Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. 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.
  2. Need for Speed: Shift is a great reboot for the NFS franchise.
  3. 83
    Because multiplayer puts all the focus back on just racing, online could be Shift's strongest suit.
  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. 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.
  6. Need For Speed: Shift is a brilliant new start for the franchise and has clearly been built by a team that loves racing.
  7. With Need for Speed: Shift you will get pure racing action with an incredible kind of feeling. You can’t imagine it!
  8. 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.
  9. 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]
  10. An excellent balancing act between arcade racing and simulated driving, with shudderingly fast cars. [Dec 2009, p.102]
  11. 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.
  12. 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]
  13. 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.
  14. Need for Speed: Shift fills an interesting niche for a gamer looking for a light-hearted action racer masquerading as something serious.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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]
  18. 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.
  19. More fun than the entire French air force crashing into a firework factory. [Dec 2009, p.62]
  20. Go, NfS! I had serious doubts about this one, but it delivers like a Porsche.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 336 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 100
  2. Negative: 46 out of 100
  1. Feb 20, 2012
    Awesome game. I can't really understand the negative reviews. Have you tried to change the steering sensitivity in the controls menu? I am using the "Thrustmaster Ferrari Wireless GT 430 Scuderia" steering wheel and it's working perfect. I changed "Steering Sensitivity" to 20 and "Speed Steering Sensitivity" to 100. Full Review »
  2. Vic
    Dec 9, 2011
    I just don't understand these critics who gave this game 9 or 10. Have they even tried to play this game, cause it's almost impossible to drive straight in this game, the cars just slide all the time like cows on ice skating rink! Full Review »
  3. May 20, 2011
    Boring. I played it for 4h and I haven't played ever since. What else can I say?