SHIFT 2 Unleashed Review

By , on August 4, 2011

SHIFT 2 Unleashed
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5


  • Casual gamer friendly; auto braking/acceleration and driving lines to keep you on track.
  • Quickly scaling challenge; gives hardcore gamers a run, especially with the training wheels removed.
  • Lots of sexy vehicles to purchase and drive.


  • Lacks focus; no incentive to drive seriously or wildly.
  • Repetitive challenge; race, buy, rinse and repeat.
  • Looping soundtrack; only a handful of songs over... and over... and...


Originally SHIFT would tempt players to drive like a devil or an angel as you danced around the track - SHIFT 2 rewards lumbering, brutish tactics and despite the wild speeds you can't help but feel the weight of such blunt tactics dragging the game down.

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Sometimes, just sometimes it hurts a little when you get excited about a sequel only to realize you've bought the same game you've bought a dozen times before only with a handful of additions and a rearranged interface. It's nothing new and the concept of 'yearly sequels' has long since entered in to gaming culture as a sort of in-joke, with SHIFT 2 Unleashed adding itself to the pile of games that fail to excite.

In the Need for Speed series, SHIFT represents a sort of middle-ground - a point of balance where players can compete in serious races while still having some arcade-y fun thanks to customizable vehicles and bonuses-galore for almost every action you perform. The unfortunate side-effect of this is that you don't quite cater to either racing fan (racing or sim) completely, though the inclusion of 'profile points' to reward players for driving seriously or with a bit of flair helped to split the difference.

Sadly SHIFT 2 has rolled this concept in to one overall profile, rewarding players for every action they perform. This diminishes any sense of accomplishment as you're essentially given a pat on the back for simply playing.

As with the first title, plenty of automatic options (braking, accelerating and even 'racing lines') help players of all skill levels to jump in and start winning races. Cash earned from leveling up or winning various races (traditional, sprint, duel and time-trial) can be spent on new cars and customizing them. The increase in power adds a bit of complexity as the auto-braking doesn't seem to scale with your vehicle, while drifting becomes all too common as braking helps to kick out your rear end around a corner.

Licensed vehicles or not, the important thing in a racing game is the way it feels. SHIFT 2 lacks any punch as you're rewarded for blithely bludgeoning your way past cars, but then punished for attempting anything fancy while at the head of the pack.

By now there are plenty of racing titles to choose from and while SHIFT still makes for a great casual racing option, it's a step back from the original game and hard to recommend.


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