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Need for Speed: Shift preview (photos)

CNET Car Tech had an opportunity to play a preview build of Need for Speed: Shift.

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Antuan Goodwin
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1 of 6 EA Games/Slightly Mad Studios

Increased realism

EA is essentially splitting the Need for Speed franchise into three new directions. Nitro is the more casual, arcade experience, World Online is an online multiplayer experience, and Shift is the most realistic of the three. We had an opportunity to play Shift.
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2 of 6 EA Games/Slightly Mad Studios

Fully-modeled interior

What we really like is the fully modeled interiors of the vehicles with functional gauges. The detail is so high, and the vehicle's gauges can be used in place of the HUD.

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3 of 6 EA Games/Slightly Mad Studios

Any point replay

One of the cool things we saw was the capability to get an instant replay from any point in the game without exiting the race.

We also liked the dynamic racing line that adjusted its braking and acceleration points based on the current speed of the vehicle.

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4 of 6 EA Games/Slightly Mad Studios

Over 50 vehicles

Need for Speed: Shift is expected to feature more than 50 full-customizable licensed vehicles. We were able to test five race-prepped vehicles, including the Mustang Cobra, the Chevrolet Corvette, the Audi RS4, Porsche's 911 GT3, and the Pagani Zonda.
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5 of 6 EA Games/Slightly Mad Studios

Damage modeling

All vehicles feature realistic damage that has an effect on the vehicle's performance. For example, if you crash head-on into a wall, the hood may be damaged causing it to flip up and block your view, or being T-boned could affect your vehicle's handling.
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6 of 6 EA Games/Slightly Mad Studios

Not a hard-core racing sim

Developers Slightly Mad Studios insist that, while NFS: Shift is more realistic than previous games in the franchise, it is not a hard-core sim like the Gran Turismo or Forza series. Their aim was to make the game more approachable to the casual gamer.

I think there will be room on my shelf for all three games when Need for Speed: Shift hits PS3, Xbox 360, and PC in Fall '09.

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