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After two hard years of which EA games has worked frantically hard to increase the reputation of its Need for Speed franchise, it has gone and dragged its self back in to the slums with its new game Need for Speed: The Run. This game just brings back all those unwanted memories of what exactly pretty much destroyed it's outstanding reputation in the first place and has convinced me not to purchase any more of their games after this one, well until I see improvement anyway.
Having had a few high respected games such as Hot pursuit, shift and Shift two which was created by the Burnout Team at Criterion and Slightly mad studios, EA have took need for speed back to the EA black box, which did to be fair create one good game known as Need for Speed: Most Wanted, but another three disastrous games, Need for Speed Carbon, Undercover and Prostreet.
Very similar to the games mentioned above, Need For Speed: The Run, it is a kind of cinematic game, action-packed arcade racer which lacks any open world ambitions and the power of free roam, for a much more linear stream of events where by EA choose what happens for you.
To my surprise though, expecting Need for Speed: The Run to be remotely as bad as the execrable Need for Speed: Undercover, it actually wasn't. One of the most frustrating things about this game is that is is in actual fact, almost very good, but since there are a multitude of different faults that need addressing for this game, it in my opinion, is one of the most irritating games I have played so far this year.
So you might be asking yourself now is there anything good about the game, and if so what is it ? Well let me just tell you that the free roaming urban exploration of the Need for Speed Most Wanted/Carbon/Undercover cycle has completely disappeared which is very disappointing and probably one of the things that made the previous need for speed games remotely good, but they have also taken out those distracting, hideous video cut scenes at random points in the game. Instead, The Run is the tale of an illegal race from the West coast to the East coast of America, beginning in San Francisco, crossing the desert, the Rockies and the mid-western plains before ending in Chicago and New York. The downside of this is that you'll have to suffer an unbearable street-punk hero, some lifeless voice-acting and some wretched quick-time-event action sequences, but the upside is a glorious high-speed road trip across the varied terrain of the USA.
With DICE's Frostibite 2 engine in charge - as used in Battlefield 3 - Need for Speed: The Run frequently looks magnificent. Forza 4 and GT5 might deliver more detailed cars, but nobody has crafted tracks that look this stunning, and races through national parks and down treacherous mountain roads are full of lovely vistas with abundant track side detail. The race is broken up into sections, each consisting of several individual races, and while some of the urban chunks get a little generic, each section has its own look and feel and its own stand out moments.
Whether you're racing opponents and an avalanche or dodging the cops on a stormy plains road, The Run does a nice imitation of a car-chase heavy movie, and the crashes and general vehicle wreckage are brilliantly done. It's no wonder Michael Bay could deliver such an enticing trailer; The Run is right up his street.
And it can be hugely exciting. While the events are basically limited to straight races, checkpoint races, elimination events and boss battles - all with or without chasing police - the high speeds, strong course design and obstructing traffic do a good job of raising the adrenaline at times. In fact, there are periods when The Run is a joy to play.
My Rating 3/5*'s (Star's)
Need for Speed Run is one of the latest racing games from EA at the moment. I'm not a big fan of Need for Speed games but when I seen the trailer for Need for Speed Run I thought I had to get it. Luckily it was one of the gifts I received at Christmas.
When you first hit the main menu you will get the choice to race in the run, go on Xbox live or attempt to complete challengers in the challenge series. You can also enter the autolog by pressing the back button on your Xbox controller.
In the run you play as character called Jack Rourk. Jack is a small time driver who is in debt to a mob that has put a price on his head. The only way Jack can pay back his debt and remove the price on is head is by winning The Run. The run is a 3,000 mile race across the US against over 200 other drivers.
As you make your through the run you will have various objectives to complete, some of the objectives will require you to pass a number of opponents before you reach the finish, or you might have to claw back lost time in a time trial against the cloak. If you fail to get to a checkpoint before the time runs out or wreck your car you will be sent back to the previous checkpoint and lose a reset. As you get closer to first place in the run you will meet certain rivals who are also in the run, some rivals want to win by beating you to the finish and some rivals want to win by taking you out of the run permanently. Every rival has their own driving style and their own reason why there in the run.
