Shift 2: Unleashed

Shift 2: Unleashed Review for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360PC

The racing simulation returns.

Review Verdict Read Review
9Out of 10
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Shift 2: Unleashed screenshot
Shift 2: Unleashed screenshot

My advice? Don't bother with any of the exterior cameras when playing Shift 2: Unleashed. Just don't. Play it as you'd drive a real car; perched behind the windscreen, head dancing to the contours of the track. Be the driver, not the car. Because in terms of making you believe that you're sat there in the driver's seat, fingers curled around the steering wheel as the car screams around a track at 150mph, Shift 2 has no equal.

Suffice to say, Shift 2's cockpit views are unparalleled. Yes, better than Gran Turismo 5's. As you tear down a straight, the camera shakes and the dashboard blurs, and the odd bit of dirt flicks up from the track onto the windscreen. From the texture of a driver's gloves to the upholstery reflected on the windscreen, it's clear that Shift 2 is in a league of its own in terms of cockpit design.

It's more than just eye-candy, however. A flick of the right-stick will move your driver's gaze about the vehicle. This has practical purposes: if you need to know what the car behind you is up to, you can steal a glance at the rear view mirror. This is what you'd have to do in real life, after all, as real drivers don't have the luxury of a button to swap their whole perspective. This could all be done in the original game, of course, but a new helmet camera takes immersion a step further. As well as offering a slightly higher view of the track, the view slides in the direction of a turn as you enter the corner, just like a driver's head would in real life. While I tend to stick to the standard cockpit view, the helmet cam offers the most true to life experience the game - any racing game, for that matter - has to offer.

Realism was clearly of chief importance to Slightly Mad Studios, but - despite dropping the words Need, for, and Speed from the title - Shift 2 retains that element of excitement and spectacle that has defined previous games in the series. The new night races are a good example of this. Your view of the track never extends further than a few metres in front of you, demanding quick reflexes and unyielding levels of concentration. Not knowing what's around the next corner, or even knowing it's there at all until the last second, is a nerve racking but exciting experience.

Shift 2: Unleashed screenshot

The bulk of the game's content is tied up in a hefty career mode, which spans a range of different events, from standard races and time attacks, to eliminations and drift challenges. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and Shift 2 has built its career around this sentiment. As you work your way up from grass roots races to the FIA GT1 series finale, you'll sit behind the wheels of sporty hatchbacks, prestigious supers and all-American muscle cars. You'll drive cars designed specifically for drifting and others stripped to the barebones for extreme time trials. With over 145 cars from 36 manufacturers, Shift 2 boasts the biggest roster of any Need for Speed game to date.

Petrolheads will be pleased to find equally extensive customisation features under the bonnet, too. Money earned in the career can be used to upgrade engines, tyres, suspension and brakes, amongst other bits. As your car's performance index increases it'll improve in class, making it eligible for more races. Interestingly, Shift 2 allows you to tinker with your setup in the very midst of a race, too, making it easy to immediately appreciate how changes affect your car.

Throwing these vehicles around the 40-odd tracks the game has to offer is incredibly satisfying. Make no mistake, this is a technical racer, and you'll become well acquainted with the barriers during your first few races, but the controls are tight and the cars feel suitably responsive. If you do find yourself getting a little too friendly with the gravel traps, there's always the option to turn on steering and braking assists. Rival drivers defend parts of the track where they're vulnerable to being overtaken, exploit your mistakes and, importantly, crash every now and again of their own accord. The AI is great, which means you have to fight for your victories, and with no rubber banding in sight, the last lap is no more important than any other.

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User Comments

dazzadavie's Avatar


Been loving this since it turned up last week mastering all the courses as I come across them. Online is hit or miss mostly miss if you find a game.
Been getting stuck into the custom paint and did this for my Leon
Click for Image
Click for Image
Click for Image
Simply work apart from the Union Jack

Also with I was over on the Shift 2 page this is the front screen
Click for Image
Well done Jamin
Posted 10:08 on 28 April 2011
thompo555's Avatar


Don't think its made VG yet but there is going to be a DLC pack called Legends

800msp or £7.99 (roughly $5.16 Aussie Dollars).
Posted 20:58 on 20 April 2011
dav2612's Avatar

dav2612@ dazzadavie

I never found that with the 1st one but I had it on the PS3 and I do find the analouge on the 360 more sensitive.

Thanks clangod, will have a look and see if I find something I prefer.
Posted 15:45 on 18 April 2011
dazzadavie's Avatar


the first shift had problems too, I had to use some settings I found online because the car was just so over sensitive. I will use your links once Shift 2 turns up this week
Posted 13:02 on 18 April 2011
clangod's Avatar

clangod@ dav2612

Rest assured dav, there's a whole lot more users out there on controllers across all platforms experiencing issues with the control senstitivity. Even if your analogues aren't out of calibration, you'd still be safe expecting to run into some issues with the default setups as they are.

What has become all too apparent to me in my own experience and the many comments I've read on a few forums (including the official one) is that you need to make a few tweaks to get the game working properly, not to mention the tuning requirements on the vehicles you own as a baseline for peformance and playability.

If you have any desire to explore these tweaks past simply getting fed up before the incoming patch, try the following links:


There's a lot of specific PC talk within these sites however general setup tips should translate well between platforms.

The following is called the ZeroG settings which as far as I've read are pretty popular for many 360 pad users.

