Tag Archives: comparison

Full PS3 Need For Speed – Shift Review

SHIFT_april14_007

Every racing game you play on the PS3 is always measured against Gran Turismo it is after all the daddy of racing games on pretty much any format. So its always with much trepidation when you first load a new racing game to see how it measures up, because lets face it, its not going to be as good as GT is it…. well lets see.

NFS – Shift Game Overview

You start the game by doing a single lap short Brands Hatch circuit in a BMW M3, its this that sets up how much assistance the game is going to give you and how tough the AI is going to be. For me it didn’t quite turn out right as when it goes across the line and I had my foot flat to the floor the M3 wanted to spin like a top and I got a right swapper on, needless to say it didn’t end well. It kind of work but I still tweaked the settings, I didn’t need brake assistance and I wanted a stronger opponent so I upped it from easy to Medium. You then do an initial race that decides how much money you are going to get. I came second so I got $37,000 dollars to speed.

So what do you buy as your first car? Well I went for the 135i BMW and a cracking choice it has been. I didn’t want any of the 4wd Audi’s and the BMW already has good handling and is quick on the road so off I went.

Nfs-shift-promo

Points make prices

Each game wants to add to the racing genre so what does NFS – Shift add? Points for being good and bad, yes if you leave it late to break into a corner and smash another drive out of the way then you get some points to help advance your career.  But if you want to have a nice clean race, then hold the racing line, brake at the right time (take note of the changing racking line, if you are on it and its read you really need to brake) and you will get the same points for doing it right, nip inside of another car without touching them and you will get points for a clean pass, or just nip across an apex to master the corner and it gives you a bag load of points. Meet the criteria of that race and get first and you will get a full rack of stars that bring extra points and more challenges.

Handling

This is fairly important for a racing game, it needs to be able to react well to how you might think the car drives and in this type of game provide entertaining handling, but does it deliver? In buckets, its Brilliant with a capital B, OK so I’m playing with a new wheel (more of that later) but I’ve been playing GT Prologue all week and this is so much better its untrue.

Power out of a corner and you can nicely hold a drift or correct a slide easily and adjust your line, brake late and you can just about ease off the brake and tip toe around the outside of the corner just like you can in a car at a circuit. OK so I have a low ABS setting and the same for traction control again on low but who cares, I want the game to entertain me and it does. It makes the handling model of Gran Turismo feel wooden by comparison and yes with similar settings.

Each new car you drive also feels different as it should, take an MX5 for a drive and you can see why people rave about it, it feels fantastic, step into a DB9 and it feels properly quick but a bit cumbersome as well, you can feel the extra weight and lack of braking power that I bet is also apparent in the road car.

I have to say I’ve never wanted to go back and play a racing game more than this one, that includes all the GT and GTR/2 the lot, as a combination of a fine handling model and just a damn good fun it has to be up there with the very best, in short they have a winner on their hands in my opinion.

Tuning the Car

So you have bought your car and earned a few points and a bit of money so what can you do with it. Well the game also has a nice little upgrade center. You can make the car lighter, add uprated suspension, racing exhaust or add an aero package, the whole lot. You can also change the paint colour or add vinyls its a nice additional touch that only adds to the game and draws you in even more.

Opponent AI

They are fiendish little things, brake a bit early and they will nip around the outside of you on the higher tiers, they are inteligent and will try to block you and they will easily out brake you if you try and take it easy. But if you attach they will also push back, you feel like you are driving a good on-line but fair competitor, it makes the game great fun to play.

GT@_2_2Shift_BMWM3GT2_05

Graphics

Its good, but not quite GT polished good, but it really doesn’t matter, there is plenty of detail and there is never any slowdown or frame rate issues at any point. Things aren’t as slick or as polished but then I’m concentrating on clipping the apex and getting the line right and not looking at the view across the valley, but don’t take this as the graphics being bad they aren’t they are actually very good. They have also used the graphics to enhance the race, smack into the side of another car and the colour will suddenly go and the screen goes black and white, smack into the back of a car and the screen goes blurred so you can try and cheat but you can’t see for a while afterwards.

