This game is a little bit like marmite you either love it or hate it.
This game was build to use helmet/behind the wheel camera. This is the way you can get the most out of it. otherwise it losses 70% of its value. It may be difficult to get use to in the beginning but it is totally worth it, I learned so can you. IMO if you are going to use any other camera do not bother. Get yourself Hot Pursuit, Burnout or Forza and enjoy behind the car view.
OK, so how is the game. I personally love this game. I loved the first one despite some minor flaws. The sequel is much improved upon the first Shift. The first thing you will notice is a nicer soundtrack while you in the menu :) no more teeth grinding and brain drilling reparative roars. Although, it is still cool and aggressive. Once you on the track, it is all about climbing your way up. It is much more difficult now, opponents are still aggressive, and it is easier to get out of track if you hit other car. The graphics. Wow. One word: impressive. Much much better than the first Shift, it is different type of graphics compared to i.e. Forza where it is all nice an shiny. Here it is dirty (tracks are dirty, your windshield is covered in dirt catching rubber or flies whatever it is). The sound. Oh god the sounds. This is another forte of this game. You can feel the roar of the car down your spine. It is top notch. The best sound of cars I have heard in racing games (and I played most of them). Full stop. There is no music during the race but you do not want it and it is in line with the style of this game. It is fast, it is serious and it is aggressive. It is not NFS Hot Pursuit type of game where you drift at 200MPH. Here you need precision and you need to focus (ideally with lights off and your headphones on) it is almost like you are sitting in a car. The view is not static. You move, react to your actions, this is how it supposed to be. Do not be put off by the steering! A lot of people seem to be put of by it but please give it a chance (change it if needed so it is less sensitive) because once you learn it, it will reward you. This is one of these games where the learning curve is present. It is not easy but it is thrilling, full of adrenaline, speed and dirt.
Every car feels and looks different (I mean it), I actually want to drive different cars because I am curious how they drive and look. In car view is simply the best. The level of detail is unmatched. It all goes down to intentions of producers, they focus on the driver, not cars (Forza) but the thrilling experience that the driver has when trading his paint with other cars and driving 150MPH. You can feel the speed here. There is a choice of cars as well, do not get me wrong. But they are tools not shiny nice objects to look at as in Forza. I am sorry if I brought up Forza too many times, comparison was quite useful I think for the purpose of this review. Both games are great in their own ways.
Enjoy Shift 2.