With the impending release date inching ever so closer (9/15/09), EA & EA Black Box had a nice little get together for a few of us lucky gamers to sit down and play their latest addition to the Need for Speed family. With six 42″ Plasmas set-up, Need for Speed Shift did not disappoint. The graphics are locked in at 30 fps and are very sharp and well defined.
The cockpit detail is designed based on the interior of the actual car you are driving and is upgradeable and customizable. You start with a factory interior, right down to the nobs on the radio, and all gauges are fully functional.
The game starts out by testing your skills and setting the difficulty based on how well you drive. You will be set to one of four difficulties: Casual, Normal, Experienced, or Pro. The Casual setting is a great introductory setting for those that aren’t normal gamers and requires very little skill to keep the car on the track.
You will also be judged on how aggressively (or not) you drive. You have 2 separate paths you can take as for your driving style. For those wall bangers, and paint rubbers out there, you will definitely be pegged as aggressive and will earn XP accordingly. For those that like the nice clean friendly approach, precision will be your style and XP will be rewarded. Most drivers will probably be middle of the road drivers and will earn XP for both simultaneously.
The XP system is driven just like most popular shooters and you earn XP whether you win a race or not. There is a leveling system that awards upgrades according to your XP level.
While the online competition mode wasn’t in use, Greg Krysa (the Online Marketing Manager) was able to answer some questions in regards to it. 8 person matches will be the max, but all 8 have to be using the same driving difficulty, so Casual racers will not be up against Pros online.
Once you get past the beginner’s race, and your difficulty is set (you can manually set it to what you want in the options), it’s on to the quick race. The choice of cars was limited, but Greg had a couple of debug codes on hand that unlocked all cars and dropped $1 Million in the bank.
That opened up some serious options like the Pagani Zonda R. The full list of available cars can be found on page 2 of this article as well as the full track listing.
After over an hour of actual driving, and destroying a Ford GT and a Lamborghini Gallardo (damage is on and very real), Drew Hahn, the North American Online Community Manager, was nice enough to answer a few more questions about the game.
The game has cars that go back a few years, like a 1972 Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R and a 1986 Toyota Corolla GTS (A86), and Drew addressed why they were included. He said that not everyone had access to these cars in real life, as well as others on the list, but really wanted to drive one and see how they performed. Shift tried to include cars from a wide variety of years and racing styles. EA Blackbox is confident that gamers will be satisfied with the final list.
When asked about future DLC, Drew couldn’t make any promises since a DLC plan for the title hasn’t been created yet, but it is very possible.
Page 2 has the full track listing and the full list of cars.