So, I've been putting in some time on Shift 2 Unleashed, and I have come to the conclusion that it isn't a racing sim. Instead, I think of it more in terms of Project Gotham Racing. Is that a bad thing? No. Considering that we've gone so long without a proper PGR title, I consider it to be a major asset.
I certainly got the PGR vibes while running down London in helmet view, with the useful status bar filling up on top showing me how I'm leveling up in-game. Then the virtual helmet looks to the right as I prepare for a right turn, and I think, "this is awesome". Then the screen starts to blur at 200 MPH, and I think, "this is REALLY awesome!"
Thankfully, there's no shitboxes in the car line-up. Every car has a detailed interior, and the only hybrids in the game are Porsches. I think I spent more time gawking at the car models than driving them. The photos here are a little dim, and there are a few graphical details here and there in the game that could be better, but trust me when I say that it looks great in motion.
The only gripe I can really think of at the moment is the drift mode. I've done a couple of drift events, and I can tell that this will be a pain in the ass. With the way leveling up is in the game, though, I should be unlocking events at a quick pace to keep moving on if I get stuck there.
Overall, I'd give Shift 2 Unleashed an 8/10. It's no Forza, but it carved out its own niche, and I'm fine with that.