Metascore
84

Generally favorable reviews - based on 55 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 55
  2. Negative: 0 out of 55
  1. 100
    If you're a number-munching automotive aficionado with a penchant for judging games the way an accountant judges a financial portfolio, know that this is a racing game dedicated to the act of racing rather than the actors, more intent on refining the experience of driving rather than celebrating car culture with scads of vehicles.
  2. 100
    What EA has done here is reinvent a bloated franchise, and turned it into a product that the hardcore and the more casual among us can enjoy equally.
  3. Need for Speed Shift is a surprising turn for the series, pushing away from flashy street racing to compete with the likes of Forza and Gran Turismo. Its feature-set still has room to grow, but the tight driving experience stands up with the best.
  4. Did we mention your speakers will enjoy every single bit of this game as well?
  5. So what is there left to say except, if you call yourself a racing fan, even if you have passed on or hated the last few outings this Need for Speed series had to offer, this is a whole new game that feels fresh. To put it in simple terms, you "Need" this game in your racing library.
  6. Need for Speed: Shift is a wonderful re-imaging of Electronic Arts' classic series and one of 2009's best racing games. The combination of exquisite graphics and hardcore crashing delivers an adrenaline shot to players who drool over squealing tires, burnt rubber and exotic muscle machines.
  7. It truly is a must-have package. A thoroughly entertaining and pivotal part of the Speed franchise and the racing landscape in general, we want more like this. [Nov 2009, p.68]
  8. Go, NfS! I had serious doubts about this one, but it delivers like a Porsche.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Overall, Need For Speed: Shift is a welcome change of pace in the long-running series, and a welcome addition to the sim racing genre as well.
  12. Need for Speed: Shift is a compelling racing game that does an admirable job of balancing its simulation side with its arcade side. The combination of fun events, varied tracks and a solid racing engine make quite a convincing package.
  13. Need For Speed Shift does exactly what it is made for: giving any driver the experience they want in a racing game.
  14. 90
    With so much provision for purist racing as well as arcade thrills, it's a delight to report that Shift strikes a fantastic balance between the two. From a thoughtful introductory race that helps define your style and skills through to a compelling career mode and constant back-patting, Need for Speed Shift is a delight to play.
  15. Not without its light flaws, this great Need for Speed return is an exciting new point of view on the world of Turismo racing, mainly thanks to a well-crafted driving model. If you like the races, and you’re not a simulation fanatic, it’s the game to have.
  16. The "shift" in Need for Speed series is one of the most fascinating and exciting changes of this new EA racer.
  17. The most substantial upgrade the NFS series has ever received, along with some of the best visuals in the genre's field. [Nov 2009, p.83]
  18. 89
    The balance between arcade and simulation is nearly flawless, not to mention the graphics are jaw-dropping.
  19. Need for Speed reinvents itself with a game very different to the series tradition but that results in an excellent racing game, with the right dose of simulation
  20. All in all, despite some awkward design choices, Need for Speed: SHIFT is still a fantastic racing game, and once you figure out your preferred sensitivity settings, everything just clicks and you'll find yourself going from one race to the next, onto the other, and before you know it...it's 4AM.
  21. 88
    This is a game that a lot of people can potentially enjoy; it’s a welcome return to form for Need for Speed, and worth checking out.
  22. 87
    Need for Speed Shift gets the most important part of a racing game right and it does so with a flair that’s uncommon in a frequently po-faced genre, providing driving that’s genuinely thrilling.
  23. Shift revitalizes the Need for Speed series with an amazing mix of arcade and simulation.
  24. 86
    Need for Speed Shift doesn’t only provide a great shift within the NFS-franchise. In fact, the game is also an extremely good racing game.
  25. Need For Speed: Shift is a great racing game. At last! A top quality game from all perspectives, it can suite both expert racers and rookies. It is also quite involving thanks to the new cockpit camera views, and has a superb multiplayer mode.
  26. 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.
  27. Excellent graphics and sound, especially for the driver camera, offer something awesome to the genre, while the controls are as tight as ever. Add this to a mostly solid campaign mode and opponent AI that does more than stick to pre-determined racing lines, and you have a racing game that can stand up well with the best of them.
  28. Forget what you have come to expect from an NFS game, because SHIFT takes the series away from the street scene and into the grown-up world of motorsport. It makes a few mistakes along the way, but with great looks, solid handling and some unique features, there is plenty of fun to be had behind the wheel.
  29. At last, SHIFT is the change we were expecting in the NFS franchise, after so many years of tuning. Now we take part in the professional racing world, and we can drive with the best in-car view we have ever seen in a videogame. It also delivers great visuals and gameplay that tempts players to keep on playing over and over again. Brilliant.
