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Need for Speed: The Run

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Need for Speed: The Run
How about you run away from this atrocity...
Protagonist(s): Jack Rourke
Genre(s): Racing
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
Xbox 360
PlayStation 3
Nintendo 3DS
Release: November 15, 2011
Discontinuation: May 31, 2021
Engine: Frostbite 2
Developer(s): EA Black Box (PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Firebrand Games (Wii, 3DS)
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
Country: Canada (EA Black Box)
United Kingdom (Firebrand Games)
Series: Need for Speed
Predecessor: Shift 2: Unleashed
Successor: Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012)

Need for Speed: The Run is an arcade racing game, the 18th title in the Need for Speed series and the last Need for Speed game developed by EA Black Box, as they're shutdown in 2013.

The game, along with several other NFS games, were delisted on May 31, 2021. Servers for the game has been shutdown on September 1st, 2021, two months before its tenth anniversary.

Bad Qualities

Black Box's Version (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

  1. This game, like Black Box's previous games, is extremely rushed. Not only is it very short, but bugs, glitches, and crashes can also happen at any point in the game. You can really tell that Black Box had ambitions for this game but EA yet again couldn't bother to give them more time for it. Sadly for that reason, this game would be the end of what was once a legendary studio that produced timeless racing game masterpieces.
  2. This game takes a very unique approach of making a game-movie (scripted linear single-player mode) out of a racing game. For games like this, you need a great story and brilliant game mechanics to make it work, but this game delivers neither of them. This game threw away free roam (one of NFS's best strengths) in exchange for a very broken linear story, which is why it is not particularly popular among the NFS community.
    • The story is very short and confusing. For example, we can barely know anything/anyone behind The Run (the in-game race) itself. Also, it is never explained why Jack owes the mob money in the first place. Some of the already-defeated rivals even magically reappear in front of Jack with no explanation whatsoever. Marcus Blackwell (the game's antagonist) however is understandable due to him attempting to kick Jack out of the race.
    • Plot hole: Before entering Las Vegas, when Jack refills his car at a petrol station while he encounters Nikki and Mila, he is seen wearing a grey Adidas T-shirt, and even gets into the car (after both of them leave him) still wearing it. But when he wins the race against them, he is seen wearing his jacket. Did he try to put it on while driving?
    • The game somehow manages to inherit action-esque features from Grand Theft Auto such as the game intro where Jack tries to escape from being killed in a car crusher, and the QTE cutscenes where he fights off and escapes cops and gang members as well as parkour performance in Chicago after his car gets destroyed.
    • Speaking of the game intro, it is extinct from the other NFS games, since those games start with character introduction and races, but this one starts with the protagonist literally about to get killed in a car crusher, and escaping the mob.
    • Unskippable cutscenes and QTE. Because the story isn't the best, it can be painful to sit through them during replays.
    • Cops' portrayal is extremely bland outside of certain cutscenes. In fact, every single one of them is actually voiced by the same guy who didn't even bother to change his voice a bit.
    • Gas stations feel like an afterthought because they completely kill the pacing of the game. The whole world stops and waits for you to choose your car.
    • The scripted nature of the game is straight-up outrageous:
      • From the The Run Mode (Story Mode), to the Challenge Series, nearly all the actions of opponent racers, cops, the environment, and even some traffic cars are very fixed and predictable (albeit when bugs occur). This may be fun for the first time, but also severely decreases replay value.
      • You cannot drive off the track at all. Even the slightest going outside of the road will consider you as doing such. This will cost you a Checkpoint Reset every time you do so, but after an update, it will just reset you right where you are without spending one, yet even that is still nonsensical. Not even the Shift Sub-series, a realistic racing simulation series, is this punishing.
      • AI will rubberband like hell to prevent you from reaching them until certain checkpoints. But this time, they're not even trying to hide it. During the finale, the final boss, Marcus Blackwell, can go up to 500 kph (313 mph) right in front of you.
    • The driving mechanics are not the easiest to adapt either. Despite being grip handling, cars can slide fairly easily.
    • Irritating and unskippable crash cutscenes are still a thing. Also, they are much easier to trigger than in Hot Pursuit (2010).
    • Wrecking cops only give you a meager amount of XP. Actually, wrecking them will trigger an unskippable cutscene that will often slow you down to a degree that you are pretty much guaranteed to lose the race.
  3. Obvious reuse of tracks in the The Run Mode. Some of the highways (in very different places) are clearly the same track in different directions and/or environments. One of the tracks was used even 4 or 5 times.
  4. There is a timer on loading screens. No matter how you upgrade your hardware, you always sit through the exact same time. It's not like the screens say any vital information either. It is very wielding that other games use many ways to eliminate loading screens while this game actively extends them.
  5. The entire Challenge Series Mode is made of glorified time trials. You do get different race types, but you still have to finish them in time to get medals.
  6. The game does have a seemingly long car list (presets included), but the selection is incredibly narrow. In the The Run Mode, you can only use Tier 4 or 5 cars (thankfully you can swap for other cars using a glitch), and a lot of the Challenge Series events also limit your car selection to one or two, making said list pretty pointless.
  7. Customization barely exists. First, only pure stock cars can be customized. Then, the customization only contains some fixed, pre-selected body kits and liveries. No performance customization at all.
  8. The legendary cars in classic NFS games do return, except all of them are lame replicas with none of them even getting the car models right. Some of them, especially Rachel's Nissan 350Z (Z33) (which is a 370Z (Z34) replica here) and the Most Wanted BMW M3 GTR (E46) (which is an M3 GTS (E92) replica here), are very hideous even by themselves.
  9. This game focuses on multiplayer gameplay way too much. For example, more than half of the aforementioned long car list is unlocked within multiplayer progress. Speaking of which, many of the barely selectable cars in single player get a lot more appearances in multiplayer too. After the Italian DLC update, some multiplayer-unlockable-only cars were added that are rotated per week (you can only unlock one of them every week). Since the rotation is long gone, they will never be unlocked without using modifications.
    • The Xbox 360 version exacerbates this problem, as unlocking them requires the player to pay in order to get an Xbox Live Gold Membership, which is required for Multiplayer.
    • After the online servers got shut down, a huge portion of this game's replay value is gone forever. Also even more bug occurs thanks to the game constantly connecting to the server.
  10. Similar to previous games (starting with ProStreet), no kinds of DLC for the PC version except a handful of cars. At the very least they are free on that platform.
  11. If you play the game with V-Sync disabled (which caps the framerate to 30 fps), the engine sounds are glitched and the snow particle completely blocks your view.

