Developer: EA Black Box, Firebrand Games (Wii/3DS)
Publisher: Electronic Arts, Sega (Japan)
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Wii, 3DS, Mobile
Genre(s): Street Racing
Mode: Single-Player; Multi-Player
First Released: November 15, 2011
Played on: Microsoft Windows
2010 is done with Need For Speed Hot Pursuit and for 2011, we have EA’s street racing game Need For Speed The Run. In The Run, you play as a guy named Jack and you are a made-man, chased by some rich people for having so much debt, and there goes a racing competition that will take place from San Francisco until you reach the outskirts of New York city. Having heard of the competition, Jack decided to get in and settle all of his debts once and for all as his last resort, racing 1st. In the game, aside from driving, you will meet story sequences that will make you press something in your machine in accordance to what is shown on the screen. It is a Need For Speed Hot Pursuit game added with a story.
I finished the game just last week, and the number one thing I have noticed so far is that, the game is short, specially the Story mode. You race from San Francisco to New York from being the 200th placer and once you reach 1st, then you’re simply done. But anyway, before I tell you the real conclusion, let’s take a look at the graphics first. Below are some screenshots of the game while I’m playing Story mode, using none other than our favorite recording utility, Fraps.
If you have noticed, the car detail is quite impressive, a little better than how the cars in Hot Pursuit was presented. Lighting is quite nice too, making the terrain and the environment look much more captivating, also better than Hot Pursuit. If you have read my Hot Pursuit review, I told there that the game flawlessly works well, except the heavy loading times and the framedropping encounters during cinematic cuts. Well The Run loads faster but unfortunately, framedropping is still present and believe it or not, much more disappointing. There is also a large complaint by most hardcore gamers about the game.
The Run is heavily capped to render up to 30 frames-per-second only, so if you have Fraps installed and running, you’ll see “30″ on your screen most of the time, plus the framedropping issue, even if you have the fastest GPU out there. Well, if there is a fix, then that could do but it sounds impossible for a release. Here is a video of a race with Mila and her sister (opponents in the game):
Anyway, going back to the graphics, there are so many cinematic cuts in the game. One is the presentation of the stages, let’s say San Francisco, wherein the game shows how the stages will look like, just like the picture below:
It looks good at first as it is just an image, but sadly, the real thing is that, when you are actually playing and watching the cinematic cut, you’ll experience a lot of framedrops, resulting for you to get annoyed and skip the scene (if you could, but there’s no way!). In fact, the scene is made in low resolution, lower than your native resolution, and I believe, lower than 1280×720 (coz’ that’s the resolution I’m using while recording with Fraps).
looks much better, with almost no framedrops and the likes. Good thing coz’ that’s a real rendering of your GPU, not a video being played in the game or something like that. Actually there are a few scenes like this in the game, so cherish every moment you’ll see heavy effects like this, ok?
Back to the cinematics, I am so sorry I haven’t had any Jack-moment videos. But why? Well, simply because those scenes are really made up of crappy rendering, heavy framedrops and… well, annoying storyline, so leave it just like that if you don’t wanna see a disappointment. Sigh, they even used Frostbite 2.0 for rendering the physics of the scenes, but looks like EA Black Box forgot about the quality of the PC port (good for you console gamers).
Sounds. I turned off the music and played my own playlist in Windows Media Player coz’ I thought EA messed up with the EA Trax since the release of Need For Speed Carbon, loaded with crappy music. Sound effects are satisfying. However, if you were watching the cinematics, because of the framedrops, you’ll end up with the word “disappointing”.
Other than Multiplayer, you can still play the game in solo in Challenge Series, which is also present in most recent Need For Speed games. There, you’ll race to complete lots of objectives and earn rewards or earn experiences so you can level up your profile.
All in all, the game is good, if you’re into a street racing game like me. Played the game first on my 2-year old custom Core i7 Rig equipped with a “still kicking former beast” ATI Radeon HD 4850, with very good performance (videos were taken using this machine), and then transferred all my savegames and finished story mode using my new 17.3-incher Core i5 and GT540m-equipped ASUS K73SV multimedia notebook (works flawless too!) the night when my girlfriend also finished the game called “Life Quest”. The contradicts are the 30fps limit, the heavy framedrops and very short Story mode, however, I still enjoyed playing the game for an estimated 3 days. It might sound like another disappointment to EA Black Box (after failing to attract audiences in 2009′s Need For Speed Undercover), but it’s a good attempt to try combining a racing game and an action game into one. Good game! Crappy features…
Again, here’s another video of the game, with Porsche 918 RSR and Shadows Fall playing in the background:
|> Shadows Fall – Redemption