Author — Hilary Goldstein
When I get behind the wheel at night in most racing games, it feels like little more than mood lighting. There's something cool about cars trading paint under the bright lights, but other than slightly lessening visibility, nighttime scenes don't offer much. Except in Shift 2 Unleashed, where driving in the dark becomes a unique challenge.
Every track in Shift 2 can be played at night, but some of the tracks are out in the middle of nowhere, with very little lighting. The track is pitch black, except for what's illuminated by your headlights.
Because there's so little lighting, your competitors become your allies. They can light the way with their headlights to give a clearer view of the road ahead. I found this interesting strategy of purposefully staying a few cars back so I could watch the taillights of the AI drivers and read the course by their movements. I've never experienced something like this in a racing game before and it's enough to make Shift 2 noteworthy.
I'm conditioned on the rules of the virtual road. In racing games, bumping other cars isn't just a natural occurrence, it's a way to sometimes save yourself when misjudging a turn. Cut inside another driver, turn and if you go wide, you nudge them and avoid going off the track and really killing your speed. That tactic totally screwed me in Shift 2.
It's not usually easy to make it through a long, tough race with aggressive AI and come away with both headlights intact in almost any racing game. When I lost my headlights in a night race in Shift 2, I doubled the difficulty. It's hard enough to see the track with my headlights on. Once I lost those, I couldn't see the turns ahead. My former strategy of following other cars went from "cool idea" to "necessity." Without the other drivers, I'd easily miss a turn, hit a median, even get lost.
Combine this with the new helmet camera —— which brilliantly replicates a driver's head movements —— and night racing becomes almost tangible. Forget trying to win the race, just trying to survive without headlights was tense enough.
I honestly don't know if the rest of Shift 2 can equal the night track experience, but if it does, we might not be snickering at EA's boast of taking down Forza and Gran Turismo. What I can promise is that when the sun goes down in Shift 2, it's not just a cheap visual stunt. The dark has a significant impact on gameplay. Other racing game developers should take notice —— this is how you own the night.
|Страница создана: S1k0man, 19 января 2011 г. 22:44|
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