Shift 2: Unleashed Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Shift 2: Unleashed Box Art
System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Dev: Slightly Mad Studios
Pub: Electronic Arts
Release: March 29, 2011
Players: 1-12
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p

Shift 2 is as good to listen to as it is pretty to look at. The engines bellow and the exhausts belch in a way that somehow balances carefully between fanciful representation and faithful recreation. It's almost symphonic. The music is the kind of emo alternative rock you'd expect, but it's never intrusive. It's often even appropriate so there's basically no complaint here either.

Very rarely was the fourth wall ever broken on my playthrough, but it did happen. There were a few incidents where the physics engine had a hiccup or the graphics engine had to play catch-up, but the game ran smoothly for the most part.

Shift 2: Unleashed Screenshot

Where customization is concerned, however, there was much to be desired. Players can customize their vehicles with vinyls via an editor much like the one found in Forza, although its implementation ends up being very bare bones and not really all that impressive. This isn't a huge fault by any means, but players won't be creating any Picasso recreations any time soon. The paint editor also left me scratching my head. Instead of using a color palette, there's a hue, saturation, value system in place. It works fine enough but because of the way it's set up, there are some colors that are next to impossible to achieve. Again, it isn't a big issue, just one that left me wondering why there wasn't an additional solution, like a color wheel alongside the HSV setup.

Upgrades are a bit confusing as well, largely due to the way they're handled. For instance, if you want to upgrade the air intake on a particular vehicle, there are three parts that you can purchase: performance filter, high flow cone and intake tube, and a cold air intake system. None of these parts conflict, but they also can't be installed at the same time. What might be going on is that the third option (which lends the highest performance boost) probably has the other two included in some way but you couldn't tell by the way it's displayed. Tuning itself is simple enough and won't require a lot of time to understand. It's all very straightforward and well-presented. Each vehicle is assigned a number that corresponds to its performance potential. The Performance Index is a quick way of telling where you might stack up against you competition. It should also add another layer of competition to the Autolog as well as bragging rights for those who can best their friends with lesser vehicles.

All things considered, Shift 2: Unleashed is a rewarding experience. Sure, it doesn't have 1,000 cars made up of more polygons than the moon or a vinyl editor Michelangelo would have deemed 'adequate,' but it's still a complete package. More than that, it could easily stand its ground against its 800-pound console brethren and, for me, that's what so outstanding. Slightly Mad Studios famously set out to outshine the efforts of Turn 10 and Polyphony Digital with this effort. If nothing else, they might be on the right track.

By Patriel Manning
CCC Contributing Writer

Not the best-looking on the market but when everything clicks it's absolutely gorgeous.
As you'd expect, there is lots of wheel support. Force feedback on a normal pad is extremely informative.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Engine notes are captured brilliantly, and the music doesn't get in the way.
Play Value
One of the best driving experiences available on a console.
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Next Level of Immersion - Experience visceral first-person racing like never before. The all-new helmet cam recreates realistic driver head movements that deliver an unparalleled sensation of speed: lean and tilt into the apex of corners, feel the impact of every scrape, bump, and crash, experience true in-cockpit vibrations, and more.
  • True Realistic Racing - Shift 2 Unleashed redefines the racing simulator genre by bringing the atmosphere of race day to life. From authentic car and crash physics to terrifying night racing to the battle-scarred look and feel of both cars and tracks, Shift 2 Unleashed leaves no detail behind in delivering the most authentic racing game experience yet. Featuring the FIA GT1 World Championship and GT3 European Championship plus real-world drivers, tracks, and cars, this is truly tomorrow's sim for today's adrenaline-fueled racer.
  • Amazing Career Depth and Variety - Earn unlocks and participate in multiple racing disciplines on the way to becoming the FIA GT1 World Champion. Featuring everything from new Endurance races to muscle and retro cars, Shift 2 Unleashed gives you the flexibility to choose the path that fits your individual racing style. Fight for position, dominate opponents, and annihilate track times every time out - the battle doesn't end at the finish line, it extends throughout your entire racing career.
  • . Change the Game with Autolog - Autolog is a revolutionary system that connects friends and changes the gameplay experience by allowing you to share virtually every aspect of your racing career. Compare Driver Profiles and career status, share and comment on pictures and videos, send challenges, and pull news feeds directly from and Autolog recommendations amp up the social competition of real-world racing by delivering challenges based on friend activity, creating a dynamic, competitive, fun new way to play both online and offline.
  • Customize for Show or Customize to Win! - Unleash your creativity to turn some of the world's most elite high-performance vehicles into fire-breathing weapons. Customize the engine, the body, the suspension, and much, much more, then put your ultimate racing machine to the test in any mode. Whether your goal is to race a 1000-horsepower Econobox or a tricked-out GTR, you have nearly limitless options to reign supreme on the track where every second counts.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Shift 2: Unleashed Screenshot - click to enlarge Shift 2: Unleashed Screenshot - click to enlarge Shift 2: Unleashed Screenshot - click to enlarge Shift 2: Unleashed Screenshot - click to enlarge Shift 2: Unleashed Screenshot - click to enlarge Shift 2: Unleashed Screenshot - click to enlarge Shift 2: Unleashed Screenshot - click to enlarge Shift 2: Unleashed Screenshot - click to enlarge Shift 2: Unleashed Screenshot - click to enlarge Shift 2: Unleashed Screenshot - click to enlarge

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