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Shift 2: Unleashed - do its dodgy controls actually matter?

EA's racer sequel is out, minus the Need For Speed moniker - and any proper sense of control

Shift 2 Unleashed is out, to enthusiastic reviews - it's currently on a Metacritc score of 85. Our review is not as enthusiastic, however - it scored just 66 percent. Some folk in our office thought it deserved more, but it didn't. Or did it? No. The real answer is nnnnyes. Fact: no review score in recent memory has caused more office argument than Shift 2.

The problem? There's lag in the steering. Imagine using a megaphone to shout desperate instructions at an old dear, a cataract-struck blue-head strung out on Night Nurse and custard creams after her 90th birthday bash and numb down the left side, cascading down the wrong side of a motorway to her quavery-voiced, mint-imperial sucking doom. Shift 2's left stick is that megaphone.

But not everybody thinks the lag matters. We watched people enjoy it without ever being in control - swerving all over the place - because they don't apparently expect to BE in control, despite liking car games. They couldn't tell what was lag and what was them.

They were enjoying it, and maybe the majority will too. Consequently, the argument goes, Shift 2 deserves a higher score. Most people will enjoy it.

The argument to the other side says broken steering is so fundamental as to negate all other positives. It would be like releasing the world's lightest, strongest, fastest football - with a puncture. Promise counts for nothing. In reality it'd be a terrible football.

What do you think? Should we ignore a problem because few players will realise it's a problem?

What do Amazon's user reviews reveal?

We think the Amazon buyer reviews are telling. All but one pick up on the horrible steering, but only one player - the only one to identify himself as a racing fan - thinks it matters.

Take a look:

"The handling takes a lot of getting used to. Yes it is realistic, but to the point of being unplayable at times." Three out of five

"Driving can be incredibly twitchy... it can be confusing as to why you've started to lose control down a straight." Three out of five

"The steering is truly abysmal. It's almost impossible to steer a straight line without constantly having to correct your line. For the record I've been playing racing games for around 20 years... The game does provide a wealth of controller adjustments but no matter how I tweaked it I could not get it satisfactory." One out of five

"Not being a racing car driver I can't comment on the realism of the car handling." Four out of five

So, what do you think? Do dodgy controls matter if the majority of players won't notice them? Should we have ignored them and scored it higher?

We welcome the debate, as ever.

PSM3

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