Shift 2 Unleashed for iPad races into mediocrity

Aug 15, 2011
Games

Shift 2 Unleashed for the iPad is the latest game in the Need For Speed series. Electronic Arts has produced quality racing games for iOS in the past, including the original Need For Speed Shift. Shift 2 Unleashed falls a bit flat for me, and it is a difficult app to recommend given the current […]

Shift 2 Unleashed for the iPad is the latest game in the Need For Speed series. Electronic Arts has produced quality racing games for iOS in the past, including the original Need For Speed Shift. Shift 2 Unleashed falls a bit flat for me, and it is a difficult app to recommend given the current generation of racing titles out there.

I want to be clear. Shift 2 Unleashed for the iPad is not a bad game. It rides the line between arcade-style stunt driving, and pure racing simulation quite well. Tilt control for steering is quite good and finding the perfect racing line on each track is certainly fun. I also appreciate the number of vehicles in the game, and all the various ways they can be customized, both in terms of performance and visual appeal.

Competing against friends for the best lap times is possible, but only through their own social gaming service, Origin. This was a bit of a turn-off, as I don’t really care to join yet another gaming connection service. Using Game Center, and adding a slew of achievements to unlock, could have added quite a bit to this app’s lasting appeal.

Where the game really falls short in my opinion, is that it doesn’t seem to be bringing much new to the table. It looks a bit like the racing game that might have knocked your socks off at the launch of the original iPad. Compared with today’s crop of racing titles, for instance Real Racing 2, it doesn’t raise the bar at all for car models, environments or the competitive feel of the races in general. To me, this could have easily been an inexpensive in-app purchase for some new cars and tracks for the original Need For Speed Shift. Instead, they ask for a premium price for a game that plays well enough, but doesn’t innovate enough to be worth the money.

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Wayne Stuckey

After receiving his bachelor's degree in management information systems on planet Earth, Wayne decided to settle down and live there. He writes from the plains of the Midwest.

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