I’d hate to think that anyone would not buy this game because the graphics aren’t GT good, but then hey we have waited 5 damn years for an updated full GT game (way way way too long) and still no idea when it might appear, NFS Shift is here now…!! Check out the video below, it looks sweet.

Sound

You can’t have a good racing game without great sound and this game has great sound. Drive through a tunnel and you can hear the exhaust get louder as it ricochets off the walls. Each car sounds the same as the road cars do that I’ve heard, they haven’t just tired to make a sound something like it should, they have obviously done a fair bit of sampling to get the sounds just right. The effects when you skid or hit another car are good and the sound really works, you want to drive another car to see how interesting the engine is going to sound. Its one of those racing games that you play that little bit to loud because you just want to feel like you are in the car.

Any Bad Bits?

Well not really, I’d like it to remember my screen choice, not have to set it each time I race, but that might be fixed in a update. More circuits would be nice and more cars but so far I’ve not played many again so its not really a complaint yet.

Conclusion – Rating 9/10

As a game to entertain and offer brilliant handling, great graphics and some new and entertaining features its great. I’ve not played any of the NFS series for a while, but I used to love playing it on the PC, its more circuit based and less road biased than in the past but its still a cracker. If you have been thinking I will wait until GT 5 comes out don’t get this and sod them it really is a good match. No there isn’t a massive list of cars, but that just means you spend more time upgrading and playing will your current cars, lets be honest how many of the 1000 cars in GT will you actually drive anyway.  I’ve dropped a point because the graphics could be a little bit better but then again I’m glad they just got the game out and spent more time on the driving model.

I mean I’ve just driven a large junk of the Nurburgring, which was great fun and it felt far more realistic than it does in GT, its great go and buy it and I hope there will be some new DLC to keep the game fresh for a long time to come. GT, eat NFS brake fluid, your days could be numbered.

Need a camera to replace a Fuji F30, or do I?

We all like to keep up with current trends and as an amateur photographer I wanted to update my now ageing Fuji F30. Now when it was launched it had more plaudits that any other Compact Camera before or since really. It had a 6Mpix sensor and a fairly average lens at 36mm to 108mm (35mm equivalent) but that wasn’t the clever bit, it was its low light performance, that everyone was staggered at.

At the time in some forums people were talking it up to almost SLR levels of noise reduction. Now I’ve got a Canon 40D and it can’t come close , but as a second camera it does an incredible job when you consider the size and weight difference. But having joined Alamy up scaling 6meg images from a compact that takes pictures straight to JPEG is tough to say the least, even the very best 100iso images have small artefacts especially when they are scaled up to the resolution Alamy wants.

But Which New Camera To Get?

I had a quick look around and the list below got short-listed. Some are Enthusiast models that can even capture RAW others Premium more lifestyle models. What was I looking for? Minimum 10Mpix, Wide angle Lens 28/24mm, good screen, not too big (I’ve got an SLR for that) and last but maybe most important, excellent high ISO performance.

[ad#postlinks]

So to the list and a few reasons why the initial ones didn’t make it.

Canon G9/G10 – G9 didn’t go wide enough really but it is quite cheap at the moment, G10 went to 24mm but they are both too big and heavy and fairly expensive for the little extra benefit overall when you pixel peep. Have a look over to Ken Rockwell to see his comparison with the IXUS 870 / SD880.

Panasonic LX3 – A great little camera, zoom lens sticks out though so not as small as it seem and the lens cover could be a fair hassle for a quick P&S. But the lens is good (Big barrel distortion issues get fixed in software LR or Silkpix) 24mm is F2 and 60mm is F2.8 so a fast lens but not long at 60mm. But they are had to come buy and I wasn’t sold with the sticky out lens to go in a jeans pocket and its quite pricey but then it will also capture RAW. This is the current hit camera for 2008 and I can see why. But its a no from me.

