SHIFT 2 UnleashedReviewed-By:
3 out of 5 BriquettesPresentation-Comments:
Intro videos to the opening of each racing discipline builds excitement but they are forced upon the player as there is no way to skip them. Presentations of the races feel dated and somewhat ambiguous as you have no idea of the opponents. Menu system is adequate but the same background (after looking at FM3's dynamic background) gets old fast. The night time scenery engages you initially but becomes depressing over time. Racing girls, photographers, fireworks, etc. at the race track tries to bring excitement of pre-race fanfare but again, it becomes repetitive and gets in the way of racing. Car models are fantastic as each car is fully modeled in 3D in & out + various stages of exterior and interior modifications. Track modelling is immaculate but there are excessive trackside objects just like in Shift 1.
The sheer number of real life tracks makes S2U extremely inviting to hardcore race simulation enthusiasts. Night time racing makes a debut and it is daunting at first, especially when racing on on unfamiliar track. Flickering interior lighted by the cars behind you maintains the tension and brings back the early Resident Evil feel. The helmet cam, while being novel and immersive, is rather annoying. It limits the players visuals significantly in addition to looking at the apex as you approach the turn. Often, I ended up turning the car in opposite direction (away from the corner) instead of braking in a straight line. This is very annoying since the helmet cam is counter intuitive and NOT controlled by the player. It only works when you know the track and fully anticipating the apex looking to engage.Gameplay-Rating:
4 1/2 out of 5 BriquettesGameplay-Comments:
All comments from here are based on the hardest difficulty, Elite handling, no aids, manual gear, no music, and using Fanatec GT2. The car physics is awesome. Do not get deterred by the poor controls in the beginning. Many players equate control issue = car handling = car physics. They are not the same. S2U requires each player to customize the control method and settings BEFORE the excellence of car physics is revealed before the player. Time and many laps of acclimatization is compulsory in order to reveal the jade within the rock. Number of cars are not staggering but 100+ cars is still good considering that all of them are iconic race worthy cars. All the typical upgrade options are available along with WORKS upgrade for ALL of the purchasable cars. The "boss" cars that must be con cannot be purchased and they are already fully race modified. These cars, typically NFS sponsored cars are powerful, enjoyable to drive, as well as looking great on the track.
The AI has greatly improved from NFS. AI does NOT follow a designated line but tries little too hard to defend its position when it is in front of you. The AI does steer away from you when you are close but not smart enough to maintain the distance in mid corner and too often pushes its nose against the player's quarter panel, effective preventing the player from making the turn. The AI is not competitively fast either. Just like in FM3 & GT5, AI brakes in places where it is not need. However, they do make human-like mistakes which is very good to see. The types of racing available is good to break up the monotony but the short number of laps for the races diminishes the authentic race feel. Typical races are 2~5 laps long. Even the GT3 champion series races were about 5 laps average. Endurance races are less than 1 hour. I am the kind of player who enjoys long stints therefore it was rather disappointing to finish the entire GT3 championship in an hour. Each individual race should take an hour IMO and each endurance race should be 200 miles minimum. All of the different types of races, however are not tied together and it feels that you are just jumping from a discipline to a discipline. S2U does not give the player the impression that he/she is working his/her way from the bottom to the ultimate goal of racing in GT3/GT1.
AI competition is smart and S2U matches the performance of the player's car. This means that you cannot simply upgrade your car in the hopes of outracing the field. This is a great feature to an extent. If you WORKS upgrade the car, you can walk away from the competition anyways. However, there is no knowing this before the race so once the race is in session (especially in a series race), there is no way (that I know of) of making adjustments to the car's upgrades. The crash & the damage is exceptionally good. The parts fly off and the wheels become detached, rendering the car completely undriveable. Yes, you can damage the car to the point where it is no longer driveable. If you lose just 1 wheel, you can still nurse the car on the track but since there is no pit you have to limp around the track. Only way out is the Quit or Restart. The telemetry screen shows good information similar to FM3 (I would say almost identical). However this option is not available during replays. S2U has very interesting track choices. Oscherschleben, Monza, Brno, Brands Hatch, Hockenheim, Enna Pergusa, Dijoin-Prenois, Dubai, etc. shows SMS's former roots when they worked on GTR2 & GT Legends. The tracks reflect the FIA GT3/GT1 pedgree well and these tracks are rather unique to the console racing world. The DLC announced for 04/26/11 will include true legendary tracks: the dangerous high speed 1955 Rouen les Essarts, now no longer raceable in real life; 1958 Monza with banked ovals which will never be brought back to the former glory days; 1982 Hockenheim, castrated forever by the new safety rules and commercialism; 1972(?) Silverstone, etc. SMS & S2U is bringing back the "Golden Racing Years" of 1960s and 70s. This is virtual racing enthusiasts dream come true. Almost . . . Since my favourite sim racing is GPL, only thing missing from S2U is Ferrari 312B . . . which coincidentally was shown in SMS's former project called "Ferrari Project" when they were known as "Blimey". Will my dream come true? Only time will tell when they get the Ferrari License.Audio-Rating:
4 1/2 out of 5 BriquettesAudio-Comments:
Sounds of the cars are the best in S2U. The transmission sounds are exaggerated a bit but other noises really make you feel that you are in a racing car. The rattling and the drumming "bing, bang" of the marbles against the car's sheet metal shows that SMS wanted the raw sound of a race car in an actual race to come through. The crash noises are particularly nasty (in a good way); it is not something to be enjoyed so you learn very quickly to avoid it.Graphics-Rating:
3 1/2 out of 5 BriquettesGraphics-Comments:
When I first sat in the Nissan GT-R on Suzuka track, I was appalled by the infamous jaggies and low resolution of the track. It looked horrible, especially so because the car was sitting still. When the car is moving, the environment does look better but comes no where close to the PC shots and videos shown on the web. Still, the replays look fantastic in terms of natural broadcast "feel" and the cars at all times look like they are ON the track (unlike FM3 where you are unsure whether the car is actually on track or floating above it). The car shadows are great in conveying the illusion that the cars are sliding on the track.Longevity-Rating:
4 out of 5 BriquettesLongevity-Comments:
There are a lot of off line races to complete in S2U but it is typical fanfare. Choose the car to race, participate in events, win awards & levels, then move on. After playing all GT/FM series, this type of progression is getting old. Not just for S2U, but for all titles in this genre. This is 12 years old formula since GT1 and somebody needs to be creative here. The Legends DLC will include racing legends of yester years in cars and tracks. My long time play will involve these very cars and tracks. There are so many real life tracks in S2U that it will give me months and months of hot lapping alone. I would be happy with just a handful of the tracks and cars from S2U. That's just how good S2U is to me. I hope I can meet some good competitors on line for tight endurance racing.Overall-Rating: 4 out of 5 Briquettes
I LOVE S2U!