E3 ’11: NFS The Run Preview
Enter the race of a lifetime
The Need for Speed franchise is one that has been running for a healthy number of years, and true to form EA had another ace to add to the franchise at this year’s E3. The latest installment is called Need for Speed: The Run, and promises to deliver more action than previously seen in any NFS title.
Developed by Black Box Studios and running on the Frostbite 2 engine, the demo starts off with your main protagonist Jack running from a group known funnily enough as ‘The Mob’. The first segment of the game played out like any standard race against other opponents, until your car is rammed in the side by The Mob and Jack is forced to flee the scene. This is where things get a little bit interesting – in a first for the series, Jack actually steps out of the car and into the game environment. But rather than give you free roaming, you’re forced to watch Jack run or interact with things in rather lengthy cutscenes. The only player interaction that occurs during these scenes is in the form of quick time events. For example, when Jack is running across rooftops, you’re required to mash the X button to make him run, and tapping the triangle button will have him leap gracefully from roof to roof. Miss out on pressing the button and you’ll be given another QTE prompt, but if you mess that up then you’ll have to restart that segment again. The QTEs also add a minor puzzle element to the game, as seen in one section of the demo where you have to try and break the correct car window to escape from your overturned vehicle. While the QTEs will be another first for the franchise, they won’t appear very often or in races, as this was a concern raised by many fans when the announcement was first made.
The game will feature the Autolog system to help you keep track of yours and your friends’ progress through the game, as you race across the USA from San Francisco to New York. This is also the first game to use real world locations, so many landmarks and famous sites will make an appearance. The game itself looks gorgeous, thanks to the polished engine that it’s running under the hood – buildings and street lights blur as you drive past, red and blue lights from police sirens flicker on the roads and tunnels; it’s probably going to be one of the best-looking NFS games to date.
NFS: The Run will feature an in-depth story and multiplayer, but as of yet no further details have been released. The demo certainly captured the thrill of a high-speed race across Chicago, and it’s going to be interesting to see what Black Box will be doing in the long months ahead before the game releases in November.