• Mar 6th 2009 at 7:56PM
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Need for Speed SHIFT - Click above for image gallery

Any day of the week between 10 PM and 12 AM EST, you can probably find me on Xbox Live playing GRiD (FYI... my gamer tag is simply Autoblog), and Autoblog Executive Editor Chris Paukert often jumps in for the fun as well. We love this driving game from Codemasters for its balance of accuracy and arcade-style fun. GRiD, however, may have some new competition from a franchise we thought, based on its recent spate of titles, was on its way out. As we reported last month, the Need for Speed franchise is being split into a trio of games: one for the consoles called Need for Speed SHIFT, a free one for PCs called Need for Speed World Online and a Wii-exclusive version called Need for Speed: Nitro.

Joystiq recently had time to play an early version of Need for Speed SHIFT and came away mighty impressed. "The game is 95% pure racing simulation, with a bit of arcade feel thrown in," is how they described it. What may set NFS Shift apart from similar games like GRiD and the Project Gotham Racing series is its interior view. Developers specifically designed the game to be played using the interior view, though other outside-the-car views are available. As such you get things like reflections of the driver in the side windows and – get this – the driver actually clutches the wheel harder during tricky maneuvers. There's also an effect at high speeds that blurs the screen so all your focus is on the track.

Joystiq only got to play two tracks using a Pagani Zonda and we're still in the dark about which tracks will be featured in the game and what the list of playable vehicles will be, but the early word is that Paukert and I may be playing a new game on Xbox Live very soon.



[Source: Joystiq]


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  • 26 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Say, John Neff: Any chance of sharing some pointers as to what adjustments to make to a Xbox 360 driving wheel?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ha!, thanks for the helpful advice. **sarcasm**
      • 6 Years Ago
      I hate this trend toward "throwing in some arcade style" to appeal to a larger audience. It alienates hardcore sim fans. I hope Codemasters doesn't pull the same crap with the F1 game they're working on.
        • 6 Years Ago
        To be fair, whilst this is an EA Need For Speed game there is some debate on how arcade it will be. SHIFT is developed by Slightly Mad Studios, which was previously known as Blimey! Games. Under the name Blimey! they developed GTR2. The Blimey/SMS team is the team that was previously part of Simbin (before the politics started) and under that name they developed GTR and GT Legends, 2 of the best and most hardcore simulations to date.
        • 6 Years Ago
        NFS is a sim? What?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @jcar302 - I would consider the Gran Turismo series to be a sim series, though not as hardcore as some PC sims, it's one of the most realistic driving experiences that can be had on the consoles and it's also one of the top selling game series of all time. Gran Turismo 3 was the second best selling game on the best selling system of all time: PS2, so there goes your theory that sims don't sell.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not every game must aim hardcore sim fans. GRID is a lot more enjoyable to play than Forza.

        Just my 2 cents.
      • 6 Years Ago
      ..and there's the PC Version?
      • 6 Years Ago
      It will probably still come out before GT5...
        • 6 Years Ago
        You know, I wonder whats up with Gran Turismo. I don't think Gran Turismo 5 even have been officially announced yet. Does it mean there's so much left in development they can't even put a year down? If it doesn't show up on E3 this year in any shape or form, then I seriously doubt we'll see a GT5 before 2011.

        I know Yamauchi is a perfectionist and all, but jesus christ... Sony isn't exactly doing too well in this economic crisis and how long can they support the staff on Polyphony without them releasing the damn game soon?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Race Pro already knocked it out of the park as far as serious sims go. I highly recommend it to any of you GT/formula racing freaks out there - the physics are incredible, easily besting both Gran Turismo and Forza, but there's not much of a game to be had. There's a career mode, but it's basically to teach you about all the cars and tracks in the game more than actually creating something fun or interesting. This game is the perfect choice if you want to have super-realistic, close races with a largely courteous online crowd - and you can deal with the drab presentation.

      NFS had their chance with Pro Street and blew it, this volley of 3 games just reeks of desperation and has done nothing at all to renew my faith in the series. Maybe if it turns out really, really good, maybe then I will rent it for a weekend.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I recommend GTR2 or GT Legends. It's a sim, and on top of being a great sim, you can use a good racing wheel like a G25 instead of the cruddy MS wheel. Then you can get to some real racing.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The point being that they are using a very similar physics engine to gt legends according to rumor, not 100% sim, but as close as you will see on console.

        But if you really wanted a true sim racer you'd be on PC, theres little point in them making a pure sim for console.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Cone Dodger,

        It's Slightly Mad Studios developing SHIFT, not Sim Bin, They also developed GTR (and i believe GTR2) with Sim Bin.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I went and bought Race Pro, what a waste of money. It is a complete joke. There's no replay value, it is not challenging at all, and the cars don't look realistic The physics were not too bad, but the presentation just kills any chance Race Pro had at being evenly remotely enjoyable.

        I'm sorry, but Race Pro is lackluster at best. I went right back to FM2 after less than a week.

        I should have listened to my gut, and just waited for Forza 3 to come out. I will probably be taking Race Pro back to GameStop soon to sell it back to them and put the money towards my pre order of FM3.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Are you aware that sim bin, creators of race pro..are also creating need for speed shift?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Grant Turismo FTW.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It already is murdering it with the Prologue. There is still enough meat in this abbreviated version of GT5 to shame any driving game.

      However, to be good at GT5 you MUST invest a minimum of 15 hours a week or you'll never finish in the top half of any race.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I will be immensely surprised is Shift turns out to be any good. Ever since Underground 2 and Most Wanted, NFS has got worse and worse. I hoped undercover would be better, but when I found out a stock 240SX could beat a 67 Camaro SS, then I stopped playing and returned it to Blockbuster.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You can't expect realism from an NFS game.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Pokey, asking for a Camaro SS to be faster than a 240SX isn't asking for realism, it's asking for common sense.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You're right. Need for Speed Most Wanted was the peak of the series.
        Lots of different cars with a car for everyone, good graphics, good gameplay and a good menue (the menue from UC sucked very hard)
        • 6 Years Ago
        I really miss the good old days when NFS (like Hot Pursuit 2)is exclusively for Ferrari's, Lambo's, Aston's...etc. It was arcade but you can get heaps of fun out of it with a few friends crashing all over the track. Its not sim, but its still quite fun... not until Underground came out.
      Shawn
      • 6 Years Ago
      I just picked up Midnight Club: LA for XBOX 360. I'm in love with the customization, but that's just the tuner in me... NFSU2 FTW...
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