My first impression of shift was that it was trying to be another forza but didn't quite have the same feel. However, the more I've played it the more I start to like it.
The graphics are excellent with realistic tracks and crowd members and the sound is outstanding - particularly in 5.1, as it is on most EA games these days.
The gameplay is very fast, particularly when you move up in to the 2nd and 3rd phase which makes it very exhilerating to play. The choice of cars isn't enormous and tuning is basic but they are ample for what this game is trying to deliver.
The feel of the car is difficult to master and I made the changes suggested by another poster on here and it did improve things drastically, I also only play on the 'bonnet' view which makes things very realistic.
I like this game and I think it's worth getting in to for the fast and furious kicks it gives you.