Need for Speed: The Run Review

Need for Speed: The Run Review

We're now in the third generation of Need for Speed games and EA are driving the franchise harder than ever. We've seen two games released each year for the last three years and they've all been rather different affairs. There has been the illegal street racing games and those that feature the classic arcade police chases. The franchise has even dipped into the world of simulation racing. But with Need for Speed: The Run, the aim was to try something different and they certainly succeeded, just not in a good way.

Having a storyline in a Need for Speed game isn't a new concept, but with Need for Speed: The Run the developers tried to make it much more integral. You take on the role of Jack Rourke, a low life street racer who's not having the best of times, as he attempts to win a race across the United States worth $25 million. The tricky part of this, is that there are 249 other drivers that have the same objective and there are no prizes for second place.

The main problem here, is that very little actually happens throughout the game. There's the illusion of a story there, but in reality, it's all very flimsy. You might get a few cutscenes and quick-time events as you play through the story, but that's the most you can hope for. Given the nature of the game is to follow Jack's journey as he struggles to win this race and effectively save his life, it's quite surprising that very little was done to capitalise on this.

It's even so bland as to give you a short info-sheet of a driver before you enter into a rivalry race with them - they don't even bother with any proper back story or lead-in. This could have been intentional, after all, you're in a race with 249 other drivers - chances are you have no idea who they are. However, little is done to flesh out Jack's character either, so it feels more like an oversight.

With the differing format for the story, the gameplay has a rather different feel to it as well. And this is where the concept starts to shine a little.

Due to it being one massive long race, you're given objectives to accomplish as you race to New York. This might be to try and gain a certain number of places in a set distance, or it might be to take out a rival. Either way, it feels very contextual and promotes the feeling of a massive road rally.

The problems come with its depth. Outside of the occasional grand set piece race, there are only a few variations of race type that appear in the entire game. The only thing that ever changes is the location you're racing in. It's nice that not all of the stages are time intensive and the overall concept of "total time" is also welcome, but that doesn't stop it from becoming boring.


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