Game Reviews

Need for Speed: Shift

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Need for Speed: Shift

With all the recent initiatives to cut carbon emissions on a personal, national, and global level, it would be a considerable faux pas to splash out on a 600 horsepower Pagani Zonda F.

On the other hand, as the Zonda F is no longer in production your only option is to buy second-hand. Just don't expect any credit from Friends of the Earth for recycling.

Cruise control

The Zonda F is just one of a selection of hyper-cars on offer in Need for Speed: Shift. While it might not quite recreate the adrenaline rush of wrestling the real thing around a track, EA's internal developer Ironmonkey Studios has done a great job of emulating the driving experience by turning your bada phone into an accelerometer-powered virtual steering wheel.

Left and right tilting of your phone translates directly into left and right rotation of the steering wheel. If you find it's a little sluggish for your tastes, there's an option to increase the tilt sensitivity in the options menu.

Acceleration is automatic, while braking is managed by touching and holding your finger anywhere on the screen. There are three preset control methods, from Rookie to Expert, which introduces manual transmission and removes all driver aids, such as auto-braking.

It's all very intuitive, although it's recommended you get used to the tracks before trying to face the challenge of Expert controls.

Speedy resolution

Need for Speed: Shift is a visual treat on the Wave's Super AMOLED screen too, rendering the cars and tracks in glorious 3D with apparent ease as you burn through the claustrophobic city streets at 200 mph.

And the audio is a triumph, with the aggressive rock soundtrack and crunchy engine tones creating the perfect atmosphere as you traverse each circuit.

Outside of the main career mode, there's still a huge amount of variety on offer. You'll face time trials, drift tracks, elimination races and more, each coming with its own set of unique sub-challenges.

When you throw in 15 cars to tinker with and upgrade, each with its own unique handling and performance, there's a generous amount of replay value here.

Chequered flag

The only real letdown is the aforementioned tilt-steering, which didn't feel quite centered to me, leaning slightly to the left. Although it isn't game-breaking, hopefully this is something that EA will remedy with a future update.

But despite the slightly niggling tilt controls, Need for Speed: Shift delivers a feature-packed experience that is both absorbing and challenging. Handheld racing doesn't get much better than this.

Need for Speed: Shift

Need for Speed: Shift delivers a racing experience that is streets ahead of the competition
Wayne Turton
Wayne Turton
Wayne's childhood ambition was to become a superhero. However, having been told that running round in tights is improper adult behaviour he now spends his days playing video games and watching cartoons instead. Millions of citizens sleep more soundly in the knowledge that he isn't watching over them.