Need for Speed: The Run Preview
It has been quite some time since a Need for Speed effort has entered my “most anticipated” list for a holiday season. Last year’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit turned out to be an excellent racer and one of those games that gives you tremendous bang for your buck, but it was still…predictable. That’s not a bad thing, as racers are typically racers. But what’s this Need for Speed: The Run? A story-driven adventure with an actual narrative to accompany the racing gameplay? The Frostbite 2 engine driving everything forward (pun intended)? Okay Black Box, you’ve got my full and undivided attention.
The story involves the main character, Jack, who got involved with the wrong crowd and now finds himself in quite a jam. The only way out is to win an epic cross-country race; one that starts in San Francisco and ends in New York. Along the way, he’ll get behind the wheel of quite a few awesome vehicles, including the Audi R8 Coupe 5.2 FSI Quattro, the BMW E92 M3 GTS, and the McLaren MP4-12C. It just ain’t Need for Speed without a McLaren! You’ll take these super speedy cars through plenty of our greatest cities, so prepare to visit Las Vegas, Detroit, and Chicago, among other landmark towns. The constantly changing environment is a huge plus.
But then we get to the interesting part- we’ll get out of the car during our trip. It makes perfect sense in terms of reality but we’ve never gotten out of the car in the entire history of the NFS franchise. So can Black Box create a standard action mechanic that doesn’t drag the game down? Well, apparently, quick-time events (QTEs) handle all the action when wandering around, so when you aren’t behind the wheel, it might feel a lot like Heavy Rain. And provided this is done correctly, that isn’t a bad thing, either. As for the driving, we can expect a blend of simulation and arcade-style physics, as the game will be both accessible and challenging.
We’ve learned that while the default controls will be simple and approachable, veteran racers will be given the option of “in-depth controls.” In all honesty, I’ll opt for the simple controls; this isn’t Gran Turismo; I kinda want a Burnout-like experience. In regards to the multiplayer, we’ll get online and local fun, and there will be plenty of incentive to participate online; doing so unlocks cars and other perks. Oh, and what may be the new staple of NFS, the Autolog, will return. Given all this information and the fact that Black Box is using the same engine DICE is utilizing for Battlefield 3…yeah, I think my excitement is justified.
Need for Speed: The Run races onto store shelves on November 15 in the US and two days later in Europe.
6/28/2011 Ben Dutka