Since the release of Need For Speed in 1994 on the 3DO gaming system, the series has experienced its share of ups and downs. Most recently with the lackluster performance of the NFS: Undercover title. Many gamers feared what would become of the NFS series. Some speculated that NFS would no longer be produced by Black Box Studios but instead by Criterion Games, developers of Burnout Paradise.
More after the jump.
Then, all of the sudden, as if out of nowhere NFS came out with not one or two, but three new offerings games! At the forefront is Need for Speed SHIFT that also comes with a free online title, Need for Speed World Online. The final release, only for the Nintendo Wii game console, is Need for Speed: Nitro.
SHIFT has the potential to compete with games like GRID from Codemaster. GRID, was developed by the UK-based Slightly Mad Studios, and is 95 percent pure racing simulation that also has an arcade feel that welcomes non-race driving gamers. The visual feel of NFS: SHIFT is reminiscent of the Forza 2 videogame; the developers tried this with NFS: ProStreet but did not meet any real kind of success. The designers of NFS: SHIFT gave the game a very high level of detail, both in the cars and on the tracks.
The videogame is focused mainly on “driver experience” and has a really good artificial intelligence component. The creators did not want to settle for simply a nice looking game, but also wanted a game that would make players feel like real race drivers. Thus, the cockpit comes to life with very high details such as working gauges, the driver’s hands on the steering wheel and accurate, real-time reflections within the car. You can even see the movements of the driver in the rear view mirror. Another life-like feature is that you will see the driver gripping the wheel more tightly before a hard turn. The development team paid such a high level of attention to detail because it was their philosophy that the enthusiast gamer is primarily going to be playing from within the cockpit. Made for racers and non-enthusiasts alike NFS is back and with the release of their SHIFT title is hoping to make a very strong comeback.