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Need for Speed Shift 3D for BlackBerry Storm2 Game Review (and comparison to Bold 9700 and iPhone)

By Kevin Michaluk on 19 Mar 2010 02:18 pm EDT
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Back on St. Patty's day we announced here on the blogs that Need for Speed Shift 3D for the BlackBerry Storm2 finally hit App World. This is one of the games that was demoed back at the BlackBerry Developer showing off RIM's newly announced Open GL APIs. With the 3D version of the game now available for the Storm2, I gave it a download and walkthrough and also compared to the 2D version available for the BlackBerry Bold 9700 (does not support Open GL) as well as the version of Need for Speed Shift available for the iPhone in Apple's App Store. Watch the video above to see how it unfolds and read on for some more details.

Need for Speed Shift for BlackBerry

Let's break this down...

File Size: The 2D version of Need for Speed Shift for BlackBerry rings in at 648kb (small) while the 3D version for the Storm2 is 2.8MB, which is currently considered relatively large for a BlackBerry app. Both BlackBerry versions are tiny though compared to the iPhone version, which is 178megs in size (that's bigger than the available free flash memory on your 256MB BlackBerry). 

Price: In App World, the 2D version is $6.99 while the 3D version is $9.99. For comparison's sake, the iPhone version is currently priced at $6.99, though it originally debuted at $9.99 (so I don't want to hear any complaints about BB apps costing more money just yet!). :)

Graphics: It's almost laughable (or is it so sad that it makes me want to cry??) to compare the 2D version of this game on the BlackBerry Bold 9700 to the 3D version on the Storm2 or to the iPhone version. I guess you can't pack that many detailed graphics into only 648kb and without support of the Open GL standard there's no point to anyway. I found the graphics on 3D version on the BlackBerry Storm2 to be quite acceptable. There's definitely still some room for improvement (I'm guessing a higher resolution display would smooth out some of the rougher edges and more detail could be added to the cars/scenery) but the 3D graphics are just night and day better than 2D. In going to the iPhone version of this game, what you really gain is a lot more detail. I guess at 2.7MB in file size, the Storm2's 3D version is already as big as you can really get away with on BlackBerry. Adding in the extra scenery bitmaps (more billboards, people in the stands, more details to the cars, etc.) is going to dramatically increase the file size of the game. Without the memory limitations on the iPhone, they pack more transitional and intro stuff into the game that adds to the flavor (even the EA logo and Need for Speed shift splash screens are fancier on the iPhone). That said, ignorance is bliss here. If you just pick up and play the Storm2 version you won't feel hard done by at all. It's good times. However, if you put it side by side with the same game on the iPhone you'll feel a bit of game envy. Sucks that I have to say that, but it's true.

Sounds: The soundtracks used on the BlackBerry version are realllllly limited here. You're almost better off putting the game on mute so you don't drive yourself bonkers. Sound files take up memory, so again this is an area where EA really kept things minimal. The iPhone game is full of sound effects and race tunes. I really wish EA would have done here what Lone Dwarf Games did on Wrath for BlackBerry and would allow you to load a playlist from your Media Library to use for the gameplay music. I'd much rather listen to my own music than what EA put into the BlackBerry version.

Gameplay: On the Bold 9700... err.. no comment. I found the BlackBerry Storm2 ran Need for Speed Shift 3D quite well. It takes a little bit of time to load things up, but the actual driving action was really smooth. I found the accelerometer and car control more favorable on the BlackBerry Storm2 than compared to playing it on the iPhone 3Gs (and I really hate how easy it is to cover up the sound port on the iPhone which mutes out sounds). As far as BlackBerry racing games go, Need for Speed Shift 3D is solid.

Closing Thoughts on Need for Speed Shift 3D

As for Need for Speed Shift 3D, if you own a BlackBerry Storm2 this is a game you'll likely want to pick up. It's a good time waster, it looks good and is fun. All around solid BlackBerry game.

