I've played Need for Speed: SHIFT in the past before, and I have praised the game numerous times for its nearly perfect mixture of realism, while at the same time maintaining the excitement the series has always been known for. Because the game is being developed by Slightly Mad Studios, the folks who brought the PC world the incredibly realistic GTR series, we knew to expect the best Need for Speed game ever made. Now, like I said, I've played the game before, so what new bits of info can I offer you that we haven't covered before? Oh, there are plenty.
For starters, SHIFT supports Logitech wheels and has full support of the G25's clutch and shifter setup. Within the game are a plethora of tuning options for the wheel, so that you can customize its feel and feedback to your liking. The thing is, though, we didn't play this game with a Logitech G25. But rather another Logitech wheel, which has yet to be officially announced. But if you're an enthusiast, you've probably seen some of the leaked images of it. We wish we could go into details on some of the changes to this wheel, but we have to wait a bit.
One question I've had with the game from the beginning is "do I start out with stock cars"? And in the past the question couldn't be answered, because even EA BlackBox and Slightly Mad weren't sure. Well, there is an answer, and it is a "yes". So if you were worried about being handed pre-tuned cars that are not to your aesthetic liking, worry not, because you will now be able to start off with a clean slate of your own and keep your car looking stock, if you wish, and just work on the performance. Or keep the visual upgrades subtle and tasteful if you want to mod the look.
Now, one of the best features we heard about the game was its online matchmaking system. During offline races the game will track and measure your style of racing using two characteristic traits: aggression and precision. Based on your driving style, the game will matchmake and drop you into a group of racers most closely related to your driving. Of course, if you don't wish to partake in the matchmaking, you don't have to, it's purely optional.
There are also some really nice gameplay features to talk about. First, if you do not finish within the top three in your races, the game will still reward you and allow you to progress. This is done so that you don't have to constantly stop and restart if you've made a mistake. Second, you can customize the physics to your liking, ranging from assisted, to arcade like, to a blend of arcade and simulation, all the way up to the brute force of the full game engine performing its proper simulation capabilities.
Our final and miscellaneous tidbits include the following: the PC version of the game supports the D-Box Motion Chair, and there's a slight possibility that this support will arrive for the PlayStation 3 in the form of a patch. There is a 350Z, and that makes me happy, for obvious reasons. And finally, September 15th is the day you mark your calendars for.