Much of the hype surrounding NFS: Shift centers around the cockpit mode, which was easily the most fun of any of the views. There is a ridiculous amount of detail from car to car, and the 180-degree analog view–which allows you to see from a driver’s perspective–is incredible, but the physics and minor touches stood out the most. There really seems to be a feeling of inertia within the drivers seat, jerking a player around in a way that hasn’t been done this well before. Crashes add another element–one that I became familiar with–as the colors temporarily drained from the screen and a haze came over your vision. While these may not seem revolutionary, all of these small touches made the cockpit mode the most compelling perspective I raced from overall. Wth all of that said, this is obviously a very beautiful looking game. The cars, skies, crash damage, and vistas all look great, with my only request being for a a night racing. They only had dawn, dusk, and midday on display.
One way to boost experience is to drive in the zone. Getting in the zone requires driving in so-called "perfect sectors" to earn stars and boost progression. With experience, one can gain money for cars and badges, which are rewards for accomplishing certain tasks throughout the game. The badges are earned across different modes and progress from Minor to Master, and can all be shown online or off.
Slightly Mad Studios seems to be on the right track towards turning this series back around after a less than stellar showing last year. Shift focuses on some very compelling ideas, and gamers who are eager to hit the track should head down to their local game retailer today to see what the latest Need for Speed has to offer. Check out my interview with producer Marc De Vellis below.