My bigger takeaway from this head to head to head comparison is though is that while RIM is certainly making strides to improve the gaming capabilities of their devices, there is still work to be done if they want to go head to head with the iPhone in this part of the consumer market. It makes me REALLY SAD that the BlackBerry Bold 9700, an AWESOME all around Smartphone, does not support Open GL. While RIM has Open GL figured out on the Qualcomm chipsets used in their CDMA phones, we have yet to see them support the standard in their GSM phones which use Marvell chips. With a device like the new slider rumored to be GSM, I HOPE they show us they figured this technical hurdle out and can support Open GL with all of their next generation GSM devices. If the slder hits without Open GL, I'll personally have to dub that a big ole #FAIL.

The other big technological hurdle RIM has to overcome here is how to run BIG apps on the device. Either they need to greatly increase flash memory or allow apps to run directly from the memory card. When it comes to games, BIGGER apps are better. If you want to pack a ton of killer graphics and audio into a game that takes space. RIM needs a mechanism for handling this... and they need it asap. I have faith RIM will get there, so in the meantime I'd love to see more games of this sort of caliber become available until we can see RIM start touting "Super Games" as much as we have heard about "Super Apps".

Get Need for Speed for BlackBerry

Need for Speed Shift 3D for BlackBerry Storm2

Need for Speed Shift (2D) for other BlackBerry Smartphone Device models

Reader comments

Need for Speed Shift 3D for BlackBerry Storm2 Game Review (and comparison to Bold 9700 and iPhone)

35 Comments

Although the soundtrack makes me want to poke out my ear drums, the game is decent and a step in the right direction.

Is it me or did the soundtrack sound like it came off an '80s Atari?? Or early dungeons and dragons?

much. It's not that great on the iPhone. Not really that much of a differnce. Pretty poor quality on both devices.

Interesting how everyone complained about a 3M app when it's so large on the iPhone.

Yes, the soundtrack sucks but in most cases I have the sound off.

The accelerometer is mush easier to use than on games I've played on iPhones. Admittedly I haven't played many iPhone games but the S2 controls well.

I'm hopeful more games will come out with this technology, and that the prices will come down.

ok so that looks very good (no paypal at the mo isnt good lol) and they HAVE now changed it to cover the 9520 as well, which is a good thing, but lonedwarfgames have a OpenGL3D game coming out soon, which seems to have more detail than this, also has the mentioned ability to use your own music which is cool :)

I LOVE blackberry and would not use another smartphone but the iPhone version of this game is a whole different level. This really does highlight the graphical capabilities between both phones with blackberry definitely taking 2nd place.

First: Why only 2 MG on a S2? Plenty of room to make it 5 or 6 MG and at least add in more textures and fill. Heck docs to go with PDF to go is almost 10 megs! I think PBA Bowling2 was bigger.

Second: Kevin - Nails it on the head. The S2 culd play the 162 meg version, and likely better than the I-Phone, but there is not enough flash memory. RIM will never catch up in the consumer space until they either (now say it with me everyone) allow games to install and run off of the SD card, open up available device memory; or add application memory.

Having anything less than 1 gig of available application memory on a smart phone in 2010 is a failure at the highest levels of RIM. You think Joe CEO or Lisa CFO doesn't care about games, video and music? Then when do they all have I-phones?!!!! Every partner in every firm I have been to in the last 5 years ALL carry blackberries on their person. And all of them have their I-phones displayed on various highend sound sytems right behind them.

In this particular case, the solution is simple in terms of memory management.

The gaming and sound engines can be run within the app memory, as it does now.

However,the maps, design and soundtracks could be stored on the SD card and easily accessed by the 3d and sound engines. Why they dont do it like that is very dumb. The stock media player on BB is on the main memory but accesses my mp3 on the SD card....

ON THE OTHER HAND THEY HAVE TO STOP FRACTIONATING THE BB PLATFORM AND HAVE THE SAME 3D HARDWARE ON EVERY BLACKBERRY. ACCELEROMETER TOO.

RIM wants to keep applications in system memory...that's fine, and they probably want to have the installations be "complete", as downloaded. However for this game the game itself could download sound and graphics files to the SD card, and not _depend_ upon them being there, that is, if you download them, then you get the great sound and graphics, if you don't, then it's the degraded version that they actually shipped.

