Metascore
81

Generally favorable reviews - based on 52 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 52
  2. Negative: 0 out of 52
  1. It's official: Gran Turismo 5 is on notice. Like V8 Supercars 3 [Pro Race Driver 3] wooed us from GT4 back in the halcyon days of PS2, SHIFT 2 Unleashed is currently busy courting us with its incredible sense of speed, well-rounded garage, long list of tracks and impressive attention to detail... Forget what you think you know about where Need for Speed games stand in the racing sim landscape because the crew at Slightly Mad Studios has just taken a bulldozer to it. [May 2011 p.72]
  2. Apr 4, 2011
    90
    Shift 2: Unleashed takes its rightful place between the "behemoths" of the industry, such as Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport. And this is achieved through the most realistic helmet camera ever, a superb sense of driving, great graphics and the all-mighty Autolog!
  3. Mar 30, 2011
    90
    Shift 2 has finally created a racing sim that gives car geeks like myself numbers to tweak, but puts the real focus where it belongs, on the visceral joy of actually racing the car.
  4. Mar 29, 2011
    90
    Thanks to the quality of its singleplayer and multiplayer, the richness of contents and, most of all, the realism of the whole driving experience, Shift 2: Unleashed proves to be one of the best, if not the best, driving simulator currently on the market. Turn 10 and Polyphony have now found a worthy rival.
  5. Mar 29, 2011
    90
    Shift 2: Unleashed is the most exciting racing game available. What happens on the track, with a little help from several camera settings, is almost a magical performance in which we take part not as a spectator but as an active participant.
  6. Mar 29, 2011
    90
    It really emproves on its predecessor's original formula. The simulation feels more tight and controlled, and at the same time gifted with an incredible first person driving experience. It might not be suited to simulation fanatics, for its sometimes forgiving and inaccurate phisycs, but it is once again an original and thrilling take on Turismo driving. Excellent graphics, Autolog, a long career mode and some multiplayer goodness make it worth all of its price.
  7. Mar 29, 2011
    90
    For those who have passion for cars and especially speed, Shift 2: Unleashed is an obligatory choice.
  8. Unleashed has significantly improved on the original and found an almost perfet blend of arcade racing thrills and technical simulation challenge. [May 2011, p.84]
  9. Mar 29, 2011
    90
    Shift 2 is technically very impressive, but like Hot Pursuit, it's the social features surrounding the game that define it as an experience. If you're a serious fan of the genre, know that Shift 2 does several things better than anything else on the market right now, which makes it an essential purchase.
  10. Mar 29, 2011
    88
    Shift 2: Unleashed builds upon the firm base of the previous game and offers more features and better features. More tracks, vehicles and multiplayer options thanks to the inclusion of the social system Autolog, and also better physics and simulation, which have improved the right way. It is not a perfect simulation experience, but will please most gamers.
  11. May 24, 2011
    87
    Shift 2 Unleashed is a wonderful racing game. Only the agressive AI and the sensitive drifts are a little annoying.
  12. Apr 11, 2011
    87
    Though it still can't be considered as a full-fledged racing sim, it is a great game to play.
  13. Apr 5, 2011
    87
    One of the best racing games this year. The game has an extreme good feeling of speed, it feels realistic and to complete the campaign will take weeks. Need for Speed: SHIFT was a good game, but this is a lot better because Slightly Mad Studios did listen to the feedback of the community.
  14. Apr 1, 2011
    87
    SHIFT 2 Unleashed does some things differently and gives the franchise the extra boost to completely dissociate itself from the arcade experience that Need For Speed is known for.
  15. Apr 18, 2011
    86
    For those looking for something a little bit different to other racers this could be the answer, Shift 2 provides exciting arcade feeling racing that revolves and intense circuit style racing. For those willing to overlook a few minor issues and they are willing to be patient with the handling will find a truly satisfying, albeit terrifying racing game.
  16. Apr 3, 2011
    86
    Embellishing the high-impact racing simulation even further, Shift 2 proves enough appeal for both racing purists and casual fans.
