Need For Speed: The Run – E3 Preview

June 8, 2011 Written by Joseph Peterson

The Need For Speed series is one of the longest running game franchises from Electronic Arts, and this latest iteration is actually the 18th title in the series, which began back in 1994 on the original PlayStation. EA and EA Black Box have decided to return to a more story driven title, now bearing the name Need For Speed: The Run, which we had a chance to get our hands on here at E3.

The game is being described as an “illicit” high speed racing title, and is also the first Need For Speed game to use actual cities located in the United States. Need for Speed: The Run will not only feature U.S. cities, but also all of the locales between San Francisco and New York, focusing on the drive across the United States.

The Run offers more than just a run-of-the-mill racer, seeing as how in this game you will find our main character, Jack, out of his actual vehicle. It was stated that it will be less than 10% of the story, and though this is a small amount, this will aim to add to the immersion of the high speed racer.

Black Box in Vancouver has returned to deliver their first Need For Speed title in over three years, working on the narrative story for The Run as well. They have been working on the game for around two and a half years, teaming up with DICE to integrate Frostbite 2.0 into the game – the one used in the gorgeous Battlefield 3 – and, while this isn’t as good as Battlefield, the game still has amazing visuals for a multiplatform racer.

You will be racing through cities, running from cops, etc. all at extremely high speeds. In a game with this much emphasis of manoeuvrability  and speed the handling of the cars must be good. The controls of The Run are fantastic, not too arcadey nor a pure racing simulation. Presenters of the game described it as “in between Hot Pursuit and Shift”.

During the presentation and hands on we were running from the cops – in a car that is – and one scene included a helicopter chasing us, with Jack needing to avoid the spotlight emitted from the eye in the sky. If we happened to stay noticed by the chopper it would then begin to shoot us in attempts to get us off the road. To show certain explosions or events, the game took the control away and drove the car for a few seconds, sadly this can spoil some of the game’s immersion, but it is by no means a game breaking feature.

Players were then treated with one of the out of vehicle events with the character Jack. You must use a series of button sequences in certain scenarios, and if you happened to fail too many times and run out of time then you will get a game over in dire situations. The on foot levels are basically quick time events strung together, rather than allowing you true freedom of movement, but they offer a nice change from racing.

Another thing that will be making a return to The Run is the Autolog system which was introduced in Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. Only details that were revealed were that you are able to compare single player times to friends. Nothing was told about a multiplayer experience as of yet, hopefully something will be revealed soon.

Be sure to stay tuned to PlayStation LifeStyle on future news on Need For Speed: The Run, and look out for a ton more previews later today.