Need for Speed: SHIFT

“Whoa!” We’re pretty sure that’s exactly the response EA and Black Box were angling for when they recently showed off Need for Speed: SHIFT, ‘cause that’s sure as hell the one they got. Why else would they be going around demoing the game earlier than ever in the franchise’s history if they weren’t 100% certain of the wow factor therein? These guys are proud of their baby, and all too eager to tell everyone that the screenshot below is completely undoctored gameplay footage captured directly from the game in motion.

Above: No seriously, this is what the game looks like

Not only were the visuals in the upcoming Need For Speed: SHIFT a breathtaking sight to behold, they also represent a radical departure from everything you thought you knew about the series.

In case you haven’t heard, we’re getting THREE NFS titles in 2009, each targeted at a specific sect of gamers with a specific set of needs. PC owners are getting an online focused MMO, while the Wii and DS versions will be geared to the casual… whatever that means. So where exactly does that leave core gamers and their PS360s? Luckily, SHIFT is heading exactly where the series needs to be.

It’s like they looked at the title as literally as possible. A “Need” for “Speed” is exactly that - and doesn’t necessarily imply a need for cinematic plotlines, police pursuits and open-world environments. Ah ha – but whose “need” is it? The driver’s, or rather, yours. Because after all, the whims and wishes behind any gamer picking up a racing game is to be the guy who yanks the car into gear, applies pedal to metal, and drifts around all comers at the highest possible velocity.

But what does the focus on “Driver Experience” mean exactly? Well, to get the full benefit, honey, you really have to see it from the driver’s seat. The camera isn’t some omniscient cloud floating behind the windshield, but from the perspective of a person, with a neck, eyes, and brain. First-person racing? Pretty much, actually. Just like if you plunked Gordon Freeman behind the wheel of Corvette Z06, your perspective responds to G-forces and other avenues of inertia experienced behind the wheel. Extreme acceleration forces your skull into the headrest and dramatically high speeds delicately smear a halo on the foreground for a gorgeous sense of tunnel vision as the lavishly detailed world screams by you at 60fps.

Your head (and perspective) move with physics entirely independent from those of the car’s chassis and the result is spectacularly realistic with no visual drawback to the player... except for one. Those looking at guard rails to ease them into hairpins should take heed, because SHIFT is pioneering another immersive feature in this driver experience.

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  • Godstrike3020 - April 19, 2009 2:37 a.m.

    No cops it sucks already
  • Cobra_Fangs - April 17, 2009 10:10 p.m.

    They shounld'nt make another one like prostreet. I like the ones like underground, carbon, and undercover.
  • Admiralv - April 5, 2009 5:17 p.m.

    I started playing the nfs series on the PC with High Stakes, Porsche Unleashed, and Hot Pursuit 2, with PU being my favorite by far. It had just the right mix of realism and authenticity while keeping some of the arcade elements to keep it fun. I've had varying degrees of satisfaction with the games that came after that (didn't really like the fast and furious style shift it took). I hope this one turns out to have that similar blend of realism(which i personally find fun, but hey) and just plain arcade fun that keeps it from being too frustrating.
  • jojimukumura - March 30, 2009 8:32 p.m.

    I can't deny that it looks good, but I just dont think its a good choice on their part. Considering the first thing i thought of when I saw this was GRID and not NFS they should reconsider thier course on games. In my personal opinion they should stick to storylines like Most Wanted and abilities to tweek your ride like in Underground 2 and then some. And one bit of beef I have with game makers nowdays, were the hell are the old school Civics? First and second gen CRXes are used a lot in Street racing and we never have seen them in a NFS. Ive seen them in Tokyo Extrem games and thats it. Plus, they only had an older Civic hatch in NFS:Prostreet and that game wasnt on the top of anyones "A" list for playability. Just for reference, if anyone from "EA" or anyone else who wants more tips on what gamers want in a racing game, so they can reclame their place as the race game kings then just email me at and we'll talk.
  • Savannah1994 - March 13, 2009 7:03 p.m.

    I liked carbon , hopefully this is better..
  • MdubG - March 11, 2009 3:55 a.m.

    the first NFS title i played was HP2 for gamecube it was fun now i went from most wanted, carbon, prostreet and undercover...honestly despite all the negative attention prostreet has gotten i think it is a great game i also have grid...which from the LOOKS, i think SHIFT is borrowing from it...and the gameplay might actually lean to the style of grid as well...we'll just have to wait and see
  • goranmax - March 8, 2009 6:50 p.m.

    And I hope there will be replay.
  • clarkandblakemovies - March 8, 2009 5:46 p.m.

    PS360 lol
  • m3ntalist86 - March 8, 2009 10:38 a.m.

    dont they mean need 4 they need these graphics combined with street gameplay...this jus looks too pro street..
  • iKOemos - March 7, 2009 8:58 p.m.

    I was disappointed by the last 2 Need for Speeds, but I've got high hopes for this one.
  • danporter2k8 - March 6, 2009 2:45 p.m.

    looks proper good but yeah they do need more games like need for speed underground. the street racing seems better, modifiable cars to work on. still, looks amazing!
  • Octaviux - March 6, 2009 12:51 a.m.

    looks Good I'm excited
  • darthpat - March 5, 2009 8:29 p.m.

    hahaha im not actually calling him a racist its a joke from the podcast he made a comment like "its one filthy race even the biggest bigot can get behind"
  • Sebastian16 - March 5, 2009 4:35 a.m.

    I'm pissed, I don't buy racing games to get a "real world experience", I buy them so I can get a cool car, trick it out to my taste, race it at unrealistic speeds and pull off all kinds of crazy shit. That's what NFS has been about, and that's why I enjoy the games. It's like if Infinity Ward decides that their next CoD game will be a 3rd person shooter with elements similar to Operation Flashpoint. DUMB!
  • Synster - March 4, 2009 11:43 p.m.

    Yeah. From these Screens alone, and the Drivers seat view. This is reminding me a lot of GRID. Which really? Codemasters has that down pretty solid by now. I personally think Need for speed should go back to the roots of Underground or Most Wanted( The two best In my opinion. ), but expand on it by giving you the Drivers view. The collision effects. Everything here. But in an Underground/Most Wanted style. Now it's like Need for Speed has little to no Customization, and No. Not Chassis work. That's just Dumb and you save it for last. I mean Most Wanted style, Super Chargers, Air Intakes, V8 Egines. The whole damn lot of it.
  • darthpat - March 4, 2009 10:15 p.m.

    chris is SUCH a racist
  • CoD_22 - March 4, 2009 10:03 p.m.

    wouldnt it be great to have a free roaming, mmo online type nfs? that would be awesome, you'd get clans going round smashing up everyones cars it would be unbelievably fun. and is it just me that randomly starts going round in circles on forza if i drive in a straight line? i hope not
  • Ramen_Soup - March 4, 2009 8:09 p.m.

    This is the first time I ever looked at a racing game and said I want it. This looks bananas.
  • sixboxes - March 4, 2009 7:05 p.m.

    All those visual touches meant to create that sense of immersion sound sick... but is it going to make gameplay trickier, or will they compensate for that? Right now it sounds like one is going to come at the expense of the other, but like the article said, it IS pretty early on in development.
  • Prospero - March 4, 2009 6:08 p.m.

    Well Most Wanted was good, But to be honest they really need a radical departure from that formula, just nothing like prostreet please.

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