Need For Speed: Shift brought fair amount of action to track racing that encompassed realism and good physics to create a relatively decent title. Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed however feels exactly like Need For Speed: Shift, but with more problems in controls, and finally the same linear action we were hoping Slightly Mad Studios would reinvent into something similar to the structure of the Most Wanted and Underground series titles. Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed has undoubtedly and very morosely created a title that takes basic simulation, adds cars, but gives players no real reason to play it other than a change of name. Decisively, Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed is the worst game of the Need For Speed franchise thus far and remains unrivaled in flawed execution, under delivery, and moreover a racing title that is sub-par at best.
The game begins as all typical racing games do: you are a new and upcoming racer who had a car purchased under his name for a sponsorship race and ambitions with hopes to reach the top. The gameplay mechanics of Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed follows closely with Need For Speed: Shift in terms of the track racing, which is great in the simulation sense but still remains to be a racing title which is not a simulation in the original sense due to certain features such as gaining points for knocking other players off the track. As players progress through the extremely linear career mode, they essentially choose and pick races to play to progress and get newer cars ranging from Bugatti Veyron to Ferrari. The linear mode is acceptable on the conditions that Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed itself aims for legal track racing and heavy simulation, but to make a game that focuses on shifting properties and such a rampant concept then to smack it in the middle of closed borders feels rather foolish and full of confusion on part of Electronic Arts.
The rest of Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed continues to amount points and give update, all of which can also be attributed to the customization offerings. These offerings, however, are definitely limited. Customization involves changing basics such as tire/part alignment, brakes, top speed alterations, differentials, gears, tires, and vinyls. The customization options are there, but in reality the game’s structure and mission outline really has no purpose. Career mode is very generic and feels just like a stringed series of events that players choose to do. Customization makes no real purpose in the gaming adventure other than the only other mode it offers: multiplayer. Multiplayer follows the same track-field racing as the single-player, but the track-field racing seems predated in the concept of the title, having a façade of a simulation racing design. The gameplay with Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed eerily seems disproportionate, and it is truly a shame that this sequel has nothing more to offer than Need For Speed: Shift 1.5.
Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed had a lot of potential to change while keeping the game design in terms of the shift concept into a newer less linear design that actually has a purpose. While Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed provides racing to some level, it slows down more often than not due to a lack of gameplay structure, a terrible linear progression with no sense, and finally a vacuous multiplayer offering. Instead, Need For Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed just rehashes Need For Speed: Shift and adds a ‘2’ to the title with no real basis for the name of a sequel that is worth anything.