  30. Shift shows a lot of potential for the series and will go down as one of the best racing games of 2009.
  31. Need for Speed: Shift is a great reboot for the NFS franchise.
  32. If you’re a fan of games like Project Gotham Racing and Grid, you’d really be doing yourself a disservice in missing out on this game since it’s probably right up your alley.
  33. Overall, NFS Shift provides an entertaining experience with a decent variety of tracks, locations, and vehicles.
  34. The best Need for Speed of the last years! For all fans of the genre have the duty to buy this game!
  35. 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.
  36. 83
    It is Shift's ability to bring the roar of the race to life, that manages to drown out much of its flaws.
  37. 81
    A collection of ideas - some tried and tested, some yet to be proven - all hanging together beautifully. [Issue#184, p.69]
  38. 81
    Need for Speed: SHIFT puts the franchise back on the map. It has interesting gameplay with a whole new level system. Also included: a lot of cars, strong graphics and a expanded single- and multiplayer.
  39. In the end then, rather than being an exceptional driving game, NfS: Shift is a good one with one exceptional feature - driver-cam, and one interesting idea where the implementation is slight awry - driver profile.
  40. Need For Speed: Shift is a brilliant new start for the franchise and has clearly been built by a team that loves racing.
  41. Shift is the racer NFS could've only dreamed of evolving into last year. [Nov 2009, p.132]
  42. That Need for Speed Shift was going to be more of a simulation wasn't a big surprise when Slightly Mad Studios got the job. It is however a surprise that the game ended up being this good. Thanks to the cockpit-view, the sense of speed and the eye for detail, Shift takes the Need for Speed-series back to the top.
  43. Need for Speed: Shift is far from perfect, however it has real soul and you can tell the developers have a real passion for racing. A little more EA polishing would make this the best racing game around.
  44. Need For Speed: Shift is a major turnaround for the series, and a very successful one at that. The realistic racing and beautiful graphics complete a package that should please any racing fan.
  45. Need for Speed: SHIFT is a real change in the franchise, taking the game to a higher level. It is a game that divides opinions, but it is not better than its competitors in almost anything, it is best to be the one to create a harmony between a simulator and arcade mode.
  46. This game goes from zero-to-60 fast enough, but that only brings it upon the question of “now what?” that much more quickly. I don’t want to say that being a sim-racer is a dead end, but it’s hard to know where the Shift branch of Need for Speed can go from here.
  47. Need for Speed: SHIFT takes this classic franchise in a whole new direction, whilst this may leave a bitter taste in the mouths of some fans, for the most part the games developers have served up a pretty authentic racing experience.
  48. A decent racer with minor issues that put it just behind rivals. [Nov 2009, p.84]
  49. Shift certainly isn’t perfect nor is it as realistically accurate as it wants to be. What it does do, however, is make you almost feel the g-forces of racing and encapsulates that adrenaline rush like no other game of its genre – this alone makes it essential for racing fans.
  50. 80
    The game does a great job of continuing to reward you for your performance and because of that, SHIFT is an engaging and addictive sim racer. It sets a great foundation for future iterations but hopefully, the sequel won't suddenly throw the e-brake on the action and force you to the side of the road every now and again.
  51. 78
    Need for Speed: Shift puts EA in the right direction, but they haven’t quite gotten there yet. We suspect the name to quickly change to Need for Speed: Drift. The badge system, the race-missions and the presentation are nice, but looking at the most important part – gameplay – the game is still lacking. Unfortunately, Need for Speed: Shift will see the competition drive off in the distance.
  52. Shift has successfully risen from the midden heap of its forebears, offering vehicular free love to any and all comers. The only problem is that it’s the kind of “love” that’s best enjoyed without others.
  53. Shift is neither an arcade racer nor a simulation; it's stuck somewhere between the two, and while there's plenty of good racing to be had here, it's unlikely to completely satisfy fans of either.
  54. In their panic EA has made a game which has no place in the current market. Neither arcade racer, nor simulation it also pales next to the well-established rivals which manage to be both.
  55. The game feels like it's stuck between two worlds, and it doesn't execute well enough on either side to fully satisfy any type of racing fan.
User Score
6.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 98 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 34
  2. Negative: 3 out of 34
  1. Feb 3, 2014
    7
    Variety: 8 out of 10, Graphics: 8 out of 10, Fun: 7 out of 10, Controls (I used a gaming steering wheel): 7 out of 10, Ease to Learn: 7 out of 10, Length: 8 out of 10, Re-play: 4 out of 10, Value: 7 out of 10 Full Review »
  2. Mar 20, 2013
    9
    Really good driving game. The handling is better then most need for speed games. It looks great, unlimited tuning options, good tracks, a lot of sweet cars, and great concept. Full Review »
  3. Oct 13, 2012
    7
    It´s a pretty good racing car game it looks and sounds great and the overall concept is well built. It only lacks the x factor that DiRT 2 has for example. Not comparing both of the games since they're different. Having said that it's a good car game. Full Review »