Need For Speed: Shift Demo

The most recent version of Need For Speed, precariously titled one consonant away from profanity, “Shift”, now boasts a PC demo. There aren’t many mirrors up yet, so I’m going to suggest you get it from here. It’s 1.13gb, and features racing cars, and the tracks that love them. I’ll update that link when a more sensible mirror list can be found. UPDATE: UK mirror here.


  1. Paul says:

    5 cars, one bing unlockable, 2 tracks, one bug (not possible to change keyboard controls), otherwise good demo.

  2. linfosoma says:

    Ohh I want to try this so bad! Hopefully the PC version will be properly optimized.

    • nakke says:

      If you have nVidia, it’s awesomely optimized — can run at max w/ 8800GT and always 45+fps (at least from what I’ve read).
      If you have ATI, it might work if you’re lucky, but very many people (including me) are having huge performance issues. I get as low as 20fps with max settings and maybe 30 avg with Intel Q9450, HD4890 1GB, 8GB ram. Which is just atrocious compared to how well GRID runs, for example.

    • linfosoma says:

      Nvidia 9600 GT, 4 GB RAM and a Phenom II x3.
      I expect it to run well, I just hope it comes out on steam, Im a sucker for this kind of games.

  3. Vinraith says:

    The download link at seems to have gone dead, I assume due to traffic. I’m interested to try this one out, if for no other reason to see if it plays like GRID to the same degree that it looks like GRID.

    Does anyone else miss arcade racing games with shortcuts, or is it just me?

  4. DM says:

    I’m unfortunately reminded by playing this, that I have utterly no talent whatsoever at racing games and (more importantly) my urge to play them is itched after approximately three races, after which I am satisfied for up to six months. Personally, I have the sneaking suspicion that what taste I have for racers is really just my RPG cravings coming to the fore. I treat them more as an acquisition and progression game than anything else, and kind of regard the actual racing as the grind.

    Putting that to the side though, I believe I have played enough racers to know that they have done an utterly fantastic, unrivalled job on the sound and sensation of speed. I have never had a game demonstrate anywhere near as powerfully to me as Shift that a Pagani Zonda F is not just rather expensive, with impressive specs and a rather ostentatious design, it’s also fucking FAST!

  5. Karnov says:

    You can get it from the NFS Shift site, hit PC Demo in the bar under the logo, giving me about 2 MB/s atm.

  6. Razor says:

    “… precariously titled one consonant away from profanity…”

    Some might say one consonant away from accuracy. I’m glad a demo is available, at least. After the last NFS title I purchased I’m hard-pressed to want to buy another.

  7. triple_a says:

    This is actually pretty good. Not as good as I expected but the NFS game in a long time, nevertheless. I am also having those performance issues. I have an ATI card and am running the game on 32-bit Win7. Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to wait until either ATI or SMS fix the problem.

  8. Stony says:

    It’s ok, but I tried quite a few handling options and couldn’t get it close to the drifty goodness of GRID. As a chronic driftoholic, I’ll probably give this a miss.

    • Ziv says:

      I haven’t tried drifting yet but the physics of NFS:S fell much better, in grid there was no sense to how you spun out and you could accelerate and decelerate how much you wanted on corners w/o spinning (it also felt SO wrong on grass), in NFS on the other hand every time I spin out I don’t get mad at the game, I realize I did a mistake and try to fix it next time, in GRiD spinning out made no sense at all, it could happen just because someone hit your rear bumper.

  9. Brass Gerbil says:

    Hrm. A bit more intriguing than most arcade racers. But without Track IR support, I’m just not interested.

    • MrMud says:

      Track IR devs have said that SHIFT were working on TrackIR support but that it would probably be in a patch due to time constraints.

  10. Chris Evans says:

    I have an ATi 4850, Q6600 and 2GB RAM on Win 7. Most of the time the full game runs perfectly, but sometimes, city tracks are the likely suspects for me, I will experience major slow down. That is my take on the graphics issue.

