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You Have Died of Dysentery

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Review: Need for Speed Shift 2 Unleashed

Need for Speed Shift 2 Unleashed
[Electronic Arts]

I was genuinely excited to play this game as I have not played a racing game for any extended period of time since Daytona USA, circa 1993. I keep hearing about the excitingly realistic games such as Need for Speed, Forza, and Project Gotham Racing. With the recent developments in the internal combustion engine, this would be sure to be a rollicking good time. Hardcore battles between Veyrons, Shelby Mustangs, M3s, and R8s. The visceral grunt of steel hurting to unsafe speeds, like sperm through blacktopped fallopian tubes. 

I put Need for Speed Shift 2 Unleashed (hereafter referred to as: NFS) into my jet black Xbox360, sat back and popped open a vanilla Coke Zero. 

Upon starting the game, some overweight man tried to explain to me how to use a driving simulator video game. I mashed buttons. I mashed more buttons. I declared my allegiance to Cthuhlu, Satan, and Allah; anything to skip the goddamn opening talk. I sat dumbfounded, as I stared at some idiot and his shit-eating grin topped with a PBR-styled goatee. 

I cannot skip ahead. This can't be right. Are my batteries dead? No game forces you to sit through inane speech, explaining what someone with even a rudimentary knowledge of a Super Off Road machine should know: How to play a fucking video game about driving cars fast in a circle. This has to be a mistake. But no, you cannot skip anything. Ever. It's like being in 3rd grade again – the inane droning goes on forever.

And the load times: Once you actually play a level, you have enough time to masturbate to furries while the little circles dance around, taunting you. This is 2011, on an Xbox360, and I have to sit through load times not found on any system since Jaguar 32X. 

After the first 2 training races, I am so frustrated with this overweight pig fucker...I mean, racing legend talking to me that I turn the game off. I put on my NES and instead play Monster Party. Monster Party is best known for 2 items of interest:

1. It is the only game I know of where an end boss apologizes for already being dead, surrounded by flies.

2. One of the cookie cutter bad guys in the game is a dancing pair of legs sticking out of the ground.

Monster Party is a fun game...but I vowed to give NFS an honest try. I would do it for the wonderful people at KingSize USA (who asked me to say that) and for the interest of producing a serious video game review for the wonderful people at Kotori. 

I would race, and I would win.

A quick glance online gives reviews for dozens of amazing performance vehicles, from Camaros to Supras to Reventons, that you can hoon around the track in exotic locations. Unfortunately, this game wants to be realistic and, in doing so, it rapes you in the face. When you trod through your first practice races, you are given enough money to buy your very own choice of several craptacular, nay, affordable hot hatches. I chose the European Ford Focus ST over the SEAT because, well, I forgot Spain was even a country and highly doubt they make any good autos. So, those are my choices, front-wheel drive hatchbacks. And I start racing...

I hit every goddamn wall on the track. I spin out. I crash a dozen times. Let it be known: I fucking suck at this game. I am awful. The only thing I am worse at than this game is fucking, but at least that's over in 30 seconds. This goes on and on. With each consecutive track I get better because I have nowhere to go but up. 

Then a strange thing happens: this game starts to get fun. But even with turbos and body kits and NOS!!!!!!! and two dozen other upgrades a simple fact remains: I am driving a damned front-wheel drive Ford Focus. The Ford Focus is a wonderful car if you like those sorts of things. I do not. I hate front-wheel drive. 

Just the other day I drove a drunk girl's Jetta. It made my penis jump up inside of me. I think this is called testicular torsion and is extremely painful. Front-wheel drive is, to those who care of such things, the worst idea in the history of things. Rear- or all-wheel drive are superior in all ways. But I was in luck! I could now buy a BMW 135i or an AWD Audi! Wait, no I couldn't. I was still awful at this game. So very awful. I could only afford enough to add some brakes to my bright-orange shame.

At this point, I was tired of this game. The graphics are wonderful. The driving dynamics are fluid and yet crisp. Sure, I question why my Ford doesn't have over-steer and seems to handle a little too much like a rear-wheel drive vehicle, or why the other front-wheel drive vehicles have unnecessary rear wings in the game, but it's still a quality racing game. It should be, as NFS has had dozens of quality racing games. But, no, I suck. So I try a different racing game. 

After completing an epic track in Excite Bike, I race. The track is mostly giant hills and those really long ramp things shaped like an F. I suck at Excite Bike. My tiny 8-bit rider falls off, overheats, crashes. 

Mario Kart, now here is a game I don't fail at. In that game, all your base are belong to me. (On an interesting side note, that previous sentence did not come up as wrong in Word.) I rape Rainbow Road's mom. As King Boo, I am destroying opponents left and right, eating garden salsa chips and punching the proverbial cunt of Daisy and Peach. Fuck yes, my Kung Fu is the best!

At any rate, I highly recommend NFS if you don't blow at racing games or don't mind having to start with a front-wheel drive car. If I were to redo this game, I would have an option to start with used cars. That way you can get, say, a Mustang GT or Firebird Trans Am used, instead of a fancy new Golf. Any a lot more of those coffee can mufflers, sideways hats, and Metal Mulisha decals, Brah!

*Graphics are: better than Spy Hunter, but that game lets you turn into a fucking awesome boat and shoot bad guys. So, Spy Hunter is better but has worse graphics.

*Driving experience is like: driving on the 15 to and from LA, minus all the drunks coming back from Vegas. So, it's fun and challenging, realistic even, but has a lot less swerving Lexus SUVs.

*Sound is: above average. If there were an option to play 'Sandstorm' by Da Rude on your iPod, it would be just like driving to Club Rage.

*The re-play factor: definitely exists if you love racing games. Or you're just really bored a lot. 

*The biggest problem: is that there is no goddamn 2 player option. This is a racing game. You compete with other cars but clearly not in your own home. That's great if you have a lot of Xbox online friends. If you're like me, and suffer from anti-social personality disorder, then you're fine. Sitting in my home, sweating in my underwear is great but I'd like to invite other Homo sapiens over and have a go at them. Also, I'd like to race them. Do the other NFS games have split screen options? 

Definitely check this game out if you like racing games but don't really want to spend time with other people. Play long enough to have a car that isn't lame and I am sure you'll have fun.  Another option is to get a ROM of Super Off Road for your emulator and just do that. It might be cheaper and have shitty graphics but you'll be on your computer so, there's that. You can just switch over to porn whenever. That's a lot harder on Xbox. 

*Final Rating: 8.33(repeating)/10

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