Need for Speed Shift: Exclusive Hands-On With Ferrari DLC

EA is bringing the Prancing Pony to Shift, and we've got an exclusive hands-on look.

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EA isn't afraid to shake up its long-running Need for Speed series. After 2008's by-the-numbers sequel Need for Speed Undercover, the publisher followed with the pure arcade racer Need for Speed Nitro and the simulation-focused Need for Speed Shift. For the latter game, EA and developer Slightly Mad put drivers in the seat of some of the world's most challenging, high-performance cars and let them race it out on a variety of real-world, as well as fictional, tracks. The all-star lineup in Shift was missing one key marquee, however: Ferrari cars were conspicuously absent from the game's roster. That's an omission EA is looking to correct with its Ferrari-only downloadable content pack, which will be available tomorrow, February 16. The DLC will run you 800 Microsoft points and will include the following Ferrari models:

- 1996 Ferrari F50 GT
- 2005 Ferrari F430 Spider
- 2005 Ferrari FXX
- 2005 Ferrari Superamerica
- 2006 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano
- 2006 Ferrari F430 Challenge (Online/Quick event only)
- 2006 Ferrari F430 GTC (Online/Quick event only)
- 2007 Ferrari 430 Scuderia
- 2008 Ferrari California
- 2008 Ferrari 16M Scuderia Spider

All of the Ferrari models will be available to you upon purchase of the DLC, so you won't need to save your race winnings in order to afford the Prancing Pony of your dreams. In addition to the cars, the DLC will include an entirely new branch of Ferrari-themed events in Shift's Career mode. Once you enter Career mode, you can access the Ferrari events by pressing the left bumper (L1 on the PS3 controller) until you reach the Ferrari event hub. There are 46 Ferrari-specific events, and they run the gamut from straight-ahead race events to more elaborate challenges like elimination (where the car in last place is eliminated after a certain amount of time). There are also time-trial events like hot lap, where you have four laps to beat a posted time. The nice thing here is that if you beat the posted time on your first flying lap, the event ends and you can move on to the next challenge. Other event types include endurance races, mixed-track races, and a Ferrari-themed version of the Shift World Tour.

As with other series events in the Shift Career mode, you'll be earning stars for various accomplishments on the track. Accomplishing a podium finish might earn you stars, as well performing certain feats on the track, such as earning a certain number of points throughout the course of an entire race, sticking to the illuminated racing line for a certain percentage of the race, leading a race for a full lap, and on the like. Of course, how you drive your favorite Ferrari--as a carefully precise driver or with a pedal-to-the-metal aggressive style--will also be recorded by the game.

Ferraris aren't just limited to the Ferrari-only Career mode events. You can take most of the cars in the DLC to other career events, and you will likely see plenty of other Ferrari models on the grid with you. All of the Ferraris in the DLC--even the lower tier models like the Ferrari California--are formidable weapons on the track. Once you kick things up to the tier 4 and tier 5 rides, such as the F50 GT or F430 GTC, you'll have all the power you can handle under your fingertips. The F50 GT, in particular, is a fearsome ride, with tremendous straight-line speed and a huge rear wing that gives it some added downforce. You'll need every bit of that downforce when blasting through the tricky bends of Road America or navigating the tight turns of Shift's Tokyo track. As with the rest of the rides in Shift, all Ferrari interiors are modeled and can incur damage--often dramatically so. After all, there's nothing like finishing a race in a multimillion dollar car that's been completely sheared of its front bumper and hood. That's satisfaction, Ferrari-style.

The Ferrari DLC for Need for Speed Shift will be released for the Xbox 360 on February 16.

Editor's Note: In a previous version of this article, it was incorrectly stated that the Ferrari DLC pack would be coming to the PlayStation 3 version of Need for Speed: Shift. The DLC is exclusive to the Xbox 360 version of the game. GameSpot regrets the error.

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