Petrolhead gamers of the last decade are undoubtedly more than familiar with the name Need for Speed, and in the last few years the franchise has undergone something of a redefinition of itself and of the racing genre.
The Run, Need for Speed’s newest instalment, essentially sticks to the traditional street racing side of things, while adding a supposedly ‘gripping’ storyline on a par with The Fast and the Furious series. The story itself is rather simplistic, though — players assume the role of Jack, who finds himself in some trouble with the mob so enters a cross country race from San Francisco to New York to win enough money to square his debts. But given the carnage that ensues as they pursue him across the country, there is little in the way of supplementary backstory to justify the destruction that engulfs the highways of the US.
Despite this the graphics are stunning and the locations for the races and the designs of the cars are almost spotless, lending some lifeline to a game that seems a little too arcadey to justify its price tag. Essentially The Run is an enjoyable (but short) racing experience, if a little repetitive and linear at times, but it is held together by a promising but ultimately threadbare plotline, and unfortunately the biggest shortcoming of what was suggested to be a great new instalment of a well-established series. That said, The Run can be exciting, but the adrenaline rush of narrowly avoiding skidding off a precarious cliff face loses its novelty value fairly rapidly.
Much like a new car loses its value, The Run’s replay credentials plummet despite being a faithful successor to the Need for Speed tradition.
Need for Speed: The Run (2011), published by Electronic Arts, is available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC and Nintendo 3DS.