Need For Speed: Shift: Overall despite Shift's departure from the classic Need For Speed formula, it retains enough of its arcade heritage to still be a unique offering. Unfortunately with all the hyping of its simulator nature, EA may lose its audience altogether when Forza 3 and Gran Turismo 4 are released later this year. They still have a unique game, but it's up to them to help buyers realize that. The adrenaline pumping exhilarating high speeds are a hallmark of Need For Speed, and it's not lost here, despite the inclusion of more technical tracks than most of its fans are used to. It's a great game by any racing standard, and easily stands above Forza 2, Grid, Project Gotham, and others, at least for the moment.
DiRT 2: Hands down the most beautiful racing game in existence today, and arguably the most unique among the more simulation oriented racers. Slow and steady wins the race, but feels challenging and satisfying all the while. Amazing physics, and an extreme sports vibe sets it apart from all but the top. In the end, I think DiRT 2 deserves the slight edge overall above Shift, largely on account of the graphics, presentation, the variety of races, and above all, it is a unique experience with virtually no parallel. That's not to denigrate the superb Need For Speed: Shift, a stellar title in its own right, but ever so slightly, DiRT 2 is the better package. Which package is right for you however, is less absolute.
- Sound - Gameplay - Depth
- Multiplayer || Reviewed
by John Del Percio|
Need For Speed: Shift: 82% The graphics are good, but not great. The cars look excellent, and the motion blur effect is well done. Unfortunately the courses and environment look flat, bland, low detail, and reminiscent of the old arcade simulators. Still, most of the time you're looking at the track and cars, not the birds, so this is of limited importance, and pretty isn't everything. The cockpit and opposing vehicles however do look excellent, which is where it counts.
DiRT 2: 98% Wow. Simply, wow. I thought Grid looked good, but this is truly stunning. While great graphics aren't the end-all in a game, there's just an amazing realism added here, and with the addition of the pumped up replays, it will be hard for any racing game, not even the first party ones, to match this.
Need For Speed: Shift: 92% The sound effects are well done here. The vehicle sounds can be a little over the top at times, but they do a great job at giving the feel of a high RPM performance car pushing the limits, and the cool Brit voice of your manager backed by intense electronica music gives all the refined charm of a Jaguar commercial.
DiRT 2: 94% The light punk, alternative, and nu-metal sounds of the music combine with the off-road environment well. Vehicle sounds are highly realistic, as is the terrain. The addition of real racers on the com add to the authenticity, though their lack of voice acting background is obvious. Fine details like muffling the music while in your trailer, emboldening it over the PAs outside, and kicking to studio quality when on the map and loading intros really adds to immersion, at least for the presentation.
This one's a draw. Both games are great at what they do and neither ever lets up. For all their differences, they are both top-notch racing games that are a blast to play for both gamers and simmers alike. The deduction of which one is better is purely a matter of style and preference.
Depth is also evenly matched between these titles. On the surface, DiRT 2 offers greater depth due to slightly more realistic physics and more immersive graphics, coupled by a true mood setting real-life presentation (if a bit too MTV for some tastes,) real drivers voicing your opponents, and a great replay system. Where Shift more than makes up for this is its detailed car adjustments in the garage. The detail goes beyond reasonable, so simmers will love it. Neither is comparable to rFactor, but they'll both fully draw you into realistic details like few others can.
Both take their great single player gameplay experience and bring it to multiplayer. Racing against friends and strangers is certainly a thrill, though I admit, I'm not skilled enough a sim racer to adequately pull apart the nuanced differences between them. The multiplayer is well conceived and easy enough to use. The rest is shared with the single player experience.
We're always open to feedback on how we can improve our stories, and the DoubleVisions features are no exception. This being the first one, it's sort of an experimental testing ground. Feel free to contact me with any suggestions in improving future DoubleVisions features. Reviewing both these titles and trying to arrive at a conclusion was difficult. Both are very similar while being very different. Ultimately, I tended to prefer whichever one I was playing at the time, so this is yet another fine example of how boiling a game down to a number doesn't come close to telling the whole story. Each will cater to different players, and fans of each will be equally thrilled with them. Still, Need For Dirt: Speed would be an interesting blend of all the best features of each!