Shift 2 Unleashed is Slight Mad Studios latest attempt at Simulation based racing, the series has a long history with the Need for Speed franchise and is there GT5/Forza competitor, they decided to drop the Need for Speed in the title this time probably to separate it from the other more arcade based titles, the well received Hot Pursuit and World(online free to play).
There a roughly 130 cars available to buy with a wide choice of different types available for each event type rated with a performance number, your able to upgrade many parts of the vehicle with many able to upgrade to the full works racing model and skins, the lower number of motors available compared to its competitors GT5 and Forza isn’t a problem as all the cars available you may actually use and has a good selection of the well known cars rather than just skipping through hundreds of useless cars.
The main career mode consists of the standard fair, start of in a low powered car and work your way through different classes of vehicle earning money and xp along the way to unlock higher level events up to GT1 class vehicles, early game events have some pep talks from a drift driver Vaughn Gittin Jr which is a little odd as there is only one small event involving drift and to be honest the drift mode is crap anyway and not worth playing as you don’t need to complete every event to progress.
At this time the game has received its first patch on the PC and my comments will be based on this 1.01 patch which improves handling and removes any input lag for PC using a driving wheel(Logitech Driving Force Pro)and pedals, guys a wheel is needed to enjoy these games to there full potential, come on Dave you need to get Jeff and Ryan setup with a wheel for the quick looks and make them use it, with threats if necessary(like forcing them to watch Vinny complete Dragon Age 2).
The driving physics are a big improvement on the previous game cars don’t feel like boats to drive, its certainly a lot more forgiving compared to hardcore sims like iracing/rfactor but its a lot more fun to drive, each car has it own feel and requires a different driving style, you can turn on a few driver aids like racing line, traction control and ABS, but plays best on elite handing mode with all assists turned off in my opinion with the driving line turned on and auto gears until you learn a track.
Your opponents on track are very aggressive and tend to ram you off far too often by trying to drive through you even though your on the racing line, hopefully this can be corrected in future patches which are already planned by slightly mad, they are receiving feedback and replying to the community which is a nice change.
Online play isn’t the main focus of this game clearly with no really good matching system you can often end up with wildly different classes of cars competing in the same race and no leagues available, while they provide online leaderboards for the career mode this also needs some work to remove false times and not separating classes however could provide good long term playability if improved.
Overall I find the game a fun experience with excellent graphics and a very large selection of real world tracks and cars, its well worth a look if you enjoy racing.