Quantcast
Five hours with Need for Speed: The Run - Destructoid




Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android


Need for Speed: The Run  



Five hours with Need for Speed: The Run


8:30 PM on 11.04.2011
Five hours with Need for Speed: The Run photo



In a little more than two weeks, Need for Speed: The Run will be released to the masses. Before it joins the avalanche of holiday titles this November, though, I had the opportunity to play the game's single-player and multiplayer at length.

In a nutshell, it's fun. Multiplayer is entertaining, and the less-than-anticipated story mode is starting to turn me into a bit of a believer. I'm optimistic about The Run's release, but reservedly so.  

Need for Speed: The Run (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [both previewed], Wii, 3DS, PC)
Developer: Black Box
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release: November 15, 2011

If you haven't had a chance to catch our last preview, The Run casts players as Jack Rourke. A hothead who caught himself in some undisclosed trouble, Jack enters a high-stakes street race from San Francisco to New York in order to win the $25,000,000 prize and a chance to save his neck.

This increased emphasis on story has soured quite a bit of Need For Speed fans (myself included) -- particularly the inclusion of quick-time events (QTEs). After a good three hours with the single-player campaign, I have mixed, yet optimistic feelings about the story mode. It's a great setup for the game with a strong opening sequence and a race on the Golden Gate Bridge that I really got a kick out of.

But as the story goes on, it starts to feel paper thin in some points. Characters get introduced with only a few lines of back story during a loading screen, then after a race or two, they vanish from the plot entirely. For example, when I was leaving Las Vegas, en route to Chicago, a rival character's back story is mentioned in the loading screen, then I'm racing against that character in the next event. Our race ends with the rival's car spinning out of control and crashing into a fiery ball of sure-death. And that's all you see of him.

Conversely though, the minimalist approach to storytelling does mean that you spend less time in a cutscene and more time actually racing. As a setup for the Run's "cross-country illegal race" hook, the story works -- and works great at that. As a means to actually tell a good story, I'm not sold.

At the end of my time with the single-player demo, I found myself wanting to continue playing more for the actual racing than the story. It did have its moments, and a part of me does want to finish Jack's tale, but I'll take it more as a breather in between racers. Oh, and as for the QTEs, they still suck. The sequences they play in are actually a lot of fun to look at. I would have much preferred to just watch them as a normal cutscene. Luckily, I only had to play two of them during my time with the game, and they were over after a minute. 

The actual races in the single-player mode include the standard placement races where you have to finish first, and a time attack mode where you have to pass checkpoints to keep your clock running. The Run also features rival races where you face off against a single opponent with much more aggressive and intelligent AI. I did start to feel as if these modes followed a bit of a formula in terms of how often and in what order you play them in, but just a soon as I started getting tired of them, the game would throw in wild cards such as cops and environmental hazards. Hopefully the game will keep throwing in enough variance to keep things interesting throughout.

Once you've burned through The Run's story mode, players can hop into the new Challenge Series. Challenge Series is essentially a trial and challenge mode that takes tracks from the single-player and mixes up the races, cars, and track conditions. There is a good amount of variety here with over 70 challenges ranging in difficulty.

The first challenge I played seemed simple enough as all I had to do was finish first, but the aggressive AI made completing the challenge a task my skills clearly were not up to. Others took a few tries and some I just breezed through on my first attempt.

Like all the modes in The Run, Challenge Series incorporates Autolog, allowing players to post times against their friends. New to The Run is handy little feature that shows your friends' best times on a certain track or challenge on your HUD. Apart from bragging rights though, beating a buddy's time grants bonus XP and new cars, as does completing challenges. 

What's better than beating a friends best time though? How about just beating them. Multiplayer made its debut at this event, showing off just about everything. The core of The Run's multiplayer mode is in its playlist system. Playlist are divided by the types of cars you will be using (American Muscle playlist, the Exotic imports playlist, etc.) and what tracks you will play on. So while the American Muscle playlist may feature Mustangs racing through the heartlands, the Underground playlist will have players racing in tuned import cars down city streets at night. Each playlist also comes with its own unique challenges (pass 25 racers, get 50 feet of air, drive X amount of miles with nitro) for added XP and car unlocks.

Before heading into a playlist, players can take advantage of one of Autolog's newest -- and long overdue -- features. Analogous to the party systems of the Halo and Call of Duty series, Autolog now allows players to link up together online and jump in and out of playlists as a group. A curious omission from Hot Pursuit, but I'm just glad to see it finally here.

Once in an actual race, you'll notice that The Run handles its events differently. Rather than joining a race, playing, then going back to the menu, The Run actually launches a series of three or four races before players return to the lobby. This also means that whatever car selection you make, you're stuck with for the duration of the series. It's a curious decision, and one that has great potential for frustration.

In my time with the multiplayer, I found myself frustrated at times because I was stuck with a bad car selection for multiple races. One welcome addition is a new jackpot system that adds randomly selected rewards, determined at the start of a series. These range from XP multipliers for the racer that does the best overall, or car unlocks for the top three players in a session.

