Outside of mods, modern day racers seem to have forgotten about motor sport’s past. The vibrant yet perilous decades of the sixties and seventies are the inspiration for SHIFT 2 Unleashed’s last DLC pack and unsurprisingly the bumper offering which features five different tracks and fourteen classic motors serves up the best entertainment Slightly Mad Studio’s racer has to offer.
So how exactly does it do this? Well the answer is simple; depth and variety. Any motor sport enthusiast would be hard pressed to choose fourteen more diverse, fun and dare we say it beautiful tin-top offerings than what this DLC pack entails and they are as follows:
- Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA (1965)
- Austin Mini Cooper S (1965)
- BMW 3.0 CSL Gr. 5 (1975)
- Ford Capri RS3100 Gr.4 (1974)
- Ford Escort Mk1 RS1600 (1971)
- Ford GT40 Mk.I (1965)
- Ford Lotus Cortina (1963)
- Jaguar E-Type Lightweight (1963)
- Nissan Fairlady 240ZG (S30) (1971)
- Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R (C10) (1972)
- Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.0 (1974)
- Porsche 914/6 GT (1970)
- SHELBY COBRA “DAYTONA” COUPE® (1965)
- Team Need For Speed Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.0
The slow but nimble offerings like the Mini Cooper perfectly offset themselves against the all power no nonsense approach of the Ford GT40, and each car handles genuinely differently. You can throw them into corners, power-slide around apexes and feel them squirm under-braking. The AI too seems to struggle more than ever with these cars, but in a convincing way.
This allows races to be much more exciting than they seem to be usually, with career events, making the most of the acceleration equality between the different machines. Meetings follow the typical, single-race, time-trial and then championship formula but they are much more exciting to be a part of as the AI seem more prone to mistakes with the additional challenges these vehicles and tracks provide. They’ll run wide, occasionally spin-out or much more commonly run wide on the grass sacrificing speed.
We tackled most of the events in a souped-up Cortina and even though we got left for dust on straight-dominated tracks like Hockenheim (1982) and Monza (1958), we held our own in the squirmier layouts of Dijon-Prenois (1972) and Rouen-Les-Essarts (1966). Having the opportunity to race on these circuits in their long since deceased state is genuinely a privilege. This is the kind of experience only video games can offer and it’s a shame more developers don’t go for this historical tack as Legends proves just how enjoyable it can be.
We can’t speak to the authenticity of these circuits, but we can say that racing on them is tinged with the kind of halcyon romance every motor sport fan experiences when they hear the names Graham Hill or James Stewart and racing on Silverstone’s 1975 layout is something we wholehearted recommend.
Unfortunately this kind of nostalgia isn’t really made the most of as SHIFT 2 Unleashed’s ‘gnarly dude’ presentation remains. This is best summed up by the nauseatingly named Max Powers and his inappropriately ‘street’ attired Porsche Carrera, but if you’ve suffered through the rest of the Americanised presentation Unleashed has to offer, this won’t be a massive drawback.
Minus that slight bugbear, SHIFT 2 Unleashed’s final DLC pack is indeed its finest and offers something Gran Turismo and Forza have yet to properly emulate. As far as we’re concerned it’s a must buy piece of DLC, if only to feel what it’s like to pilot a Mini Cooper around Monza’s long unused Pista di Alta Velocità banking.
Oh yes it’s in there, you just have to work a little to find it!
The Legends DLC Pack is currently available to download on Xbox Live and PSN for 800 MS Points or $9.99 respectively. The PC version is currently free to all owners of Shift 2 UNLEASHED and is available via EA’s new digital distribution service, Origin.