed me, and not overly).

I've gravitated towards the sim side of racing. Games like Richard Burns Rally, BMW Challenge, GTR 2 and Driving Speed 2 really put Codemasters offerings to shame, especially when you have a steering wheel (especially a momo or G25) and actually know how to drive. On the arcade side of things it's hard to beat FlatOut / FlatOut 2, Trackmania or even 1nsane (though it's a bit dated now).

I've always hated Codemasters DRM too. Even though I buy their games my reward is typically Starforce or Securom fucking up my PC. Not sure if the NFS series suffer this since I haven't bought one since Most Wanted and I didn't play a lot of that.
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Forboding Angel
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by Forboding Angel » 19 Oct 2009, 18:51

GRID ftw.
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Caydr
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by Caydr » 19 Oct 2009, 19:51

SpliFF have you tried Most Wanted? I completely share your view that the series has done nothing but tumble since Hot Pursuit, but Most Wanted (for PC and GC at least) were thoroughly enjoyable for me because they're very old-school. Getting chased, running cops off the road, smashing through roadblocks, a lot of it is at least as good as Hot Pursuit, and there's NONE of that drifting crap IIRC.
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==Troy==
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by ==Troy== » 19 Oct 2009, 20:05

Realistic NFS version? Oh wow. Was waiting for one since Porche Unleashed.

NFS2-4 was quite fun too, but after NFS5 it went downhill indeed. Became more arcade, glossy, dumbed down...
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KaiserJ
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by KaiserJ » 19 Oct 2009, 21:20

don't be hat'n on the ford escort! it has a rich history of being badass in games.

ford escort cosworth rally edition!
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Das Bruce
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by Das Bruce » 20 Oct 2009, 04:21

FlatOut2/UC is one of the few racing games I've enjoyed. MTA San Andreas is a lan classic too.
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Caydr
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by Caydr » 20 Oct 2009, 04:40

Ok, that Corsworth thing. Rally edition, or whatever you want to call it. What the hell were they thinking when they put that wing on the hatch? It's bad, PT Cruiser bad.
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Caydr
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by Caydr » 20 Oct 2009, 10:06

Did anyone here play the original DiRT? DiRT 2 is coming out in a little while, and it's supposed to be a big showcase for ATI and DX11, so I was thinking about getting a new GPU and... if I can manage an excuse... 3 new displays.

I'd REALLY love to get a new fast-paced game that can get me excited about PC gaming again. I mean, a racing game or an FPS, even a sports game, a flight simulator even, but something that can really bring back that pre-DX9 feeling of awe when comparing the old technology to the new.

Then again, I could just work on AA... but then what would I wouldn't have anything to hover over my head and make me feel ashamed.
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Gota
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by Gota » 20 Oct 2009, 16:24

Caydr wrote:Did anyone here play the original DiRT? DiRT 2 is coming out in a little while, and it's supposed to be a big showcase for ATI and DX11, so I was thinking about getting a new GPU and... if I can manage an excuse... 3 new displays.
Hezus!
Amigo,send money to Africa instead.
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Gertkane
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by Gertkane » 20 Oct 2009, 20:47

Ok, that Corsworth thing. Rally edition, or whatever you want to call it. What the hell were they thinking when they put that wing on the hatch? It's bad, PT Cruiser bad.
They were probably thinking about performance while the people responsible for the PT cruiser were thinking about trees, ropes and bananas. Seriously Escort Cosworth is a badass machine once you see it with your own eyes.

In all seriousness, just like ivory my real NFS love was last felt while playing NFS2: SE, mostly thanks to endless hours of split screening with friends whenever possible. I did however enjoy pro street (and the rest of the "new" NFS-s never caught on for me) mostly thanks to its high speed cruising mode.
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Spawn_Retard
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by Spawn_Retard » 20 Oct 2009, 22:25

i enjoyed your review cadyr, you should do it more often :)
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Peet
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by Peet » 21 Oct 2009, 00:42

Too bad he got himself banned, lol!
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ChaosMonkey
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by ChaosMonkey » 22 Oct 2009, 14:00

wow why does caydr feel the need to write essays all the time, its even got a introduction and conclusion! >.>
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knorke
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by knorke » 22 Oct 2009, 16:22

has there ever been a game series hat stopped sucking after it had started sucking?
they never come back.
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Pxtl
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by Pxtl » 22 Oct 2009, 16:41

knorke wrote:has there ever been a game series hat stopped sucking after it had started sucking?
they never come back.
Several. The Megaman series fluctuated in and out of suck frequently.

Twisted Metal: Black was better than TM3 and 4.
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1v0ry_k1ng
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by 1v0ry_k1ng » 22 Oct 2009, 17:15

Pxtl wrote:
knorke wrote:has there ever been a game series hat stopped sucking after it had started sucking?
they never come back.
Several. The Megaman series fluctuated in and out of suck frequently.

Twisted Metal: Black was better than TM3 and 4.
CoD 4 ---> CoD:WaW -----> CoD 6, hopefully
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knorke
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Re: Need for Speed: Shift is awful

Post by knorke » 22 Oct 2009, 21:07

you mean modern warfare 2, the one that will not have dedicated servers?
http://kotaku.com/5385941/modern-warfar ... rs-says-iw
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