Sunday, 20 April 2014

Need For Speed The Run

In the time it's taken Black Box to make Need for Speed: The Run, we've had three other awesome NFS titles from other developers. While that's great for fans, it kind of spoiled Black Box's return to form. Need for Speed: The Run feels like a traditional NFS game, released after the franchise had already redefined itself.
What Need for Speed: The Run has going for it is that it feels more like an old-school NFS game than the last few "spinoff" titles have. Developer Black Box has been making NFS games for over a decade, and they bring a lot of that arcade style, nitrous fueled racing action back. Racing down snow and ice covered tracks, skidding along a turn and narrowly avoiding plummeting off the edge of a cliff face is exhilarating. Weaving through traffic on a crowded freeway feels tense and frightening.

Throughout the campaign, the scenery and gameplay constantly change as you race from coast to coast. There's a good balance of different race types. You'll go from a standard eight car race, to a checkpoint time attack, to a one on one mountain drifting battle, to a cop chase. It's very rare that the same type of race repeats twice in a row. The driving can feel floaty at times, but the car classes perform differently, and getting a good time can largely depend on good car choice. On the Normal difficulty the racer AI is, well, kind of dumb. They'll crash into other cars, police will target only you, and they'll miss shortcuts, even if you enter one right in front of them.
The locales are definitely best part of this Need for Speed. In fact, The Run has some of the most gorgeous and interesting set pieces I've seen in a racing game. The Rockies, Yosemite National Park,
San Francisco, even the New Jersey Turnpike are all lifelike and well detailed. Which is why it's a shame that so many of the tracks in The Run are boring. To be fair, they mostly match up with the areas of the country that are boring, too (sorry, the Midwest). But even some tracks that should be amazing, like the final battle race in New York City, are entirely underwhelming.
More than that, though, my biggest problem with The Run is the lack of options. I don't just mean the inability to customize and upgrade cars (which I personally don't mind, but is a big concern for many fans), but more that I can't fine tune my racing experience. After the campaign there is a Challenge Series which offers additional gameplay, similar to Shift's challenges. However, there is no
free race option at all in this game. Whether I'm playing by myself, or online, I have to choose from the preset Challenges with their car types and rules. Beyond the dumb story, the unintuitive way to switch cars, and any problems I have with the AI, it's these lack of features that turns The Run from my racing game of the holiday, to a weekend rental. I beat the challenges, I beat the story, and now I don't have a lot more to go through.

 And it's a problem because otherwise the online is set up great. I like how I earn bonus XP for nearly everything I might do in a race. I love that AutoLog is back so I can constantly compare race times with my friends. The playlists work well and the racing was nearly lag free in my albeit limited exposure to it. But then I'm limited to picking between exotic sprints or a muscle car challenge and my interest wanes.

I have to said that this game has awesome graphics and game play, though it needs high performance computer to run, if you love racing games? then you must play this game . . ., cause this game is one of the top 10 racing games in the world . . .

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