  11. Sweedums says:

    hmm, not a fan of the handling in the demo, i played with both keyboard and my 360 controller but neither really hit the spot, rather than turning gradually, i just found the cars would start going sideways too quickly, like there is a very small threshold between lots of grip and absolutely no grip… imo it doesnt look as good as grid either, so i think ill stick with that until dirt 2 hits pc, hopefully that will be worth a buy

    • Ziv says:

      you want to decrease the deadzone, the game starts w/ 33% deadzone on the steering, being you use the 360 controller like me, you can probably set it to about 10-12%. ou can also decrease the deadzone on the throttle and brakes.

  12. Shadowcat says:

    Does the demo contain the in-game advertising that the full version has?

    I had been looking forward to “Shift”. I’m not going to get it because it has in-game ads, but I’d happily try the demo if by some miracle it omitted them.

  13. Shadowcat says:

    I don’t really want to turn this into a rant, so suffice to say that I consider in-game advertising a completely unacceptable practice.

  14. klumhru says:

    To preface, I’ve finished GRID several times, and love it. I’ve also spent hundreds of hours in GTR Evolution. I also have a MOMO wheel, so I can’t attest to the other controller options’ playability.

    In my opinion Shift hits the perfect spot between arcade and realism. It’s incredibly fun to play if, you turn off the HUD and ignore all the hurly-burly of achievements.

    Good stuff: Rubberbanding is minimal, graphics are good, sound is fantastic, driving “feel” is very, very good.
    Not so good: Achievements and other hullabaloo are a bit overwhelming if the HUD is enabled. Limited damage modelling.

  15. Vandelay says:


    What exactly about the in-game advertising do you oppose? I had a little glance, as this was the first I had heard of it, and the advertising is only on the billboards littered about the tracks. That sounds perfectly in context with the game and you aren’t getting interrupted by some advertising. Those billboards would have fictional adverts if it weren’t for the advertising deal, so there is little difference to your own gaming experience. The only difference is that the developers (or publishers?) are getting more money, so in turn should be able to have bigger budgets for their games. Sounds fine to me.

    Product placement isn’t the enemy, it is the misuse of it.

    • nakke says:

      Well, I oppose the fake billboards mostly because they’re in the wrong places on the real tracks. It’s weird how even though the layouts are quite accurate, I’m pretty lost on the real-life tracks just because of all the random crap they’ve added around the tracks. (Not just ads, but houses etc.)
      But that’s just my crazy opinion. Also, games which have this much ads should be cheaper, really.

    • Vandelay says:

      That is fair. I haven’t played either the full game or the demo of this, so can’t judge whether they do it correctly or not.

      But the immediate dismissal of using in-game advertising just seems slightly silly to me. Product placement is in pretty much in every film you’ll watch, a lot of television (we should be prepared for more in the UK, because stations besides the BBC are now allowed it in their programmes, but it is still present in numerous American shows we get,) and it is unlikely that gaming will remain an exception for too long. This gut reaction that anything slightly business orientated should be boycotted or campaigned against that the gaming community has is all rather childish in my eyes.

  16. Juror #9 says:

    Well from the sounds of it. My system won’t at all handle this really most awesomness of a game. I have a AMD 4400, 4 gig RAM, 6800GS. The system’s only a 1.5years old but I think i’ll unfortunately pass on this one. I had trouble with the FUEL demo. So my guess is that i’ll have trouble with this one too.

    Me sad. ugg.

    Have fun everyone. I’ll be thinking of you all.

  17. Shadowcat says:

    Those billboards would have fictional adverts if it weren’t for the advertising deal

    That’s naive. Many people have commented (elsewhere) about the sheer quantity of billboards on Shift’s tracks. Without the advertising deal, a large number of those billboards would not exist, because there would be no incentive to cram the tracks with them. It’s also naive to pretend that fictional advertisements and real advertisements can be considered interchangeable.

    Anyhow, clearly the adverts are in the demo, which answers my original question. Here’s a recent thread on the topic, if you’re interested. There are probably better discussions on the subject in general, but this sprang to mind due to being recent.

  18. neems says:

    I never actually noticed the adverts – too busy racing I guess (I suspect my mind just filters them out as an expected part of motor racing, same way I never see the billboards when I’m watching footy).

