Shift 2 Unleashed, which touts Autolog implementation and a new immersive helmet cam designed to make what was one of the most lifelike racers even more, well, lifelike. At a San Francisco hotel earlier this week, I was given full access to the game's Career mode, a series of progressively difficult venues that combine traditional races with more specialized events -- muscle car races, retro events, and elimination and drift challenges are sprinkled throughout.
Shift 2 Unleashed takes its predecessors shoes, shines 'em up and tries to pass them off as an entirely new pair. Yes, this is an evolution of the ideals present in Need for Speed: Shift, but it's obvious that Slightly Mad Studios was careful not to mix things up too much. Producer Jesse Abney describes it as "a refinement of the things we've done the year before," thus the game's biggest new features are Autolog implementation, deeper car customization, a new helmet camera system and the addition of nighttime driving.
Night driving isn't going to redefine the sport, surely, but in Shift 2 Unleashed, it poses its own unique set of challenges. Since the damage models are more dynamic this time around, you can actually break your headlights and be stuck racing in pitch blackness -- believe it, because it happened to me when I was drafting too close to a racer who slammed on their brakes when I was flying through a track in Dubai. An intense, and unexpected, wave of panic and confusion ensued. "So this is nighttime driving?" I thought to myself. Abney also told me that cars can break axels and even damage engines to the point where a race cannot be finished, which wasn't possible in the first game.