Need for Speed: Shift

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Need for Speed: Shift
Need for Speed Shift.jpg
Cover art with a BMW M3 E92 GT2
Developer(s)Slightly Mad Studios
EA Bright Light (PSP)
Publisher(s)Electronic Arts
Director(s)Andy Garton
Producer(s)Suzy Wallace
Designer(s)Andy Tudor
Programmer(s)Ged Keaveney
Composer(s)Stephen Baysted
Mick Gordon
Mark Morgan
SeriesNeed for Speed
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
PlayStation Portable
Windows Mobile
  • NA: September 15, 2009[2]
  • EU: September 18, 2009[1]
  • AU: September 24, 2009[3]
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Need for Speed: Shift is the thirteenth installment of the racing video game franchise Need for Speed. It was developed by Slightly Mad Studios in conjunction with EA Bright Light and published by Electronic Arts for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Portable, Android, iOS, Symbian, Windows Mobile, MeeGo and J2ME in 2009.

Shift's gameplay focuses on simulation, rather than the arcade racing of previous titles. Shift was followed by a sequel, Shift 2: Unleashed, in 2011.[4]

On May 31, 2021, EA announced that the game would no longer be available for purchase in any online stores.[5]


In-game screenshot

Aimed at a hardcore gamer-style audience, Shift reverts to the touring-car simulation style of its 2007 predecessor, Need for Speed: ProStreet. Although the gameplay of these two titles are similar, Shift recreates car handling much more realistically than its predecessor, and does not contain a story. Upon starting the career mode, the player performs two laps around the Brands Hatch racecourse to determine his or her skill. Once completed, the player is welcomed to the 'NFS Live World Series', and must earn stars in races to earn money, and unlock new races and tiers.

G-force plays an important role in the game, as it affects both the player and the AI. The in-car view also returns, making its first appearance in a Need for Speed game since Porsche Unleashed. The in-car view is highly detailed, and it is possible to see the driver changing gears and moving his head to get a better view of the mirror. The crashes affect the player's visuals. While crashing, there is a temporary blur on screen. The sound aspect have detailed car crash sound, as well as a sharp gasp of breath from the driver before a collision.[6]

There are 60+ cars which are divided into 4 tiers. Tier 1 refers to entry-level sports and luxury cars like the Audi TT and Infiniti G35, tier 2 refers to mid-level performance cars like the BMW M3, tier 3 refers to supercars like the Lamborghini Gallardo and tier 4 refers to hypercars like the Bugatti Veyron, or Pagani Zonda R. The car customization options include cosmetics as well as performance mods and is more in depth than previous titles, affecting aspects such as alignment, aerodynamics, tires, brakes, differential, and gears.[7] Nitrous is also an option for tuning, but different from previous Need for Speed titles as it is simulated more realistically.[7] There are body kits which affect the aerodynamics and weight reduction. There are visual customization options like rims, vinyls and paints.

There are 19 tracks in total including real world circuits such as Brands Hatch, Nurburgring Nordschleife, Road America, Spa, Silverstone, Willow Springs, Donington Park, Autopolis and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.[8]

The PlayStation Portable of the game offers local, ad hoc multiplayer, with no online multiplayer support.

Development and release[edit]

Promotion at IgroMir 2009

The game spent two years in development.[6] The game was announced as part of a three-game announcement that included Need for Speed: Nitro and Need for Speed: World.[6]

The soundtrack of Shift remains similar to that of Need for Speed: ProStreet, featuring a scored soundtrack rather than a general track list[9] as is seen in previous titles such as Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and Need for Speed: Carbon.[10]

In addition to the standard edition, a "Special Edition" of the game has been released exclusive to Europe. The Special Edition features numerous bonuses over the standard edition, including exclusive packaging, a poster of the game, and an unlockable car and race which are redeemable online.[11] Shift was released as a bundle with the PlayStation 3 Slim 250GB to promote the game in Europe.[3]

Patches and downloadable content[edit]

EA promised that patches would be released with new features in addition to bug fixes. Patch 1.01 added LAN (Local Area Network) play and mouse support, providing full menu navigation to the game, to the PC version. Patch 1.02 added 5 cars (Toyota Supra Mk IV, 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T, 1969 Dodge Charger R/T, 1967 Corvette and 1967 Shelby GT-500) and a new online "Team Racing" game mode, where a Blue team of racers runs against a Red Team. In addition, the 1.02 patch fixed several performance issues (especially with ATI video cards), improved gameplay, and increased the maximum number of players online from 8 to 12.[12]

