After anticipating Shift 2's arrival, since EA confirmed it's production, unfortunately it's nowhere near the game I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, the graphics are above standard, however, in my opinion, that's the only improvement from Need For Speed's first installment..
I'll begin with the Helmet Cam. Before Shift 2 was released, there was a lot of hype and drama about the new "Helmet Cam". Sounds great? Don't get too excited, as it's a bitter dissapointment. The camera angle itself is rather impressive, but the persistant problem is when the entire camera directs itself to the rapidly approaching corner BEFORE you're actually within turning point. Now, when you're travelling around 150 MPH, approaching a corner, it's rather annoying when you're view is then restricted by looking left/right - you tend to brake later than you would and end up hitting a tire wall.
Dirty tracks seem to be more and more common in Shift 2. Just about every corner has an abundance of gravel and tar, which makes this horrible knocking and grinding sound once it's been driven over. In all fairness, we can relate that to real-life to an extent, that once the track has been in use for a few laps, these materials can build-up around the bends, however, prior to a serious race beginning, every race track is cleaned and wiped of any filth to prevent accidents. I've not noticed any performance or grip issues after driving over the dirt, but who's to say it doesn't directly effect handling?
Car Handling in Shift 2 is a joke. It's as if the steering wheel isn't attached to the car whatsoever. Any adjustments that you do make in the "Car Tuning" menu, don't actually seem to make any noticable difference.
Works Conversion on every car! Fantastic?! Well, possibly. Considering you can (on some cars) do an "engine swap" modification, which in some cases give you better performance ratings than going for the Works Conversion. Hardly seems worth it eh? Spend all that money to make the interior of your car look like a builders workstation to save weight, and the engine's not as tuned as it could be.
I haven't fully completed the career mode, however, I have noticed that it's not as long as Shift 1. It does seem slightly more involving than it's predecessor, but lacks creativity.
I don't see Shift 2 having as much replayability as Shift 1, as I occasionally still complete races for better lap times on Shift 1. I don't see me doing the same thing with Shift 2. It's a decent racing simulator, but if you've not currently played the first Shift, try that first before purchasing this.