Fuji F100fd – The spiritual successor to the F30d or at least in the same bloodline. Its not the best looking camera to say the least but it just about every other way it ticks all the boxes. High ISO performance is good but not great though. Plus at only £165 from Amazon a bargain really and a recent winner of dpreview.com Premium Cameras in the run up to Christmas. This is a Maybe

Canon IXUS 870 IS / SD880 – Now this could be the one. Its small, has a 28mm lens and its not too expensive (I’m married so budget is important 😉 ) Its got a good zoom lens an 10mpix sensor and good ISO performance. At approx £200 its not too expensive either and it looks great. It will also get the CHDK ad on at some point, this will enable extra features and even the ability to capture RAW files.

And the winner is…?

If I am going to get a camera at the moment it will be the Canon IXUS 870 IS, reviewing goodness knows how many reviews its the winner. Some even say why get a G10 when this does the same or better in many situations and with CHDK will be able to capture RAW.

BUT……… what about the F30?

Well I went back and look at some F30 reviews and got a shock. The noise on high ISO images for ALL of the cameras above is worse the higher they go. Sample them at 400iso and you can already see the difference. Have a look at the two images in the links below and see what you think. Yes one is 10mpix the Canon IXUS 870 the other 6m on the Fuji F30 but surely in the last 2 and a bit years it could be beaten even with a higher ISO. But it appears not, even shrinking the picture on some models and running it through Noise Ninja won’t get it as good as the Fuji original.

It begs the question if it wasn’t for the Mpix needed to get into Alamy is it actually better to stay with the F30, I’m still undecided.

Canon IXUS 870 IS IS400

Fuji F30 ISO400

[ad#post-picture]

Crumpler Muffin Top 5500 Review

[singlepic id=1 w=320 h=240 mode=watermark float=left]

So a bag is a bag is it, erm no, especially when they have names like Muffin Top and Pretty Boy they aren’t. We all have our own preferences on what makes a good camera bag and lets face it if you are into photography you will have almost as many as your other half, come on you know its true.

So this is the latest addition to my collection, the Muffin Top 5500. Its larger than my first Crumpler bag by quite a margin but some how it doesn’t look or feel to big which is great. My first Crumpler was a Pretty Boy Large (3000) which was good to carry around just my SLR (40D) but not much more really.

Crumpler Muffin top 5500 and Pretty boy (L) side by side

[singlepic id=9 w=240 h=200 mode=watermark float=left] [singlepic id=8 w=240 h=200 mode=watermark float=right]

This is a whole different story, I can now carry the Canon 40D (Which is a fair bit bigger than a 350/450D or Rebel) with the 17-85kit lens attached, a 30mm f1.4 Sigma and maybe 1 or 2 other lenses as you can see from the picture below. It looks like the tardis in comparison to the Pretty boy (L) that struggle to carry anything other than the body and the kit lens.

Its very well made with the same fabric as before and the expandable compartment at the front that you can fit a few memory cards in and other bits and bobs like some filters. I think you could even put something like a Canon 70-200 f/4 L standing vertically in the bag without too much trouble and still have room for another lens on top of the kit lens.

Crumpler Muffin top 5500 with 40D+2 Lenses inside

[singlepic id=2 w=240 h=200 mode=watermark float=none] [singlepic id=3 w=240 h=200 mode=watermark float=none] [singlepic id=4 w=240 h=200 mode=watermark float=none]

All in all if you want a bag to carry around a larger SLR like the 40D and a few lenses then this is all you will ever need. It doesn’t feel heavy with the padded shoulder strap and has plenty of room in it without it feeling big, it doesn’t feel much bigger than the Pretty Boy to be honest and an important point for me it doesn’t ‘look’ like a camera bag. This last bit alone made it a top choice for me, I don’t really want to look like a target walking around the streets of foreign countries if I don’t have to and with this bag you don’t.

So for me I’d give it 10/10, a great bag at a very reasonable price.

[ad#crumpler-bag]

Visit Us On TwitterCheck Our Feed