  17. Jun 9, 2011
    85
    Overall Shift 2 is an excellent racing game that really tries to throw you behind the wheel of a professional driver. With great graphics minus a few debris issues and impressive car mechanics, Shift 2 will challenge the best of drivers during the single player campaign and online. Fans of Forza Motorsport 2 and Gran Turismo 5, or just racing games in general, should definitely think about getting Shift 2 to keep you busy.
  18. Apr 15, 2011
    85
    One of the most authentic racing games of all time – unfortunately, not the best of all time. One of the things that holds it back is the sometimes unfair enemy AI.
  19. Apr 14, 2011
    85
    Due to the impressive graphics and the authentic gameplay, Need for Speed: SHIFT 2 Unleashed is an extremely realistic and thrilling racing-simulation. The ultimate challenge for your driving skills.
  20. Apr 6, 2011
    85
    Rare in that it gives you real cars in real locales, but also provides an intensity and excitement that other sim games can't offer. While the steering isn't as polished as it could be, you won't be thinking about that in the tense, white-knuckle, high-speed races that this game offers.
  21. Apr 6, 2011
    85
    Slightly Mad Studios really has found a good formula for keeping a game feel like an arcade racer while mixing in a healthy amount of simulation. It does have its faults, but for the most part, I can look past them.
  22. Mar 30, 2011
    85
    Shift 2 Unleashed is a great racing game, with some nice touches like the helmet cam or the presence of rubber on the tracks. But its frantic gameplay makes the Elite game mode the only one that's truly playable and realistic. Overall, the AI is excellent, and that's nice. Recommended for all the racing fans out there.
  23. Mar 29, 2011
    85
    A violent and immersive racer that recreates the driving experience like no other game on the market. In doing so it builds well on the first Shift's foundations, benefitting from Slightly Mad Studios' more refined touch and the inclusion of Autolog, but its handling is still too loose and its steps forward too small for it to truly beat Gran Turismo and Forza – although it does enough to ensure that it's pulled ever closer.
  24. Mar 29, 2011
    85
    Shift 2 defines the franchise in a way that the first one didn't. Although the cars can feel like they swivel on a center axis, the racing is pretty good, and the overall experience gets a boost from the graphics and the erratic nature of the AI racers. It doesn't blow by the competition, but by improving its lap times, Shift 2 is on its way.
  25. Apr 18, 2011
    84
    Like the original, Shift 2 is a flawed sim but still manages to become greater than the sum of its parts. The wonky handling and annoying load times haven't been completely eliminated, while the new reduced methods of earning XP make getting through career mode more time-consuming than it should be. However, despite its flaws, the overall game is definitely worth a purchase. Not at $60 though - given the flaws and its nickel and diming of players through DLC, I'd say that it's worth paying $40 for if you enjoyed the first. Since there's no demo available, if you didn't play that one, then either download Shift 1's demo or just go ahead and buy it for the $10 or so it goes for now. Then, you'll have an idea of what to expect from this game, and if its problems don't really bother you there, they won't bother you much here.
  26. Mar 30, 2011
    84
    A rewarding experience. Sure, it doesn't have 1,000 cars made up of more polygons than the moon or a vinyl editor Michelangelo would have deemed 'adequate,' but it's still a complete package.
  27. May 11, 2011
    83
    Overall, Shift 2 Unleashed is a fantastic driving game that should satisfy fans on either side of the arcade/simulation spectrum. The game may not be as sheer fun as Hot Pursuit was only six months ago, but could easily occupy a cherished spot on your shelf right next to it.
  28. Apr 22, 2011
    83
    Shift 2: Unleashed is a very good racing game, but it's not quite refined enough to be a great racing game. Shift 2 is fun, but you need to know how to play it in order to appreciate it and get the most out of the experience. When played correctly, this is an intense, borderline terrifying behind-the-wheel experience, and it's worth checking out the game for that aspect alone. Shift 2 may not be ready to play with the top dogs in the genre, but it's still a wild ride from start to finish.
  29. Apr 20, 2011
    83
    Who knew that having the frame of my vehicle obscure my view of the racetrack in a corner or that trading the inside lane for the clarity of my headlights during a nighttime race would bring me an enjoyment I've never found in sim racing games before?