As you make your way through each section you will notice the stretch of tarmac changes which means you will never get given time to learn where to brake or where to turn for a shortcut. In one section you will find yourself trying to dodge the busy traffic in Las Vegas and in another section you will be trying to find your way through the icy roads in the snowy mountains. In each section you will find gas stations on the side of the road. If you pull in to these gas stations you will be able change cars and choose different car kits and paint jobs. As you go through each section you will find that certain cars work better in certain environments.
Another thing you will notice as you go through the run is the new feature EA has added to their high speed racing where you have to press a range of buttons to get through certain scenes. Every now and then these scenes will pop up and pull you out of the racing action, forcing you to press certain buttons on your Xbox controller to get through the scene and back on the road. I really enjoyed these scenes as it was something different from just racing and each scene keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what's going to happen next.
Even though the storyline is incredibly short and can be easily finished within a few hours I really enjoyed racing through the run. One minute I was racing rivals and opponents the next I was mashing different buttons on my controller to survive. At times it seemed that no matter how fast I was going the other opponents would be the most of 2 seconds behind me but I find that better than being miles in front. The only thing I find annoying in the run is the loading times. It seems to take a well over a minute for each event to load up. At times I feel I could of put the kettle on and made a cuppa before the next race loaded up.
In the challenge serious you basically try and complete a challenge in the fastest time to earn a medal. The medals you can earn are bronze, silver, gold and platinum and there are over 40 challengers to complete. In some challengers you have to beat opponents and in others you have to finish with in a certain time while dodging the rush hour traffic. Every track in the challenge serious is from one of the tracks in the run and you can only choose from a few cars in each challenge.
I didn't find the challenge serious as fun as racing in the run and after completing a few challenges I got bored of racing round a track just to earn a shiny medal.
When you first go on Xbox Live you will be put in a player group were you can invite up to three friends to join your player group before you look for an online lobby. In each lobby you race with up to 7 other players on tracks from the run. Before a race starts everyone in the lobby will vote for which event they want to do. One event could have two long tracks across the desert and the other might have four small tracks in the city. After an event has been chosen a wheel will spin round and whatever it lands will be the bonus prize for the top three players at the end of the event. The bonus prize can be anything from a brand new car to extra xp points. There is also single and team objectives you can try complete in each race to earn extra xp towards your driver level.
I find Xbox Live good and bad. If the connection is good you can usually get a full lobby of players to race against and each track seems to be well built with lots of room for overtaking. I like the idea of an extra bonus for the top 3 sometimes it's a new car but it's usually extra xp. The annoying thing about Xbox Live is the ridiculous loading times. The loading times seem to go on longer than single player as at times it can take up to 5 mins just for the next race to load up.
Overall the graphics and racing in the run is great. The game is fast paced and the cars are how they should be fast with responsive handling. I enjoyed racing through the run there was lots of surprises from trying to survive by pressing a sequence of buttons to racing rivals with unexpected guests. Xbox Live racing is good but half the time you get lagged out or the game crashes and the challenge serious is quite boring as all you do is race round tracks from the run in different cars.
At £40 I wouldn't recommend Need for Speed the run as there are too many problems with the game. The runs storyline is incredibly short, the loading times are ridiculously long and there are lots of connection problems on Xbox Live. The game is probably worth picking up if it's within the price range of £10 to £20.
== NEED FOR SPEED: THE RUN ==
Need For Speed The Run is yet another game from the Need For Speed car racing game series but this time around it adds something different. You can now interact with the movies in the game. As you watch the movies a certain sequence of buttons will pop on screen and you most press or bash repeatedly to carry on with the game. Need For Speed The Run is astonishingly the 18th game in the series and one of the best in my eyes. The game was developed by EA Black Box and published by Electronic Arts and is available for the PC, PS3, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Apple Macintosh and of course the Xbox 360. The game also portrays like a movie with the cut scenes and also the story to the game is one of the best for a Need For Speed game. There are two different versions of the game one is the normal version and there is also a limited edition version available for purchase. Another great thing about the game is the fact the two main characters are voiced by Sean Faris (lead role in the movie Never Back Down) and Christina Hendricks (who has been in lots of TV series and films). Need For Speed The Run adds fast paced races and action sequences that are sure to get your blood boiling!
