Need for speed franchise has been known for excelling the car driving games with their astonishing releases over the years. In the latest spree, Need for Speed: The Run is the raw and thrilling take on the adventure/shooting driving experience for which NFS has truly delivered the mark. The story is quite simple: You are Jackson “Jack” Rourke who after some bad dealing with Chicago mafia family is now running for his life. Jack owes them big bucks and if he does not return their money he will meet a cruel and wicked end. His associate per say, Sam Harper tells him about this massive illicit race from Sans Francisco to New York which is a 3000 miles long race and the winner of the race will get a massive reward of $25,000,000, which will get him through this tough situation with the mafia. However, this is not easy to achieve as Jack has to battle this race with 200 other drivers competing for several different reasons all hell bent to do whatever it takes to win the race (which is something the player will experience during gameplay). That is not all, during the race, the mafia family will try to wipe out Jack from the face of the earth as they believe that he is running from them and will never pay them back, for which they will go to any length not to let that happen.
The characters in this game are digital likeness of their real life counterparts such as Jack is Actor Sean Faris and Sam Harper is Actress Christina Hendricks among some others. Even though this is cool and fun to read but in actuality it adds nothing to the franchise in fact the characters are as emotionally deprived as ever in fact even less. Even though Sam is in a tight spot but his ever present grin on his face irritates the hell out of the player as he jokingly takes the whole affair, which considering the circumstances is a bit weird.
Need for Speed: The Run employs the usage of FrostBite 2.0 engine, which was specifically developed for Battlefield 3. Hence, NFSTR becomes the first non-shooter game to be developed by this engine. The graphics of the game will be talked in the graphics section; let’s concentrate more on the gameplay for now. NFSTR features the same plethora of cars which were featured in the NFS Hot Pursuit and probably more with some addition here and there such as Renault and some deduction such as Bugatti Veyron which I believe were unfair. So here how this works, you are Jack and you really want to win this race to cash big bucks to save your life. You are in the 3000 miles massive race battling with some of the best drivers in the world in the 10 parts/section campaign from Sans Francisco to New York and you have to come first. Pretty intense eh? Well it is, although in the start that is. In every race you have to come first, failure to do so will trigger a replay and it will until you win or deplete your replay option. In a race which is all about illicit and fun, the developers has bound the player not to choose his own fate. Every race feels like an arcade race and too much plot driven and as a result the race is a tiring 3000 miles straight race with no thrill in between. This gets intensify by the replay option which bounds the player more as it will not allow the car to move an inch from the road (sometimes) and an auto replay trigger will happen which will throw the player few yards behind to rectify the mistake. This replay tab is so restrictive that a simple takeover and dodge maneuver is pretty hard as it will trigger the replay option (this option cannot be turned off if that’s what you’re thinking). Also, the gameplay is rigged somehow, most of the time the player will feel the opponent’s car will slow down on some programmed stretch of the road allowing the player to surpass them only to find them coming at an impossibly supersonic speed when your car is superior in every possible way and you are hurdling towards the finish line with a super speed and NOS. But that is just the way they have programmed the race and some of the races you have to do over and over again because of the rigging.
Car selection privileges are pretty much taken away from you, here you are not allowed to swipe cars from the menu but you have to drive the same car until some catastrophe (quick time events) happens to you, thus ruining your car. That catastrophe is cops chasing you or the mafia destroying you with a chopper, only then you can switch cars. But the freedom to do so to choose the car anywhere during the race is not available which is pretty insane and frustrating. The only other option available is to stop at the gas station during the actual race to switch the car which is somewhat distracting and most of the time the gas station just pass by you when you are cruising at a very high speed even though reminder is sounded, also the gas station is available in some of the tracks (again frustrating). So you have these amazing cars, some of the finest in the world but you cannot fully enjoy them. Cruel and Sad.
As mentioned earlier the game uses Frostbite 2.0 as its engine which is probably the best decision the developers has made while making this game. The game graphics are beautiful from the car mechanics and visual to breathtaking environment ranging from suburbs to rural, from urban to industrial, from the sin city of Vegas to massive concrete city of New York. Kudos to graphics designer of the game for working so hard on this game. You will not be disappointed by the graphics in a least bit; you will probably crash here and there just looking at the surroundings which are so stunning and great.
A variety of races are featured in The Run ranging from sprint to time attack to one-on-one boss races here and there. Also, the opponent overtakes races are also there in which the player has to be in front of an opponent for some mentioned time before the opponent is eliminated. Weirdly enough this is the first NFS game to feature what is called a quick time events where the player i.e. Jack steps out of the vehicle and run for his life escaping either by cops or mafia. In this event, the player has to tap buttons on pre-defined locations to save jack such as jumping, running, climbing and ducking. You might think this is good but ultimately you will question the need for such modes, a modest cinematic would have been better sufficed. Also, a race type similar to those in Split Second is the environment destruction race where you duel one-on-one but also save yourself from the destruction of the surroundings.
NFSTR offers the Challenge Mode, where the player will get to race the same races over again earning platinum, gold, silver or bronze medals. Autolog is still present and you can take full advantage of it if you have an account from managing your profile to playing races and beat time of your friends. The cars in the NFSTR can be mildly modified by applying paints and body kits.
Multiplayer option is also available in which 8 players can race in a single online racea dn do much cooler stuff.
If you are a Need for Speed diehard fan than this a must game for you, however, you will be disappointed in more ways you can imagine, thankfully the graphics of the game is so enchanting that you will forgive the lapses and enjoy the game. The concept and story of the game is very good only if the developers have done it right. The adrenaline rush of the signature NFS thrill is still there. For those who are casual NFS fans might lay this off and instead pick up Motorsport Forza 4 if you have Xbox 360 or play Split Second.
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