EA’s long running Need for Speed series sees another iteration this year, this one called simply The Run. Grab a car, strap yourself in and get ready to race across the states (America), East to West coast, against 210 other cars. Will you need the perfect run to topple this game, read on to find out.
EA offered a taste of this game a few months back at the EB Expo, followed up only days after by the console demo and it really sucked me in. I played the 2 Runs available o the demo to death, I was so excited when the full release turned up. So the game is set up with lots and lots of mini races. You start racing and instead of a circuit track its sections of road, sometimes through cities, towns or just long truck laden highways, it’s a race from A to B. I really like this idea as it does away with the boredom of going round and round a track, which turns me off most racing games. At the beginning of each section you get told how many you will be racing in that section, failure is not an option. Again a good idea, at first, but I did find this got old fast. You start a race and might get a few tricky turns, but if you navigate them correctly you can shoot past a few cars and only given those to beat cannot use your great driving to further influence the races outcome. I would have liked to be able to knock a few more off the past list as I flew around the track, not possible.
So you head out on the first race, a getaway, heart in mouth stuff as you attempt to beat the bad guys to a train crossing and your freedom. The story builds slow but once you’re in, it really grabs you. The characters I found to be a little shallow, but hey it’s a racing game and just to have a story line at all is good. The cars are amazing, which is no real standout for the NFS series, I guess we are spoilt and just expect to have a choose of Porches, Lambo’s and US muscle cars in our garage. That said though, you can fell the comparison between cars much better than in previous games. The addition of the Forza like reverse from a mistake option comes as a mixed bag though. In Forza the best use of the reverse was late in a crash after you knew the point of no return and just exited the building, with this however you don’t get to choose the reverse it automatically kicks in when you stuff up, not having the option to bypass it is annoying. Then the directions during the races got a little confusing in sections, arrows pointing one way, however the road forks and I want to take the other direction, no; the game reverses for you and places you in the right spot to turn when it wants you to go.
I know all that sounded like a lot of whining, but I did like this game, the use of the Frost Bite engine was done very well. I find it hard to imagine the same engine in this was used to make Battlefield 3, but when you see mountains being destroyed and cars crumbling in crashes you know it was the right choice. The game plays great and with the exception of some crappy acting and stereo typical cut scenes, the driving makes this game fun, although quite easy. The campaign will give you only about 5-7 hours gameplay with not much reason to go back and do it again, however it comes with a healthy online community and a few challenging drivers to combat to reach high spots on the boards. All and all I enjoyed Need For Speed: The Run, but with all the other games demanding more attention, this one was just a distraction. If you love racing game’s then don’t miss it, but it will really only last you a weekend (a really fun weekend, but only about that long).
3.5 out of 5 Drop Bears
Disclaimer: Need For Speed: The Run was provided by EA for review purposes, that’s what I call this, a review.