=== STORY ===
You are Jack Rourke who after a bad run in with a mob who wants him dead, wakes to find himself stuck in his car with his hands solidly taped to the steering wheel. He also notices that hes in the scrap yard just about to be crushed to death. After a scene Jack escapes and steals a vehicle and now the mob are hunting him down. He luckily escapes and meets with his associate Sam Harper and she tells Jack about a street race called 'The Run' in which is a 3000 mile race starting in San Fransisco and ending up in New York City. Sam tells Jack that the prize for winning this race is $25,000,000 but the only problem is that there are over 250 other races competing for the cash. He is also informed that the mob that wants him dead is also on his tail and the police are also on the lookout for illegal street racers. Now Jack must set off on his 3000 mile journey and tackle all the obstacles in his way. Can Jack beat The Run and earn the money he desperately needs to pay off his debt to the mob after him? Or is it already too late!
=== GAMEPLAY ===
Need For Speed isn't just about racing anymore because The Run involves much more than that. Your character Jack goes through everything in this game and I have to say the game really surprised me. The game has taken a slight step in a direction that other racing games have never before taken and in my opinion its good. The game is different and has a ton to offer gamers. There are a total of 3 proper playable game modes and all of them are fairly good. The main game mode is called The Run which is a single player game mode and where everything exciting happens. There are a total of 10 different stages in The Run and each stage has a certain amount of events but the best thing is the whole of the game mode is put together a bit like a movie and this works incredibly well. In the game mode The Run you will take on numerous events that will feature numerous obstacles and some of which seem like a normal car racing game. You will have races where you have to pass a certain amount of cars before the finish of the current track (keeping in mind its all connected to one big race). There will also be races where you have to pass through checkpoints before time is out and others which include beating rivals or avoiding things like roadblocks or the police force.
There are also scenes in which Jack will be on foot because he will lose his car in strange ways. An example is where hes involved in a massive crash and his car is turned on its roof on a train track with an oncoming train and you have to get him out before the train hits and to do this you must press or bash the corresponding buttons. Now this is definitely new to a street racing game like Need For Speed and it certainly offers variety. If you do get hit by the train or what ever else stands in your way then don't worry because you can either restart the stage again or you can use a rewind. Rewinds take you back to the last checkpoint you reached but if you are out of rewinds then the stage must be restarted. I'm not a fan of the rewinds because I feel they make the game incredibly easy with them and its barely a challenge. Also in this game mode you will be driving on different terrains and surfaces which can alter the way you drive. You will end up traveling in snow, rain and thunderstorms or even through deserts. Also your car can take damage so be careful not to get it badly damaged or you must restart from the last checkpoint or stage. You will also notices that nitro is back and better and there are now petrol stations you can visit to change your car to something faster or better suited for the conditions you're driving in.
Another game mode that is quite important to Need For Speed The Run is the Challenge Series mode. This mode is fantastic and features different routes and different events that you can tackle to try and beat. This is another single player mode and the aim is to do what ever it tells you to do but better than your Xbox Live friends. You also earn medals in this game mode which start from bronze and go all the way up to gold and even better. Each event has the medals and a time to beat which could be your friends or the computers. This mode is great fun to play and adds a lot of variety in the challenges. The other playable game mode is Xbox Live which is one of the main features in this Need For Speed game. You can compete in solo objective events against other people for bragging rights. You also have to pick a playlist at the start which features different things such as muscle cars which every online gamer must use one of their muscle cars. This mode is fantastic and definitely adds something new to a racing game. I'm not 100% sure how many cars are on the game but there are definitely over 70 unique cars. Also you now gain levels in the game which is accomplished by earning XP (experience points) from winning races or doing certain stunts and tricks.
