Need For Speed SHIFT 2 Unleashed is a new racing game from Electronic Arts on the iPad and iPhone. While the title is available on both platforms, it is not a universal game, so this review is based on the “HD” version for the iPad. With more than 40 cars and 40 different events, has EA created a racer that will take the checkered flag?
The Need For Speed name is synonymous with great racing action, and NFS Shift 2 does not break the trend. If you played the first NFS Shift on iOS (which incidentally is currently unavailable on the App Store), you may have been disappointed with the average visuals and a feeling that you just weren’t ever going very fast. All that has changed with Shift 2. Four different camera angles provide a great viewing angle no matter your comfort, and each provides a true sense of speed that the first Shift title was missing. Graphically, the cars are beautifully rendered, and each of the cities are well defined in the background and stunningly accurate (I could pick out dozens of buildings in Chicago that I know and love for instance). Visually this is truly a step up from the previous edition of NFS Shift.
Along with the visuals, the soundtrack for this game is absolutely amazing. Usually I enjoy playing racing game to my own music from the iPod app, but NFS Shift 2 has great tracks from bands like 30 Seconds to Mars, Rise Against, Anberlin, Stone Temple Pilots, Switchfoot, Jimmy Eat World and more. At times I wished this was actually a Guitar Hero or Rock Band game with all the great songs I was hearing. Of course, as with most EA games, you can play your own music as well, but it’s nice to know that the default game music is so enjoyable.
The controls are exceptional and will have you competing for first place right away. By default, the game employs tilt steering, auto acceleration (tap the screen to brake, release to resume acceleration), automatic transmission, and full brake assist. Of course, all of these are customizable in the options menu, and the amount of brake assist can be decreased (or turned off completely). The tilt sensitivity is also adjustable, though I’ve found that the default sensitivity is well tuned to my liking. NFS Shift 2 also presents racers with a “best line” on the track which shows where your best chance for speed is, along with turning varying shades of green or red depending on how much you need to brake or accelerate. This is a great tool to teach newcomers to the game, and is easily turned off in the options menu as well.
Need For Speed Shift 2 Unleashed is a fantastic racing title and quite honestly may be one of the best available on iOS. With multiple game modes, tough AI competition, and the ability to link up multiple devices and race your friends, there’s plenty here to keep you entertained for a long time. Need For Speed Shift 2 Unleashed is available now on the App Store for $4.99 for the iPhone, and $6.99 for the iPad.
Here is a video demo of the SHIFT 2 Unleashed for iPad app on the iPhone
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