More Arcade than Sim
Not a bad game, but a bit underwhelming for anyone who was lapping up the hype we were being fed by all the clips released before the game. Contrary to the million dollar marketing campaign, this does not feel like a racing sim. It is very much, another Need for Speed release....which is probably what we should have expected. I won't go on about the "helmet cam" because it's already been covered by every other review out there, but it's just not a view you can use to win races. My overall struggle with game lies in two things: The structure of race progression, and the physics from car to car. There is no indication from race to race how powerful your car needs to be- the AI just builds your competition arounds your car, be it a 150 HP 80's Nissan or a 1050 HP Bugatti . The races are classified well, from muscle cars to (a really terribly handling) Drift competition, and yet you are not given any indication whether to go buy a new car, use a loaner or play an earlier track....since new event "levels" unlock faster than you can buy cars to race. One thing Shift manages to nail in the physics department is lining up turns, which means you cannot make certain turns at speed without getting the inertia of the car moving into the turn. This makes the game feel difficult, similar to how Dirt 2 feels when you fall of the line, but is ruined by absolutely incredibly over powered brakes. You can take a turn in most cars over 60mph and mash the brakes durring the turn without any consequences, completely ignoring basic physics. Cars also seem to feel more like they are leaning and tilting on a center point of the car, rather than each wheel independently gripping the road. If Forza and GT5 are all about the cars, than this NFS release is accurate in saying it's "all about the experience" because you generally feel like you have no idea how the hell the car is going to respond to anything twice.