I also agree that they should provide the 3D rendering hardware/OS support on all future handsets, however I'm not sure about the accelerometer. Does it make sense on a portrait-only device, given what the main purpose is?

i agree that the purpose is not necessarily there as often in other devices. But from a developer perspective, homogeneous platforms are much simpler to deal with. The compatible user basis is increased as well. this is the rationale for having iphone/iTouch compatibility.

sucks that 9700 doesn't support open gl, it has a fast processor and nice screen, altough it's a bit small, you could make 3d games for it

While I'm still rocking either a Storm 2 or a Tour at any given time (so yes, I'm an addict) I am really disappointed with this release to be honest. Yes, I KNOW this is better than anything we have had up to this point but that is no excuse for such a weak delivery. RIM is getting killed in the entertainment department.

I think Kevin's Hierarchy of Needs hits the nail on the head for most of us BlackBerry owners, but it doesn't mean that we should set the bar so low that this is what we get in return.

RIM makes fantastic hardware. We all know that. They can do so much better than this. RIM needs that next step forward. Something more than the Bold. Something that has ridiculous amounts of onboard storage as well as removeable storage for media. We need to be able to flex our chest muscles and say that we have very rich games that are 50-150megs in size that look and play great. You know it's one thing to be real data conservative. I can agree with that mindset. But that should have no correlation to the amount of data that we have ON the device. Theres no reason that with Open GL, we can't have the same quality of games as the Palm and Apple devices. The market for games is still very much contestable when Palm is the #2 mobile gaming platform simply by porting games from the iPhone.

RIM, I set the bar high for you because we all know you can do this. You are right there in the same department as Apple and Palm with really well hardware/software integration and you have the resources, knowledge, and certainly the marketshare to make a huge impact. We know that the business model is definitely your biggest target and where a lot of that marketshare comes from, but you also have the clout with a lot of normal consumers to really bring something fantastic to the market.

Why am I ranting to BlackBerry on a Crackberry post? I don't know. Just venting I guess.

-BeeRad
@techjunky79

Nailed it! Memory memory memory. I've said it a billion times, RIM needs to put more memory in their handsets. Also, when programming a game in Java, you're not going to get a lot of "wow" out of it as apposed to other platforms. There's a reason 3D game engine developers don't pick Java for their code platform of choice, lol.
If RIM doesn't get it that they need more memory in their devices, they will not go where we all want them to go. It doesn't matter if it's for games or not. Memory is a necessity and they need to realize they can't make do with cheap ass amount of it. Stop skimping with the memory amounts RIM! :p

I just purchased the game an ta be honest I love it. At first I tried the free race and I was like damn this is too easy. Then I started the career track, and man that initial car is a POS I love a challenge. Yes it could have more detail and to be honest they could have made this game another 2 or 3 megs larger to maybe upgrade the sound or add more background graphics. I don't need 100+ on my S2 for it to run well, and I have a ton of other apps and themes on my Berry.

For the first real 3d game, (heard to many bad things about PBA bowling and that lame ski game for them to count) I think its pretty cool.

Hopefully they will allow us to use that waste of space 2gigs of onboard memory for app memory someday.

That memory is such a fracking waste of space when the device comes with a 16gig card installed.

While the lack of memory is a big factor in quality possibilities, writing games in Java is terrible.

There is a reason every other platform uses some form of C (iPhone uses Objective C, Windows 7/Zune use XNA aka C#, and both Palm/Android utilize C/C++) for game development, which also makes the code able to be modded to run on a new platform without needing a full rewrite from scratch.

OpenGL is a welcome addition to BB devices, but shit-tastic memory and using a crippled language to develop games will mean the BB will always have the lowest quality games.

Why are you all dogging RIM specifically about the game? Didn't EA make this game? Yes, RIM should, and probably will, open up the memory to allocate for the demand of 2010 but you all act like RIM made Need for Speed Shift 3D and thought this would be enough to tide you over lol.

I "hear" that an update is in the works for this version already. I would guess that is true because looking at the "About" page there is mention of copyrighted songs that OBVIOUSLY are NOT present in this game at this time. Perhaps they should have labeled this Need for Speed Shift 3D BETA.

