After juggling the franchise with developers like Criterion and SlightlyMadStudios, EA & Blackbox is back to its own baby…with Need For Speed The Run. The Run essentially returns to its roots of a story driven racing sim complete with cop chases and a ahem…’story’. What EA & Blackbox forgot is that we’ve already had the taste of the better NFS games with Most Wanted, Carbon, Shift & Hot Pursuit. EA & Blackbox cant just throw a game in your face and expect us to like it.
The Run does have its moments. The hype was high as it had a story…but its a kinda story that anybody who had seen any Fast & Furious movies could churn up and written on just a single page. I am not saying its all that bad but the characters are so bland that you could give a rats ass about what they are up to. Especially the arrogant and jerk of a protagonist Jack Rourke. The story only gives a slight adrenaline boost to the races which already has it in abundance. The Rush via the excuse of a story was good.
This is a game based on EA’s brand new Frostbite 2 Engine, previously featured in Battlefield 3 and WHOA it shows! The game is really gorgeous…the locales, the car models and the character models (a bit more detail could have helped though). The atmospheric effects are top-notch and yes there are better games out there featuring better graphics but its a welcome addition in this franchise. The game has a gorgeous level design and it never gets monotonous giving an entire view of the locales from San Fransisco to New York. I would love to have these tracks on free roam but there’s no option to do that instead I’d have to play the whole chapter in order to get the taste of it. Yes there is a challenge mode indeed but its hardly the USP of The Run.
The racing was spot on…now this is one thing EA & Blackbox cant go wrong and I am glad they’ve done in right. The driving changes according to cars and terrain and I really enjoyed adjusting to each terrain and car. EA once again introduced quicktime events and I felt they were too distracting and annoying at times. It could have been better if the action sequences outta the car were just cut scenes but NOOOO…EA had to show off its Frostbite 2’s prowess in handling them ending in a very short yet completely irrelevant and frustrating set of quicktime events. Another thing is that the game is too linear…you had to be on the road at all times even a slight detour to the bushes or bumps off the road would reset you to the last checkpoint…its not that frequent as you can quickly divert back to the road but it had happened to me more than once.
Monotonous racing is another thing I noticed. The racing although enjoyable goes monotonous…its like race a set of opponents, checkpoint race, race with cop chase, a mini-boss race…rinse and repeat. It follows kinda the same pattern with quicktime events thrown amidst. The bosses felt like pansies compared to the blacklist members from Most Wanted. There’s was hardly any challenge in The Run. I took about 5 hours to complete the story mode and the race time was around 2 Hours and 17 minutes.
Seems like EA & Blackbox did more wrongs than right this time with The Run. A veteran like Blackbox didn’t even include car customization or an option to reduce the engine volume. These are small but unforgivable features for an essential racing sim. I am not saying The Run isnt fun..but something like this doesn’t live up to the name of Need For Speed attached to it.