Need for Speed: The Run is not your typical racing game. It's premise has been done many times in movies, but never in a video game racing title that I'm aware of. Similar to the Cannonball Run series of movies and TV show, Need for Speed: The Run tasks players with being the first to reach New York City from San Francisco in a fast-paced racing adventure you'll find nowhere else.
Jack is strapped for cash and basically forced to enter a race across the country with $25 million dollars on the line and over 200 competitors standing in his way. That's pretty much the entire plot, which is acceptable for just about any racing game. However, with a game as heavily promoted with Michael Bay cinematic videos as this one, I guess I expected a lot more.
Featuring the Frostbite 2 engine, Need for Speed: The Run is a good looking racer. My favorite thing about the look of the game is by far the surrounding environment. There are some really interesting tracks with awe-inspiring views. You'll drive through the barren landscape of Death Valley and across the beautiful mountain tops of Yosemite National Park. You'll breeze past the flashing neon signs that plaster the strip in Las Vegas, and roam through the beautiful forests of Appalachia. You've never raced a track type in any other reality-based racing game that you won't encounter here. The cars are also meticulously recreated here with tremendous attention to detail. The cars don't just look great though, they sound great too. You'll truly feel like you're there for every bone-shattering collision on a crowded New York City street, and every spine-tingling tire screech as you sail around a tight corner on the streets of Chicago.
This game isn't Gran Turismo 5 or Forza 4 so you won't get top of the line physics. What you will get though, is an arcade style racer that's an absolute blast to play. There are 50 events to complete which take place over 10 stages. Each event represents a certain stretch of road between the countries 2 sides. During these stretches your tasks will vary, though not as much as one might hope over the course of 50 events. You might need to pass a certain amount of opponents, fight off the mob as they attempt to destroy your ride, or pass a series of checkpoints within the allotted time. Even the lack of variety doesn't slam the brakes on the fun though. As it's the blistering sense of speed that gives you the adrenaline rush needed to see the story through to the end.
You can usually just stick to the racing in a review of this type, but that's not the case here. Black Box has added an almost unheard of element for this type of game, on-foot sequences. Yes, you heard that right. You actually get to stretch your legs and get out from behind the wheel from time to time. These sequences come in the form of quick-time events. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but it's definitely a nice change of pace and helps to break up the monotony.
Final Score 8.5/10
Need for Speed: The Run is a one of a kind racing title that will appeal to gamers in general whether they are gear heads or not. There's action, drama, suspense and even a bit of comedy. You really can't go wrong here and I highly recommend it to everyone, even if it's just for a weekend rental. Happy Gaming!