Need for speed: The Run is game 19 in the NFS Franchise. Time goes by fast and amazingly it’s been over 17 years since the original title was released. Your goal in ‘The Run’ is to drive across the US from San Francisco to New York in a special ‘Cannonball Run’ type race, battling against various gangsters and characters in order to claim first place and win the cash.
Where many driving games involve racing round and round tracks, the east to west coast journey takes in different landscapes and environments along the way. From the bustling grimy city streets of San Fran to the breathtaking scenery of Yosemite National park, almost each section offers a new challenge and visually stimulating vistas. I know technically it’s the same thing but psychologically you feel like you’re moving forward all the time, and it’s a great motivation to keep playing.
The graphics and gameplay are excellent and I think it’s the first time in a driving game I’ve ever been blinded by the sun.
While there is a small plot, it never gets in the way of the driving, which is ‘fast and furious’ as you may expect from a NFS game. There are also a couple of short ‘out of the car’ scenes, usually these involve escaping from a crash, or running from the police. I would have liked a few more of these as the game does get briefly repetitive in the middle section as you head through Nowheresville USA.
If you are familiar with the NFS franchise you will know it’s less simulator, more arcade (fun) than most driving games. Brakes are for wimps and the difference between winning and losing can often be the thickness of a layer of paint.
Once you’ve completed ‘The Run’ there is plenty of action to be had online, and as your driving experience grows, so does the proficiency of your online opponents. Bonuses are awarded for completing various milestones these range from icons and images to driver xp points to bonus limited edition NFS cars.
Search for a game in progress and you may find yourself having to enter a three stage competition halfway through race two, but you can create your own custom race if you want to avoid this and wait for players to join in. The Leaderboard also allows you to see how good or bad your friends are at each section of the game.
If you like racing games it’s definitely one to add to your collection, although I’m not sure how many times you would want to repeat ‘The Run’ part of the game once you have done it. I liked the way the cut scenes blend into the gameplay almost seamlessly but this leaves you waiting a few extra seconds for things to load.
The game is available on all formats but if you get the Xbox 360 version, a quick note about the new ‘cloud saving’ options available on Xbox Live. I had no internet one night but had already saved my progress ‘in the cloud’ on the Xbox servers, so I couldn’t access it, which basically meant I had to start from scratch.
My advice is only use the cloud saving if you play at your friends a lot, otherwise (especially on games such as The Run where a save is only a very small amount of data) there is not much point, and it will save any tears.
As the game finishes, the door is left open for a sequel and I had an idea of where to go next. What about NFS: The UK? They could start the game in the Scottish Highlands, with their amazing natural beauty, head through the winding roads of the Lake District, join the M6 in the Manchester and from then on battle your way through traffic jam after traffic jam, as you crawl your way to the finish in London.
The final leg could be a complete circuit of the M25 with all major roadworks and contraflow systems exactly replicated.
Hmmmm maybe not such a good idea after all!