Another new edition to multiplayer is the ability to join a match that is already in session. Basically, players that join mid-race will be placed just barely behind the racer in last place. This will certainly lead to faster matchmaking, but then again, that does mean you are at the mercy of how far behind the person in last is. There is some balancing with this in that the farther back a player is, the easier they will gain nitrous. Even so, if the rest of the pack has a commanding lead over you as soon as you join, comebacks could be come that much more daunting. Jackpots could be rendered useless as motivation to players who join a session into its second or third race.

As a huge fan of Hot Pursuit, I want to love The Run. A few reservations aside, the campaign is really growing on me, and I found myself genuinely enjoying Jack's story at times. The Challenge Series is shaping up to be a great test of skill, and competing through Autolog in the single-player modes looks as fun as it's ever been. That said, the changes in multiplayer have my excitement in check. The jackpot system is brilliant, but locking in a player's car choice for an entire series could just lead to more players taking it safe with their selections, rather than experimenting and taking a loss or two. Being able to party up with friends together is a great addition. But joining a game mid-race just doesn't make the most sense for this genre. It'll be interesting to see how it all turns out come November 15th.








Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.





timeline following:
Need for Speed: The Run



7:30 PM on 11.04.2011
Michael Bay's full Need for Speed: The Run TV advert

A couple of days ago we learned that Michael Bay was working with EA to make a trailer for Need for Speed: The Run that would serve as a TV commercial. Now that the actual commercial has been released, our eyes can take a look and process it into our brains. It's directed by Michael Bay, has explosions, women, cars and yes, explosions.more



2:30 PM on 11.03.2011
Michael Bay and Need for Speed? It's for serial

In an interesting bit of promotional work, Electronic Arts has announced that they've teamed up with Michael Bay to produce and release a Need for Speed: The Run commercial via Facebook. Fans of The Run's Facebook page will a...more



7:30 PM on 11.02.2011
Need for Speed: The Run gets a multiplayer trailer

Much like sports games, I prefer my racers to be as arcade-y as possible. Real life is boring enough already. Why try to simulate that when you can hit a dozen home runs in a row, pull off an end zone to end zone Hail Mary p...more



3:00 AM on 10.27.2011
New trailer for NFS: The Run features The Black Keys

In conjunction with the release of The Black Keys' new single "Lonely Boy," EA has put out a pretty stellar trailer for Need for Speed: The Run that features the new track. The trailer does a pretty good job of showing off t...more



8:00 PM on 10.19.2011
Meet a model by beating her NFS: The Run demo race time

EA Games and Sports Illustrated have come together to create a rather unusual competition for the recently released Need for Speed: The Run demo. You see, swimsuit model Chrissy Teigen, who actually stars in th...more



4:15 PM on 10.10.2011
EA teams with Adidas for Need for Speed: The Run promo

Electronic Arts has announced a partnership with shoemaker Adidas to promote Need for Speed: The Run. Adidas has provided the shoes protagonist Jack wears when he gets out of his car to dash through quick-time event sequences...more



4:00 AM on 09.09.2011
EA unveils all-new Porsche in this NFS: The Run Trailer

One of the most attractive aspects a videogame can offer is escapism. Offering the chance to experience things that you just can't get in real life helps to satisfy that whiny inner child's vivid imagination. Take this ...more



1:00 PM on 08.31.2011
Preview: Need for Speed: The Run

I am a huge fan of arcade racers, and they haven't come in as sweet a flavor as last years Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Having already released Shift 2 this year for the driving simulation crowd, EA is bringing out Need for Speed: The Run this November, and it's sure looking to be a worthy successor to the adrenaline soaked madness that was Hot Pursuit. more



12:30 PM on 08.21.2011
Need for Speed: The Run an epic journey, biggest NFS yet

As a kid, I've always wanted to get a Harley and drive from coast to coast. Even though Need for Speed: The Run doesn't quite live up to those childhood dreams, I would be the last one to complain about Porsches, Zondas and a few hundred miles of track. We chatted with EA Black Box about where the idea for the story came from, its use of the Frostbyte 2 engine, and the new and improved Autolog.more




Destructoid Originals

3:00 PM on 09.28.2014
Radio Destructoid 045: Mario Poops

Radio Destructoid is our official community-focused podcast! Join Aaron "Mxy" Yost (Forums Admin), ConorElsea.com (US Community Manager), Beccy Caine (EU Community Manager), Kyle MacGregor (Contributor), and Mr Andy Dixon as ...more



5:00 PM on 09.26.2014
Hardline 30: D4 is weird, Blizzard cancels Titan, and Steam curators for days

Steven was too busy grocery shopping to attend this week's Hardline, but that didn't stop me, Brett, and Bill from talking about Blizzard canceling its MMO Titan, opium dens, Steam's redesign, the mean streets of Japan, Swery65's bizarre D4, and time traveling for the Tokyo Game Show. For the audio-only episode, you can subscribe on iTunes and RSS or download directly.more



4:30 PM on 09.26.2014
Dio in Skyrim: Part 3 - Don't "Taco" To Strangers

In the third part of our ongoing investigative series on what it would be like if heavy metal pioneer Ronnie James Dio was, in fact, a mage in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In this installment, we forget more lyrics, and Max's girlfriend gets home from work, only to find a very special surprise waiting for her. Is it tacos? (Yes. That's exactly what it is.)more



View all Destructoid Originals






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more