On February 16, 2010, EA released Ferrari DLC pack for Xbox 360 that contains 10 Ferraris, also extends the Shift's career mode with 46 new Ferrari specific challenges designed for the Ferrari cars to participate in including hot laps, eliminators, endurance races and a world tour. Completing the perfect Ferrari package are an additional 125 gamerpoints as a reward for undertaking various exciting challenges. Available on Xbox 360 for 800 Microsoft Points[13] the Ferraris available include the 575 Superamerica, F430 Scuderia Spider 16M, California, 599 GTB Fiorano, F430 Spider, 430 Scuderia, F430 GTC, F430 Challenge, F50 GT & Ferrari FXX. An Exotic Racing Pack was also released for PS3 and Xbox 360 which features cars like the McLaren MP4-12C, the BMW M1, the Gumpert Apollo, the Acura NSX, the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, the Maserati GranTurismo S and the Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss.


Need for Speed: Shift was met with positive reviews. Aggregating review website Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 84/100,[15] the Xbox 360 version 83/100,[17] the PC version 83/100,[14] and the PlayStation Portable version 69/100.[16]

IGN awarded it 9 out of 10 citing among other things an incredible driving experience and excellent sound effects, IGN also gave it an Editors' Choice award.[21] Official Xbox Magazine awarded Shift with 9/10 saying that it has an outstanding driver's view; a deep, addictive career mode with much variety and many options; sharp multiplayer racing counts toward single-player career. Official Xbox Magazine has also nominated it for editors choice award.[22] Eurogamer gave it a 7/10, saying, "If the skittish handling and overbearing, messy advancement can be reined in, Need for Speed could have a future in its newly serious and somewhat crowded surroundings. But with the infinitely more comprehensive Forza Motorsport 3 and Gran Turismo 5 looming in the very near distance, it's hard to see the point in this second-stringer this time around, for console players at least. And given Need for Speed's recent, confused history, you shouldn't count on it wearing the same face next year."[20]

Need for Speed: Shift sold 309,000 units in the United States in September 2009.[26]


  1. ^ "Need for speed: shift release dates @". Archived from the original on February 23, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Need For Speed: shift Product details @". Archived from the original on August 2, 2010. Retrieved March 29, 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Need for Speed Shift - Release Dates".
  4. ^ Brendan Sinclair (August 3, 2010). "Crysis 2 delayed, Need for Speed Shift 2 announced". GameSpot. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
  5. ^ Max_Joker (May 31, 2021). "Sun is setting on some older NFS titles - it's not you, it's us". r/needforspeed. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "Luke Anderson's review of NFS: Shift @". GameSpot.
  7. ^ a b "NFS: Shift Will Feature Nitro/Drift Events News". Total Video Games. Archived from the original on April 19, 2009.
  8. ^ "Car & Track list from EA". Electronic Arts. Archived from the original on December 7, 2010.
  9. ^ "NFS: Shift's first look review @".
  10. ^ "NFS: Shift's soundtrack @". GameSpot.
  11. ^ "Need for Speed: Shift Special Edition @".
  12. ^ "NFS official Website Patches & Downloads Page".
  13. ^ "Need for Speed: Shift Ferrari DLC Trailer - Xbox". February 16, 2010. Archived from the original on March 20, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Need for Speed: Shift for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  15. ^ a b "Need for Speed: Shift for PlayStation 3 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  16. ^ a b "Need for Speed: Shift for PSP Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  17. ^ a b "Need for Speed: Shift for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  18. ^ "Need for Speed Shift for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  19. ^ "Need for Speed: Shift for iPad for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  20. ^ a b "Need for Speed: Shift Review". Eurogamer.
  21. ^ a b "Need for Speed: Shift Review". IGN.
  22. ^ a b "Need for Speed: Shift Review". Official Xbox Magazine.
  23. ^ Play magazine review, issue 184, Imagine Publishing
  24. ^ Hodapp, Eli (December 14, 2009). "'Need For Speed: Shift' In Depth Hands-On Preview with Video". TouchArcade. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  25. ^ "X-Play: Need For Speed Shift Review". Retrieved April 30, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ Thorsen, Tor (October 21, 2009). "Need for Speed series sells 100M, Shift moves 309K". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on March 26, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2015.

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