Shift 2: Unleashed



Realistic racing sim with jarring crashes.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game is an authentic racing simulation. The goal is to learn how to drive to win.

Positive role models

Players must learn to drive with precision to win races. Any attempts to drive too aggressively can result in wrecks and losses.

Ease of play

The controls are pretty simple to grasp. Players can use the triggers or shoulder buttons on a controller to accelerate or brake. Sounds easy until players get on the track. Mastering corners and driving with precision requires some practice. Fortunately, the game will tailor its difficulty based on a player's skills.


Players can crash into walls, obstacles, or other vehicles during races. The first-person perspective makes these crashes feel very realistic, as the screen shakes and blurs as a car slams into an object. However, there is very little incentive for driving aggressively during races, since that behavior can cost you the race.


There are some "pit girls" that appear from time to time wearing revealing outfits.

Not applicable

The game features popular automakers such as Honda, Toyota, Ford, and BMW.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Shift 2: Unleashed is a straightforward racing simulation from the Need for Speed series of games. The game's first-person perspective delivers a very authentic experience, right down to jarring crashes that look quite violent. However, causing wrecks doesn't go unpunished, as it often costs players the victory. It’s worth noting as well that consumerism plays a role via the game’s licensed cars; and that the game has open chat for those playing online so kids may hear things that are inappropriate.

What's it about?

SHIFT 2: UNLEASHED is a realistic racing simulation based on the FIA GT1 world championship series. Players compete in a series of events featuring several races en route to becoming a racing champion. Dozens of cars are available from automakers such as Toyota, Honda, Ford, BMW, and Lamborghini. Players start out with a trial lap and race to determine the difficulty and computer assistance (such as auto-braking) players need. They can then begin entering pro races. Throughout their career, players earn experience points to unlock new cars and equipment. They also have their results tallied in an online Autolog that gauges how well they perform against friends online.

Is it any good?


Shift 2 is an incredibly beautiful, authentic racing title. It rewards players for driving with precision and skill instead of aggression. Crashes really pack a powerful impact, as players watch the screen shake and blur. Controls are easy to pick up, but prepare to practice often to learn how to master corners and other racing techniques. The Autolog also adds another avenue for players to measure their skills. Overall, Shift 2 is a really strong title for players who love racing games.

Online interaction: The game features online races with open chat. This means that kids could potentially run into others online who express language and ideas unsuitable for kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how to manage video game playing in their life. How do you determine how much time to spend playing vs. doing other things like reading and exercising?

  • How does this game compare to real-world racing? Does it make you want to become a race car driver?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Available online?Available online
Developer:Electronic Arts
Release date:March 29, 2011
Topics:Sports and martial arts
ESRB rating:E10+ for Mild Suggestive Themes, Mild Violence

This review of Shift 2: Unleashed was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 17 years old Written bywindow stater April 17, 2011
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Adult Written byBrioCyrain May 6, 2012


It's Need For Speed's answer to GT5. Avoid the barriers unless you want a good bashing.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Teen, 14 years old Written byEbanski July 8, 2011


This game was very boring. The first Shift game was much better. This game tried to hard and had terrible graphics.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much consumerism


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