    • Sweedums says:

      i am exactly the same as you, i didnt even notice any billboards because i was busy playing the game… if all you think about is the fact that it has in-game advertising you are bound to spot them more often, if you just quit worrying and play the game it probably wont bother you…

      there are places in games where advertising doesnt bother me at all, for example the ads around a football pitch or on bus stops in games (R6 vegas springs to mind) but at the same time it can be abused badly, like 500ft billboards advertising deodorant as you fly in on a helicopter to start a mission (err…. R6 vegas springs to mind, again). People need to quit jumping on the bandwagon with these sorts of things, complaining just because other people do even when the ads go unnoticed a lot of the time…

  19. plonk420 says:

    if you have any crash issues, delete the graphics settings-related xml file in your My Documents\NFS Shift folder

    • plonk420 says:

      it would be ironic or amusing or something if they’ve fixed that issue in the demo but not yet in the retail game…

  20. Vandelay says:

    “That’s naive. Many people have commented (elsewhere) about the sheer quantity of billboards on Shift’s tracks. Without the advertising deal, a large number of those billboards would not exist, because there would be no incentive to cram the tracks with them.”

    I point you towards my last post where I say I haven’t played the game or demo of this so can’t judge whether they are done well or not. If they are getting in the way of the actual driving then of course they would be unwanted (although neems seems to have been able to completely ignore them okay.)

    “It’s also naive to pretend that fictional advertisements and real advertisements can be considered interchangeable.”

    I don’t really understand why that is a naive assumption. The trailer for the game apparently had fictional ads on the billboards prior to the advertising deal. I believe, Far Cry 2 uses fictional ads when it is unable to connect to the server and possibly in certain territories.

    What is naive is the expectation that this isn’t going to become standard practice.

    Film has been doing it for years. Some will probably moan about the abundance of product placement in Bond films*, but no one says they will boycott a film when they see someone using Dell laptop. But if a publisher announced that they had done an advertising deal with Dell and all the good guys in the game would use Dell laptops there would be an uproar.

    *personally, I find that it has reached a point of self-parody – the bit when we are made to think that Bond has shaved his beard off with a Phillishave is probably the funniest bits in any Bond film.

    • Blather Bob says:

      I don’t think Shadowcat is complaining about the scriptwriters adding a scene where Bond has to use a laptop, or that when Bond needs to use a laptop it turns out to be a Dell. I think he’s complaining that the screenwriters have been forced to have Bond stop and check his email every 5 minutes, even in the middle of chases, because Dell is paying them per second of screen time.

      I watched some pre-release video of somebody driving around the nurburing track, and even the very existence of the billboards (they were just showing black-backgrounded NFS logos) was distracting. That track is already hard enough to remember without them making it look that different. It looked like they had been told to stick one in every 200 feet or so to make sure they were seen. And once they have real ads, I don’t imagine they’ll get a hundred different companies willing to advertise on a single billboard that will only be visible for a fraction of a second. So you’ll probably be driving past the exact same flash of a billboard image, once every other second, for all 14 miles of that track.

      That said, I actually didn’t notice if there was a single ad or billboard in the demo at all. Maybe it would be more noticable on one of the tracks not in the demo, like the nurburing, but I think maybe that sort of thing is just more noticable when you’re watching a video than when you’re actually playing.

  21. Heliocentric says:

    Product placement it for example the bond movies actually put me off all of the products because i felt patronised. But when chaos theory had sam fisher eating airwaves? I’ll be dammed if i didn’t want some gum*.

    *A lie

  22. Andy says:

    I watched Casino Royale on tv last night and it really pissed me off when theres the blatant shoving of the SONY VAIO logo into ur face. If he’s using a laptop and it happens to be a Vaio then fair enough but it was so obvious that they wanted you to look at the logo, really broke the film for a moment for me.

    • LeFishy says:

      I found that annoying. More annoying though is that NOBODY IN THE FILM used anything that wasn’t made by Sony. Oh except perhaps the bad guy. I forget.

