Need for Speed: The Run is the latest installment to the long running franchise.
The Need for Speed franchise has had a bumpy ride. Ever since Most Wanted, the franchise seemed to have taken a wrong turn. But out of the blue, games like SHIFT and Hot Pursuit came racing in. It was a great comeback for the franchise. The latest title, NFS The Run is developed by Black Box, the team behind Underground and Carbon. With their track record focusing more on illegal street racing, I was intrigued to how The Run would pan out. NFS: The Run is very ambitious, and when compared to previous entries in the series, it's very different.
Straight away, you will notice The Run is offering something different compared to it's predecessors. It seems to hold an intriguing story, and it's got that Hollywood feel about it. But unfortunately, NFS: The Run doesn't do well with story. In fact, there's not really a story here. You play as Jack, a guy who is on the run. A mysterious crime organisation is after him. He owes a lot of cash, and this leaves jack entering a large street race to pay off the organisation. The race, known as The Run, is 3000 miles long. Starting from San Francisco and ending in New York. It's a decent set up for the game, but the biggest problem is it never really explains why Jack owes so much money.
There's many action set pieces in the game. Jack has many moments that involve moving on foot to escape police, etc. Most of these moments require you to take part in quick time events. They world well enough, but you can only handle pressing buttons rapidly for so long. They only show up now and again, but it just feels tedious and can be frustrating at times.
Like any NFS game, customisation plays a big part. I admire the ability to max out your vehicles, give them new coat of paint, shiny rims, etc. But The Run offers hardly any customisation. The only type of customisation on offer is the vehicles colour. It's obvious that The Run isn't trying to focus on customisation, but it still feels like a let down, and a big step back from what the series is known for. With that being said, there's still a nice selection of vehicles, and they can be enjoyable to drive. Instead of going to a garage from a menu, selecting your cars is done by driving into a petrol station, which you will bump into throughout races. From here you can switch between your cars. You only have a few to begin with, but more are unlocked when progressing. You can also earn vehicles by completing Challenge series events.
The game is split up into different sections. Some require you to race past a certain amount of racers, whilst others have you racing against the clock in time trials. There's also drift battles and cop chases. It offers a nice variety and they change consistently throughout the game. The environments also make a change. You will go from the streets of San Francisco, to Snow mountains, the Nevada desert and more. It's nice to see a visual change once in a while, and it all looks pretty on the Frostbite engine.
At certain points in the game, hazzards will try to push you off the track. For example, rocks could come tumbling down into the road, creating an obsticle corse. Moments like this can be very thrilling, but they can also be fustraiting, due to the unfriendly controls. Many times I would find myself crashing into obsticles, or bouncing from one side of the track to the other. Whilst controling many of the vehicles feel slugish, it's certainly has a more realistic touch when compaired to Hot Pursuit, but it's no NFS: Shift.
NFS The Run has an interesting set up, and it does hold some thrilling moments. But when compared to the previous two entries, The Run feels very dated, and seems to have taken a wrong turn.
Review by Gareth Smith