Publisher: EA–Price: $4.99–I have probably spent over one hundred hours of my life playing iDevice racing games. So when I saw EA’s newest racing title: SHIFT 2, I was obviously excited and curious. A great variety of cars and tracks makes the game fun, and its replay value high, but poor graphics hold the game back from its full potential (and from beating competing games of the genre).
When one first plays the game, the variety of cars and tracks is very noticeable, and really does contribute to the high replay value of the game. There are tons of cars to choose from, and the choices expand as you progress through the game. The tracks themselves are each in a different city, and I thought each city was well emulated (you could clearly see The Loop when racing in Chicago). This made the game entertaining, but the real downer of this game was the graphics. Coming from the people who developed games that have shaped the way we play, I thought they were subpar. Especially after a game like NFS Hot Pursuit, where the graphics were good, this game was a letdown. The scenery looked decent, but the cars always seemed to look pixelated, even off the track, on a retina display iPod touch. For some people, graphics aren’t that big of a deal, and you may think I’m being a sticker, but these poor graphics make the whole game seem unpolished. Aside from that, the game had a quick race mode, which was a fun distraction from career mode, and the ability to play friends via wifi or “head to head.” there was no Game Center in this game, rather a service called Origin, which I’d never heard of before. The service is good, but I think the developer should offer the choice between Origin and Game Center. Lastly, there was a Need for Speed store, where you can buy extra in game cash. The problem with this is that ads kept on popping up to go to the NFS store when I lacked enough money to make a purchase (there’s no “don’t show again” button either). Overall, Need for Speed: SHIFT 2 Unleashed is a decent game. It boasts high customization, a high variety of cars, tracks, and race modes, but poor graphics are keeping it from rising above other games of the genre. It gets 7.5 out of 10 for now.