  30. Mar 29, 2011
    83
    Due to its awesome cars, nice graphics, realistic handling and amazing atmosphere (night racing + in-car-view rocks!), Shift2 is a perfect pick for every Gearhead and car enthusiast out there. If you consider yourself a mere "NFS-Fan" though, you're still better off with the "other" NFS: Hot Pursuit.
  31. Mar 29, 2011
    83
    If you found Forza or Gran Turismo to be too austere, polite, and reverent, but you still crave a bit of sim-style racing, you'll surely enjoy Shift 2 Unleashed -- as long as you're willing to deal with the consequences of its lack of manners.
  32. Mar 29, 2011
    81
    Shift 2 is again a solid iteration to continue building a simulation saga for Electronic Arts. Unleashed tries to accomplish as many goals as its first entry but doesn't quite manage to fully achieve them all.
  33. May 18, 2011
    80
    At its best, Shift 2 is one of the most intense and rewarding racing games around. There's some flaws (like the entire drifting part), but the overall package is really solid and fun.
  34. May 8, 2011
    80
    It's a reminder that 'accessible' - along with 'Project', 'Gotham', 'Grid' and 'arcade' - isn't such a dirty word after all. [May 2011, p.92]
  35. The core of the experience is the racing. [May 2011, p.100]
  36. Apr 17, 2011
    80
    An impressive follow-up to a great racing game. Rich in content and with the online system autolog for great competitive value.
  37. Apr 11, 2011
    80
    Just don't expect many things you haven't seen before.
  38. 80
    Shift 2 is an outstanding driving game, if not quite the "real racing" experience its slogan so boldly promises.
  39. 80
    Shift 2 is one of the very few driving games where we'd actually prefer to boot-up its predecessor rather than this new iteration. It's still a thoroughly decent and innovative racer but fans of the original may be justifiably disappointed by the many missed opportunities here.
  40. Mar 30, 2011
    80
    Shift 2: Unleashed is a really good game, but it is not a Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo beater. However, it's still very fun to play.
  41. Mar 30, 2011
    80
    Shift 2: Unleashed might not be the realistic racing game of which the developers speak, but it does offer an intense racing experience we haven't seen before on the consoles. You literally experience the race through the eyes of the driver which offers a lot of exciting moments which will keep you interested from start to finish.
  42. Mar 29, 2011
    80
    If you're not so keen on the more sim-like nature of Forza or GT, it's a great buy. And if you like either or both those games, but want to experience raw and exciting racing, Shift 2 certainly delivers enough frenetic action to make it a great additional purchase. In that respect, it's a winning formula.
  43. Apr 1, 2011
    75
    A good sequel that will serve as an enjoyable entry point to serious racing; however, more experienced racing game players should stick to Shift's more realistic rivals.
  44. Apr 1, 2011
    70
    Quotation forthcoming.
  45. Apr 1, 2011
    70
    Shift 2: Unleashed delivers intensive racing for real gear-heads, with a daunting difficulty level and impressive physics. The Autolog function is excellent, but the experience is marred somewhat by the cumbersome controls, far too agressive opponents and a too hard easy mode for newcomers.
  46. Mar 31, 2011
    70
    Shift 2: Unleashed offers quality racing with nice simulations to some degree, but hasn't been improved since the original as much as it should have been.
  47. Apr 4, 2011
    69
    Lots of great stuff but this raucous attempt at racing needs some settling and organization.
  48. Apr 21, 2011
    66
    Shift 2 has a bevy of neat ideas but none of them are executed to a degree that makes them worthwhile. [Issue#204, p.82]
  49. Apr 10, 2011
    66
    A solid racer ruined - on PS3 - by lag. Wait and hope it's patched. [May 2011, p.82]
  50. Apr 26, 2011
    60
    I have a feeling that I would love Shift 2 as I loved Gran Turismo 5 if it was a little more welcoming to series newbies. The high learning curve and stiff controls, however, are anything but welcoming, and it hurts the overall experience.