Hope you can gain something from this. Pay attention to some of the tuning suggestions as they will either make or break the game for you. Obvoiusly I have no idea of your aptitude or interest for tuning individual vehicles so if I have stated the obvious please excuse me :)

Hope it helps...
Posted 12:42 on 18 April 2011
dav2612's Avatar


I started the drift events over the weekend and I hate them.

I also find the handling too twitchy but it might be my controller as the menus seem to scroll to the right when they first display... might explain why I can brush against a wall going down a straight.
Posted 09:37 on 18 April 2011
clangod's Avatar


Patch should be out by the end of the month. As far as adapting to the game so far, I hope the fixes don't demand I learn how to play it all over again. I'm finally almost comfortable with the tuning requirements and setups.

On another note, I gave up trying to drift with the wheel and will be finishing these events with the DS3. It's a shame really and I had every intention to avoid them completely if I couldn't get the wheel to comfortably work but I also want the money, career progression and to never, ever have to worry about them again until they fix it... Little hope in that I suspect but I'm still very much enjoying the racing and will stick with it until Dirt 3 is released at the end of May.

I attempted to race for a few minutes last night using the DS3 after a drift session and I really cannot understand how those using controllers do it. All controller settings were default but I'm so in tune with the wheel it just seems so unnatural and uncomfortable. You really do need a good wheel set up to enjoy this game as it was intended.
Posted 04:10 on 18 April 2011
EISPower's Avatar


It"s much better than shift but so not worth a score 9.
Posted 18:58 on 17 April 2011
EverTheOptimist's Avatar

EverTheOptimist@ pblive

I'm the same pb, but I'm enjoying this a lot. It feels like a nice bridge between arcade racers and sims. Go for it!
Posted 11:17 on 15 April 2011


It's £25 at Gamestation this weekend. Think I'm sold. Just a bit worried that I tend to prefer the arcade racers to the sims.
Posted 11:12 on 15 April 2011
clangod's Avatar


Double Post:

@ Thompo: I'm at work checking autolog and I notice you've bettered a few of my times ;) Gauntlet officially down biatch!!! :lick:

I've taken two of the Lambo's from the car lot which are $0.00 as part of the limited edition gifts so I have one fully worked, and one waiting to be uprgaded to maintain entry into a few of the lower class events. A neat little trick if you don't want to have to constantly remove other upragdes and considering the works conversion cannot be undone. I'm not sure there is a specific limit to each players garage so I expect you could own 20 Lambo's if you like ;)

I will be tuning my works converted Lambo after work as I've hardly used it yet. T'was of my favourite cars to use in Shift.
Posted 11:53 on 09 April 2011
clangod's Avatar


Your video is private. I'm not a you tube uploader, do I need to follow you or something before I can view it?

Just so you're aware, you can save any replay from career or quick event and share it in autolog. I know this then limits the viewers to your PS3 friends but it's a nice feature and one that's been sorely lacking in previous race titles. Going for hot lap battles you can just setup a race with only you on the track and save it. I think your limited to 6 or so replays at a time though... If you haven't already, check out the 2 replays I've shared. 3 laps of SPA and Mount Panorama each roughly 6 minutes or so...

I'm guessing unless you have some sort of capture gear such as FRAPS on PC, a longer than 10 second upload is only possible with the help of a camcorder or something. I'm no expert though.

thompo: I was on last night after work but I didn't notice you online until after I'd had enough. I messed around in autolog and stocked up on free cars for the hell of it. I'll be definitely playing again after work tonight so might bump you into the gravel trap then ;)

I can see some of these top tier events being a right pain in the arse. Some real tough cookies. Maybe I'm just a bad driver...

And in other news, Ian Bell (reportedly part of the dev team) announced yesterday that a patch which addresses the input lag and freezing issues amongst other things is currently in testing and will then of course be submitted for approval by the necessary parties. So, good news :)
Posted 06:11 on 09 April 2011
thompo555's Avatar


Myself, all 11 seconds, around 3 corners at the monza short course. Just a test of the video function to be honest. Anyone know how to take longer videos? I want to show the whole 48s lap :P

YouTube Video

Edit: vid no working on iPod so I don't know if it is or isn't workin on a computer, it can be temperamental. Here is the clicky link.
Posted 23:32 on 08 April 2011
EverTheOptimist's Avatar


Pad seems absolutely fine, but then I wouldn't really know as I have no wheel to compare it to!
Posted 23:03 on 08 April 2011
thompo555's Avatar


If you have a wheel then its a brilliant game, cant comment on any pad performance though.

I'll be on tonight Clangod :) If you want to race/meet your certain demise ;) If you want a hand tuning cars and such then I'll be happy to help! Might need to get a bit further through than 6% though haha :P

I bought the R8 and tested it around the Nordsclheife, great car. Got it's level to around 983 or something so I don't have to rely on the ol' BMW to get me through the C events :P I will upgrade it to a B+ spec soon. Wouldn't mind the works to be honest, though I may do up my Lamborghini too. I've just realised how much of an RPG this is! :D I love it!
Posted 16:48 on 08 April 2011

Game Stats

Shift 2: Unleashed
Out of 10
Shift 2: Unleashed
  • Impressive range of cars
  • Cockpit views are gorgeous
  • Autolog integration is fantastic
  • No rewind feature
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 01/04/2011
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC
Developer: Slightly Mad Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Racing
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 455 37
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