  23. Initialised says:

    The London Track looked great, but on the other track I was getting FPS as low as 17 (3.6GHz C2Q, OC’d 4870×2) and looked like it had dropped the detail level to DX7 at times. Maybe I’m just not playing it The way it’s Meant to be Played!

  24. Mort says:

    Absolutely no probs here on high settings (phenom II x4 3.2ghz black ed, 4gb ddr3, ATI HD4850).

    So impressed went out and bought today with shiny new wheel. Never bought a racing game for PC before.

  25. Starky says:

    Q6600@3.1Ghz here running a 8800GT 512mb (G92) OC edition (700mhz), with 4Gb of DDR800 on Vista64.
    Nothing amazing, just budget bang for your buck hardware with a healthy OC, and I was running it at near Max settings (1680×1050, 4xAA, 8xAS and everything on high except motion blur (too much gives me a headache in some games) and I was getting a solid 45+ FPS, with only the odd and every so slight slowdown in places (mostly when driving through think smoke), but 99% of the time smooth and solid.

    I’m buying this game tomorrow, I never intended too touch another NFS game, the last NFS I bought was Underground 1 on the PS2…

    The demo is just that good – Oh and to everyone complaining about the handling, it’s not the game just crappy default settings, there’s a post on the NFS forums about it, just go into options and turn the steering sensitivity up and the steering deadzone down (33% is default and way too high, 10% should be fine for most decent controllers).
    Which gives you a bit more control like you should have and less of the “nothing at all then full lock” feeling it has at default.
    Why they set the steering deadzone that huge by default is anyone’s guess.

    Oh and for the love of god people, do yourselves a favour when playing this game, and follow these simple rules.

    1: Use no other view but cockpit – any other view might be easier, but your spoiling the single best thing about this game, the feeling of speed, movement and being part of the car they’ve managed with cockpit view. Ignore this and you turn an amazing game/driving experience into something pretty but hollow. The limited view, that car in the mirror the shake and movement inside the seat, brilliant.
    2: Set the AI difficulty to medium at least (hard is better), turn OFF the steering assist, Turn off the braking assist (or keep it low at least) – I recommend manual gearbox with automatic clutch also, but you may want to work into that.
    3: Turn OFF the Hud – utterly. Use the cars own dials if you need, but honestly the sound quality is good enough you can shift by sound alone.
    4: Turn OFF the race line guide.

    Follow these simple rules and you’ll have found the heart of this game, what makes it pretty damn special.
    Follow these rules and you’ll have (in my subjective opinion obviously based on the strength of the demo alone) found one amazing racing game, one that really does nail the feeling of driving fast around a track better than any game before it has done.
    It may not be the best simulation or technical reproduction, but it’s by far the best emotional and stylistic reproduction (disclaimer: I’m no racing driver, but I have been to around a dozen track days in a different rental car each time – Highlights were a Lotus Elise, a 911 Turbo and a Ariel Atom – the latter by far the best, even though I almost crashed it).

  26. Richard Clayton says:

    I found this really fun. It might be the first racing game I buy since the original Colin McRae.

    I could actually drive it and win. Unlike GTR2 which I found just too hard to satiate my driving lust (I like Flight Sims with realism maxed but driving has to be fun for me).

    Any idea why I can’t unlock the Zonda? I’ve been cracking away at it for a good couple of hours and definitely have more than the 10 prerequisite stars. Unfortunately there is no way to tell how many you have collected in the demo…

    The cars look a bit slidey on the road and sometimes the replays just look speeded up (maybe I hit the wrong button?). Physics for parts flying off is a bit floaty although crash recovery (slamming into barriers at high speed) seem arcadey enough not to spoil the fun.

  27. Megamaj says:

    It crashed three times, in less than 90 minutes gameplay. The first time before even starting, the second time before I was able to move from the starting position, and the third time after roughly one hour of fabulous driving experience. I had lots of fun, it ran smoothly, the feeling of speed, the sound, the car bitching below you .. I never had that in a NFS game before. Since I was already sick of street car tuning and running down donut shops I am very happy that they moved away from that.
    Now if they only sort out the stability issues …

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