  51. Mar 31, 2011
    60
    Shift 2 is full of wonders: a unique helmet camera view, immensely immersive, its full of races and cars to customize, it's extensive, visually splendid, and blessed with quite good physics... But sadly, all those pros are spoiled by really crippling shortcomings, preventing it to overcome the two references that are GT and Forza. An annoying AI that continually hits you for no reason, and this even more enraging latency in the steering dynamics. With those two defects corrected, EA would have delivered something truly outstanding.
  52. Mar 31, 2011
    60
    There's certainly nothing game-breakingly bad about Shift 2, and generally it is a polished, high quality, nice looking product. But it does fail to provide a more engaging alternative to the admittedly quite clinical driving experiences offered by the Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo series. Underneath its fancy aesthetic effects Shift 2 is also rather on the dry side, with no especially compelling reason to pick it up if you already have one of the aforementioned console racing giants in your collection.
User Score
6.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 83 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 33
  2. Negative: 14 out of 33
  1. Apr 2, 2011
    3
    1st off, im 18 and own forza3 and gran-turismo5, and shift 2. i registered to this review site just for this game. i just want to say, dont let them lie to you, this is no driving simulator. i pride myself on driving skill, and have driven fast for real (in one of the actual cars i used in game too XD) and this is more of a "boat" simulator. the handling is all wrong, and youl find yourself struggling to simply drive in a straight line at times. drifting is robbed too of course. its the same arcade style its always been. 2nd. tuning upgrades- tuning is extremely unrealistic, too. the values you use to tune dont represent anything in real life (i.e. springs:- 1- 2 - or 3, dampening: - 1 2 3 4 ect.) and upgrades, are well, kinda the same as NFS has always done.. but no individual tire width or things like that. so its not realistic, nearly in anyway.. 3rd. painting a car with vinyls like in forza is imposable. it took me an hour to do simple stripes for a charger, and the stripes arnt perfectly even at that. but enough bad, i dont want to ramble. some good, 1st. its pretty, and night driving, and the helmet cam are great, i dare say, perfect?. 2nd. NOS! i love that incorporated into it, i wish forza had it, its an amazing feature. and it doesnt replenish magically during a race either. i like that alot. (forza you paying attention? get NOS!) and thats about all worth mentioning to mind. i give it a 3 out of 10, and i really dont recommend buying it. i wish i hadn't. EA 'hyped' it up soo much, and its (im not exaggerating) mostly, a big LIE. im finding that out about alot of new games. rent them first, proceed carefully. Full Review »
  2. Mar 29, 2011
    10
    This is why i'm sick of these aggregate sites. First and foremost, is the numerical score associated with a game. Then there is the reason behind the score. Why dock a point from Shift 2's score because it's not GT5 or Forza? Because it's violent and nerveracking, and not what real racing enthusiasts will enjoy. Really? I'm a racing fan and think this game is the best mix of sim and arcade racing EVER! It takes all the boring **** from Forza and GT5 and throws it away. Then they add a ferocity and an edge, let's not forget the best **** view in a racing game, and one that will be copied by everybody from here on out. Things thatve never been done before, BUT! gotta knock it! Gotta control the situation and make buyers balk. This game may not look like GT5 and Forza, but it's close. It's got 3rd party graphics. But, Gameplay! EWWW weeeee! Most fun i've ever had with a racing game. Customization, paint, drifting, etc....It's all here, oh yeah, awsome crashes, nighttime races on any track. You will see why graphical compromises we're made. Just a real fun, exhilerating experience. Go racers GO!!!!! Full Review »
  3. Apr 8, 2011
    6
    After a few laps you start blaming yourself for not doing as good as you did with the 1st Shift game... and then you start realizing that it's the game.. It's very touchy...and unpredictable. The physics are broken. And the Aggressive A.I.!! OMFG THE AGGRESSIVE A.I. If the community doesn't complain enough to patch this game, it'll be unplayable...worse than the first one was before the patches. What a let down. I really enjoyed the first one after they fixed it. I should explain why the AI is so bad.. You could be minding your own business, NOT being aggressive at all.. going about 20mph around an corner... and bam!!! You're car literally flips over 3 times by an AI controlled car behind you out of nowhere.. during the final lap of the race... You go from 1st place to LAST place and the race is over.. if that's your idea of fun, then play this game. Full Review »