Need for Speed The Run Single Player Preview

When Need for Speed The Run was announced at this year’s E3, there was excitement because you were not only going to be able to see the driver you portrayed, but he would be getting out of the car.   If you were concerned that the emphasis of being able to get out of the car would distract from the driving, don’t be.  I got a chance to look at the single-player game recently and it was all about the racing.

You will play as Jack Rourke, a driver who has run across some bad luck lately and the mob has put a hit out on him. An old friend of Jack’s, and maybe an old flame, named Sam Harper has a solution to get him out of the mess he’s in. There’s a race to get from San Francisco to New York City the fastest. Sam has put $250K up that he’ll win the race. If Jack wins, Sam will give him 10% of the $25 million prize money. Problem solved.

Jack has five different cars to choose from at the start.  He has a BMW M3 GTS, a Nissan Fairlady 240Z, a Ford Shelby GT500 Cobra, a Chevy Camaro ZL1, and a Porsche 911 Carrera S. If only all of our garages graced such wonderful cars. Each of these has different handling and top speeds, and choosing one to your own personal preference will help you make it through each section of the run. As you get more more experience more cars will unlock for you.

The first major city you are heading towards is Las Vegas, but there’s plenty of miles before you reach it. You’ll travel through San Francisco, then head through paved country roads, and even encounter some dirt roads in mountain ranges. The environments are varied that you feel like you are traversing across the United States. You can even see specific landmarks for the city that you are in.

Each section of the race has different objectives. Sometimes you’ll just try to get to certain checkpoints before the timer runs out. Other times you need to pass a specific number of cars during the particular stretch. Another objective has you passing a specific car and maintaining your position before the timer runs out. This makes the gameplay more varied than just trying to go as fast as you can during the entire race.

Fans of the Burnout series will appreciate the way that you gain nitrous during the race. Risky behavior such as driving on the wrong side of the road and barely missing collisions with cars boost your nitrous. You also gain experience for power slides, getting big air, and passing cars in the race.  Passing cars cleanly will give you more experience than rubbing up against them though.

If you fail a specific portion of the section you are in, you won’t have to go all the way back to the beginning of the race. Instead there are checkpoints throughout the stage and you just go back to one of those when you fail an objective. They aren’t unlimited though, and the more resets you use the lower amount of experience you get. However, not having to replay through an entire race is really appreciated.

Hidden paths have long been a part of racing games, and Need for Speed The Run is no exception. These sometimes will be more difficult to traverse, but you can gain a lot of time by taking them.  They might be tighter or be on dirt instead of pavement.  It’s possible your view could be partially obstructed.

You might wonder how you will change cars when you are on this huge cross-country race and you won’t have your mechanic around. Gas stations are scattered along your path.  You stop there and all the cars you have already unlocked are available to you. There are times that I wished I could have changed the car I was driving because of a certain obstacle, but learning the handling of the different cars and adjusting to the conditions on the fly makes the game challenging.

Need for Speed The Run looks like it will be a great game when it is released in mid-November. The sense of speed really got my heart and adrenaline pumping.  If you haven’t been too keen on picking up a Need for Speed game for a while because of the handling of the cars, then be on the lookout for The Run. It truly looks to be one of the best yet.

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