We’ve seen a few games in the recent years that have deviated from conventional ways of story-telling and justification of the genres they belong to, but out of the lot, the strangest and more appealing is the upcoming Need for Speed: The Run. We knew it was going to be story driven; but there were two things that really made the game seem strange and so different.
Firstly, as a Need for Speed game you’d expect yourself to do nothing but race in cool cars against other people – AI or real – who also have cool cars, or perhaps on other occasions chase as a cop or get chased by one.
What no one expected, however, was that a Need for Speed game’s primary focus would be the story of the driver, and that too in a third person view. Secondly, the strangest thing that made Need for Speed: The Run so eye-catching was that, for the first time in NFS history, the driver will actually get out of the car.
In Need for Speed: The Run, you play as Jack, who, despite having a rather bland name, has a shady past, which involves the police, mafia, or both. What Jack is doing is being on ‘the run’ from these dudes, and he’s planning a long trip from San Francisco to New York City.
We don’t know if it’s a deliberately planned trip, but the game is, speaking very generally, a gigantic chase sequence all the way from San Francisco to New York City, with regular stopovers in many cities that come in between.
The other thing that makes this game oh-so-interesting is how, as Jack, you’ll be out of your car running away from or towards people, as we saw in the gameplay footage at the E3.
Of course you won’t have the GTA styled liberty while on foot; in fact the on-foot chases or flees will be more or less scripted, with the occasional quick-time styled button pressing prompts appearing on-screen, with certain consequences for those with lazy thumbs that couldn’t hit the button(s) on time.
The other very positive thing in The Run is the use of the super-realistic Frostbite 2.0 engine, which is also powering the upcoming Battlefield 3. This allows a whole new set of graphical tweaks and elements, such as better environmental and car damage, accurate designing and as the developers said it, ‘easy iteration’.
The obvious plus with the use of the Frostbite 2.0 engine is how darn good this game will look, and we saw a good glimpse of that at the E3.
As seen in the gameplay demo at E3, Jack will be getting in and out of cars frequently, with the two being separated by QuickTime events while on foot.
Not everyone is a fan of QTEs, but as far as it can be seen it is working very well in The Run, particularly with the fantastic animations and graphics that are powered by the Frostbite engine.
As far as the racing style itself is concerned, the developers are aiming for a balanced approach to how the car handles, which would satisfy both the sim fans and those power-racing drivers who just love to slide on every corner.
When it comes to the multiplayer, not much has been said, except that it will be an included feature in The Run. However there will be no co-ops mode.
The Run is looking like a very interesting proposition. Though the idea of releasing two NFS titles in such a short time-span is a questionable strategy, it seems that The Run is a huge attempt to change the way people have started to feel about the NFS series. As far as the progress is concerned, it feels the it is right on track in doing so.