Points are basically put towards your overall profile XP (applicable online and off) and are broken into two categories: Precision and Aggression. The former rewards stuff like immaculately drifting around corners and emerging through course sections unscathed, while the latter encourages you to trade a little paint.
But mind where you channel that aggression, Mr. Wheeler. As boring and deceitful as most promises of driver AI get, SHIFT’s non-playable drivers have are looking to kick the tired tradition of rubberband bullshit. It’s true that AI drivers won’t swipe you off the track as if you were invisible while trying to realign themselves to a poorly designed carousel. But better still, they can develop personal vendettas against you if they perceive you to be an aggro-asshole.
Leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone… but hit them, and they’ll hit you back. Whether specific NPCs are born pricks or you simply have to teach them remains to be seen, but since the creators are referring to the dynamic system as “emotions,” one could assume that you could start out a race against the occasional enemy with a personality disorder.
But after playing it again on the show floor, I’m happy to report this mature-minded departure is shaping into the NFS series’ most significant evolution in years. Perhaps ever. While it’s without a doubt more realistic than any Need For Speed in years, I caution you folks not to write the game off as a boring simulator. “The True Driver Experience.” Certainly sounds like PR babble… yet, it’s actually something fresh, innovative and downright arcadey.
Modern racers have all but forgotten there’s an actual person behind the wheel, but SHIFT’s gonna make damn sure you remember. Not only will you find your hands interacting with all facets of automotive minutia, but the cockpit view quite gorgeously displays a living, breathing human reacting to the road with every bit of detail as your vehicle. Haphazardly pinballing yourself around courses results in disorienting onscreen concussion effect that varies depending on the brutality of your impact.
I love an on-track guideline, but it’s the concussion elements will make you a better driver. Momentary blindness is far more of an incentive to master courses than any dented fender could ever hope to be. The same could be said for the point/reward system, even though they’re basically Project Gotham’s Kudos points. But it’s not like you’ll be getting anything like that this year…
If I had to pick a winner - and I do - I’d go with SHIFT. It looks a little more fresh and exciting, while Forza looks like hours more of the beautiful same (but what a value!) Fortunately for me, by the time I finish SHIFT, EA will doubtlessly be hyping its next NFS title AND I won’t head into Forza 3 unprepared!
Never did I ever conceive of a day when an annual Need for Speed game would rival my interest in a new Forza… but here we are. Feel free to call me an asshole in the comments.
Jun 18, 2009
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