Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Go, NfS! I had serious doubts about this one, but it delivers like a Porsche.
  2. 90
    A glorious return to greatness (and even excellence) for EA's seminal racing franchise. Slightly Mad Studios has delivered a driving experience that, while not completely accurate in terms of its simulation aspects, is practically dead-on in terms of what it's like to race around some of the world's best racing circuits.
  3. It's both a genre leading racing sim and a mass market EA game at the same time, which is a particularly difficult balancing act to pull off. Shift is easily the best driving game so far this year and will certainly be in amongst the likes of Forza 3 (and possibly GT5, if it emerges) when the brake dust from 2009 settles.
  4. No longer a classic need for speed game, EA made a true shift, a u-turn, developing a great game, with stunning visuals, and a lot of cars and tracks. The nightly undercover challenges are gone, but the new mechanics, borrowed from games such Forza or GT work well in conveying a great driving feeling.
  5. An excellent balancing act between arcade racing and simulated driving, with shudderingly fast cars. [Dec 2009, p.102]
  6. SHIFT will disappoint those looking for Maggie Q and cop chases, but racing sim fans, looking for a solid alternative to Forza and the like, should buckle-up for Need for Speed’s new ride.
  7. It doesn’t matter that there are some technical issues, it doesn’t matter that the Carreer mode could have been better or the handling model should have worked better at default options: the main thing here is that the game is fun.
  8. An impressive comeback of the Need for Speed series. The game shows the touch of the experienced team that created the GTR series. It's a clear recommendation for fans of racing game despite of some balancing problems and long loading times.
  9. Need for Speed: Shift is a great reboot for the NFS franchise.
  10. A highly enjoyable racing game with a lot of polish and it's good to see the franchise try a little harder. [Dec 2009, p.66]
  11. With Need for Speed: Shift you will get pure racing action with an incredible kind of feeling. You can’t imagine it!
  12. Need for Speed: Shift has found the right direction once again. The race feeling with the most cars is fantastic and the game looks great. There is enough to do and the experience system invites the player to do races more than once.
  13. 83
    Because multiplayer puts all the focus back on just racing, online could be Shift's strongest suit.
  14. SHIFT doesn't offer anything ground-breakingly new (despite the awesome Cockpit-View), but doesn't do anything important wrong either. So if you are longing for a solid Racing-Simulation with good graphics: go get it! But keep in mind that Forza3, Race On and GT5 are already on the horizon.
  15. On the whole though the racing action is very good, with a strong range of cars, attractive visuals and an international approach to motorsport that doesn't seem false or forced.
  16. Need For Speed: Shift is a brilliant new start for the franchise and has clearly been built by a team that loves racing.
  17. For starters, this is not the Need for Speed of yore. Shift represents a true attempt from EA to create an authentic racing experience, a successful attempt that brings the Need for Speed name out of the shadows and into our racing hearts. Shift is meant to be experienced from the cockpit view where the rattling of your head at collisions and the blurring of your vision at high speeds work together to immerse the player in the experience. Neither the career mode nor the online mode are especially varied and the appeal of the game is limited to those with an affection for realistic racing experiences. Nevertheless, Need for Speed: Shift is a return to form for the franchise.
  18. Forget the arcade with B-movie stars and “gangsta” driving this is real and realistic circuit racing. Shift can duel any of the speed-racing rivals with no fear. [Oct 2009]
  19. More fun than the entire French air force crashing into a firework factory. [Dec 2009, p.62]
  20. Need for Speed: Shift fills an interesting niche for a gamer looking for a light-hearted action racer masquerading as something serious.
  21. Shift plays to the gallery perhaps even more often than GRID. But when 16 glossy black Lamborghini Reventions, not yet spread along the track, are trying to squeeze into a narrow S-curve, high speed blurring the view, mixing dust with sun rays, and the driver is looking at the road from the incredibly detailed inside of a car… At this moment, you forget that crashes are unrealistic and that race will be over in just a few minutes. And let the theorists decide whether it is NFS or not.
  22. Tailor-made to please its boy-racer target audience, but if you want more sophistication in your racing go back to GRID. [Dec 2009, p.93]
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 350 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 104
  2. Negative: 47 out of 104
  1. DaveA
    Oct 25, 2009
    Everybody who rates this game below 6 are idiots. Judging from their description of their experiences they have configured their controller improperly and that's not the game's fault. This game provides the best racing experience of any racing video game up to date. Full Review »
  2. palindromee
    Sep 23, 2009
    This game is a terrible attempt at being a Forza-esque game. If you can even make it run on your PC, you are greeted with poor framerates on a DX-9.0c game. I'm running a 955BE and an HD4890 and get 30-50fps with some goodies turned off. Physics are terrible, the AI has the ability to not oversteer, you as the player are not so lucky. EA support is non-existent on their forums. Playability issues are the main problem, but the moderators have suddenly disappeared when SHIFT came out... wonder why? If you need a racing game now, get Dirt 2 for xbox360 or ps3. I'd avoid this game at all costs. Full Review »
  3. JohnB.
    Oct 20, 2009
    An awful lot of moning minnies out there and as far as i can see completely unfounded! Granted i am playing the game on quite a high spec pc with a G25 wheel but surely the console versions cant be that different! I go home pop this on and emerse into a world of realistic racing genious every night laughing my ass of half the time at the mayhem surrounding me. The game isnt easy but neither is the real thing! It takes practice skill and wit and the rewards are also realistic. Ive never really been a fan of electronic arts...until now. GENTLEMEN START YOUR ENGINES. Full Review »