NFS: The Run on PS3, XBOX 360

Need for Speed is the most successful racing series in the world, and has sold over 100 million copies since the series began in 1994. However the past few instalments have been rather poor quality, and serious gamers have instead taken to the Forza and Gran Turismo series instead. However NFS is back with a very interesting looking title, NFS: The Run. Question is, will this game restore the honor and glory NFS has lost, or is the series doomed to be forever mediocre?

I started off by having a look at the story. The player takes control of Jack Rourke, who is indebted to the mob for no adequately explored reason. In order to pay off his debt he needs to finish first in a street race from San Fransisco to New York that is filled with crashes and explosions and all other sorts of cheesy manly gimmicks. Michael Bay did a trailer for this game and I can see why. Its got the same mindless action and adrenalin that are in most of his movies. However just like Micheal Bay movie you feel... excited. Something about the crazy action just draws you in, no matter how ridiculous it is. The idea of a cross country race is also very interesting and has never been properly explored in a video game before as far as I know. You'll have 180 miles of track to race on so its more than just a song and dance to draw you in. Overall despite the cheesiness the story grabs you by your seat and does not disappoint.

Next up is gameplay. NFS is known for its arcade style street racers. The closest its ever come to a simulator style game is NFS: Shift which was still a little less than realistic. It holds with this style in The Run. Although less noticeable than in hot pursuit the disregard for physics is still there. This is most evident when cornering as your car will go into a wall hugging impossible drift if you go fast enough. NoS is refueled automatically which is more homage to the arcade style of this game. There are a few different race types, the most common being sprints where you have to pass everybody and time attacks where you have to make up lost time. Multi-player features the same game modes as the last NFS. Nothing really new or revolutionary there. The Run maintains NFS' arcade racer properties rather than attempt to compete with Forza's and GT's track racers.

As far as graphics go The Run may have a leg up on other racers. It is the first racer to get DICE's Frostbite 2 engine. It has definitely improved the graphics by quite a bit. The roads and scenery are detailed and the cars look showroom fresh. But Forza and GT have perfectly good graphics themselves and as such, the debate on which is best is largely opinionated.

Final verdict time. NFS: The Run delivers in the areas of story and graphics thanks in no small part to the Frostbite 2 engine. It is still the number one street racing series and is the closest you can get to having a state of the art arcade game in your house without spending a few thousand dollars. However NFS just isn't as enjoyable as it used to be, and that's not entirely its fault. In the years since its rise to the top there have been more innovations in realistic and track racers that attract gamers more than the sliding and drifting of street and arcade racers. Still if only for the story this game is worth picking up used, and that's all you'll get if you buy it used since EA requires game vouchers to play online and it's unlikely someone returned an unused one to the store in the box. Overall this game gets a 6 out of 10 on my scale, which isn't great but certainly a step in the right direction. The Run could lead the path for many NFS games to come.





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