You know, the Storm 2 had only been out what? 5 months? And they're finally getting games like this out here. Patience IS a virtue. But the consumer mindset, the iPhone envy that a lot of you display makes the wait much harder. Chill out folks. It gets better with time...

The answer is quite simple. RIM is responsible for the crap platform this game is on and hence, they are responsible for all crappy solutions made for it.

EA can only do so much for a limited platform. If you ask me, RIM must have begged them to step up and make this game to show the shows they were at. lol It's RIM's way of saying "Hey look, EA can make this game/app with the new SDK... please please won't you join them in making apps for our platform?"

RIM's looking for ANY avenue to help them save face... this is just one of them.

so if the memory is offest to the sd card, first thats forcing me to buy a card, and secondly that means i need that card too right, so i need a big card so i can throw music an stuff on there too right? so my card is gonna be expensive now, not ideal for if i lose my card, i need another one before i can play the game i paid for again, and thats prob half the reason that its not offset memory yet.

just my view

Are you retarded? Did you see me say anything about using the SD card for apps? :rolleyes:

Far from it! They need to make the memory increase with INTERNAL memory. The SD should be there just for media (pics, movies, music)... simple as that. Put 2GB or more of memory onboard and let's see what happens. Give the developers that level of memory and then see what they do with the app SDK and how wild they get with file sizes due to being able to build better apps since they are no longer concerned with space availability.

RIM wants app developers to write stuff for their platform... then they should give those developers what they want... MORE MEMORY!!! You can't spend your time making an app you want if nobody can download and use that app because it's too big. :rolleyes:

So I picked up this game, and love it,
The sound isnt the greatest

But I have found that if I just start playing my own music using BB music player, then start the game w/o sound that my music still comes through as im playing. (Note: the volume rocker doesnt work for adjusting the volume or switching tracks while playing, but mute still pauses the music)

Who cares if games are better in the iPhone....The last time I checked a cell phone was for making calls,texting and email. Which the BlackBerry is the best at. If you worry about game play buy a PS3 or X-Box....

lies in RIM's OS!!! - in my humble oppinion...
1-The company needs to make a new o.s.- for the modern person!
2-It needs to allow installing apps and game on the m.c.
3-Grafics(visuals) are at the top of list for changes-

-and here i come to the problem-
buying the 9700, 600kb game I felt very Ritarded- I acctualy used it twice(1time to show it to a coleague of mine remembering the good old comodore64 days)!!
Since i'm blessed of having 5-7 of the best high-phones out there, my heart bleeds when playing with the bold- the hardware's there, the looks there, the speed's there, the business aswell, but when it comes to enterteinig-its just dumb!! But, as i sad, i think RIM shoul change their way of building the O.S. cause there lies the bug...

this is an excellent example of selling an inferior product (this 3D game), 1 year late mind you, compared to what has been out there for quite some time. no matter what the underlying reason is.

I am venting, as the more I think of this game the more I am pissed. i feel sometimes that RIM is pulling a Palm or a Nokia on us.... huge market share, but underlying issues (in this case platform fragmenting, 3d horsepower, OS with redondant issues) with no end in sight for these issues.

I am a bit ticked off by this. I bought a storm2 2 weeks ago, I love the UI , customized themes, but I thought that the OpenGL integration in it would allow it to fully compete with the 3GS. I guess it has not happened yet.

You just can't compare the iPhone version and the BlackBerry... Even if i love BlackBerry it's just a shame compare to the iPhone. And in the test you just say better soundtrack LOL !

Come on... Be impartial on this kind of test

Can Someone please help me!!! i want this game so bad!!!, but in my country there are no available paid apps on the appworld i want to know if there's another way to get the game pleaseee!!

I think Kevin was right with regards to being able to store programs (and games) to the card as with WinMo. That's the only thing holding developer back from really designing detailed games for the S2. The processor is more than capable.

hey guys....wheneva i try to load this game it goes to the main screen and then reboots my Storm 2 9520....i m using OS 5.0.0.973 with platform 4.2 ....please help guys with any fixes....