Need For Speed The Run is very different from every Need For Speed game that has been released and this is one of the first games in the series that I can remember that doesn't feature things such as upgrade shops to install new parts to your cars or a shop to put some cool looking vinyls and decals or to get a new paint job. I also think this works to the games advantage because you're in one massive race to the end so there really isn't much time to customize your vehicles. The game does have a few problems which really annoy me because of how long I have waited for the game. The game tends to crash or freeze now and again and at first I thought it might of been my console but its doing it on my mothers and my cousins and I also know its not the game because they also have it. Another disappointment is the shortness of the main game mode The Run. Its one of the best modes I have ever played but its severely let down by the length of it which is very disappointing. On the game there are a few other bits to mention such as Extras which can be accessed from the main menu and it features the actual game manual to the game, a place to enter your codes for the game and a place to visit for some free goodies from EA. You also have an autolog to keep track of records with yourself and friends. All in all there is a lot about the game for it to be considered different but in a good way.
=== GRAPHICS & SOUND EFFECTS ===
Something that impressed me when I first played the demo to the game was both the graphics and sound effects and after receiving my game and playing it in full I was even more pleased especially because it had been touched up and made even better. The graphics are possibly the best I have seen for a street racing game and I have to say that the movies in the game are phenomenally executed with the way you can interact with them. Also the main character actually does look and sound exactly like Sean Faris which is a definite bonus to the game. You can tell his face has been put onto the main character and he looks like a really solid looking game character. Also what impressed me was the look and design of the cars and layout of each event because its really well crafted and suits the game tremendously. Plus the sound effects the cars give and the sound effects that take place in all of the action sequences are fantastic. I also love how the weather effects each race and how they are brought into the game. There are also a lot of surprises in the game that involve the graphics and sound effects but they all look and sound brilliant. It is definitely a plus side to the game and you will love witnessing the superb graphics to Need For Speed The Run.
=== DIFFICULTY & LONGEVITY ===
The games difficulty and longevity is a little varied because it all depends on what game mode you play and how you play the game. The main game mode The Run is very short but does get a little harder as you get further on in the game. Also this mode can be played on numerous difficulties which go from easy all the way to extreme. You can earn better rewards by doing it on a harder setting but it is quite tricky on a harder setting. 4 hours in and I had completed the main game mode which is pretty poor but because you have to go through on other settings it does seem slightly more respectable. The controls to the game are fairly simple but the movie scenes could be a little difficult if you have slow reactions because the button bashing pops up when you least expect it. Challenge Series mode is possibly the hardest mode in the game and that's mainly because its hard to earn the best medal available. Its quite simple to get anything from silver and lower but quite tricky to get anything higher and this game mode can last quite a long time because of this. Xbox Live modes can last a while and the difficulty varies with online play. Overall I feel the main game mode is short but its made up by the Xbox Live modes and Challenge Series.
=== FINAL THOUGHT ===
Need For Speed The Run has to go down as one of my favourite Need For Speed games with the likes of Most Wanted and Carbon. This is one of the first street racing games to feature something new and offer gamers a unique gaming experience. I also think the game is much better if you have your Xbox 360 connected to Xbox Live because of the online features. The thing that impresses me the most about Need For Speed The Run is the fact its not just a street racing game because it does feature one of the most enthralling storylines and some of the best action sequences to a game yet. A very solid game that has plenty to offer.
There are a total of just 36 achievements and most are acquired as you playthrough the main game mode and the others are spread through other game modes. I would definitely recommend the game because of the stunning story and because it really is something different and unique. Need For Speed fans that are expecting the same sort of game will be pleasantly surprised with the added features but could be slightly disappointed with the length of the main game. If you like a good racing game then this is right up your street because its racing at its best with the added bonus of action sequences that bring the game to life. The game manual can be found in the settings on the game. The game also has an age rating of 16+.
The price of the game always varies depending where you get the game from. I have noticed that a lot of online places sell the game cheaper than most game shops. I got my game for £39.99 from Gamestation and to be honest I don't usually pay that for games but I did do my homework about the game and played the demo so thought I would go for it. I have to say I am very glad I went for it too. The game is on Amazon for around the £34.97 which is quite a bit better. I think the game is worth it because its fun and quite addictive. The limited edition usually retails about a fiver more than the normal version.
The limited edition to Need For Speed The Run features a bunch of exclusive cars to use in the game and 5 exclusive challenges to tackle in the Challenge Series mode!
Overall one of my favourite Need For Speed games that I would give a very reasonable 9/10!
Review also on Ciao under the username: simon020187!