Firebrand's Version (3DS, Wii)

  1. Yes, you saw the title. 3DS (a handheld console) and Wii (a family console) shared the exact same version of this game. The Wii version is actually ported from 3DS because they had no time to create a new game. All the oversimplicity of the Wii version comes from this reason.
  2. Laughably bad story that's full of plotholes along with extreme stupidity of the main characters that make it feel like it was written by a 10-year-old, topped off by voice acting that tries to be dramatic but instead sounds silly.
  3. Pace-killing stuff happens everywhere.
    • You are forced to reset if you go under 60 mph (96 kph).
    • QTEs are now integrated in driving now, coming out of nowhere. Some of them are also extremely broken. At least they are hilarious to watch.
    • Unskippable slo-mo takedown cutscenes like in Payback.
  4. The Run mode is even more scripted than Black Box's version (forgivable considering it's essentially a 3DS game) with even more outrageous rubberbanding.
  5. There are only highway tracks in this game, making it very tedious. Because the engine is constantly at the redline, the very monotone sound may cause you to fall asleep.
  6. The soundtrack is completely different from Black Box's version. It is also unfitting to the game's theme. Although it does contain some excellent remixes of classic NFS soundtracks that should have been included in mainstream versions of NFS games in the first place.

Good Qualities

  1. Fairly accurate adaptation of some cities in the US such as San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago, and New York. However, highways are a whole different story.
  2. Being a game trying very hard to be a movie, there are very beautiful graphics and scenery combined with epic events, such as the avalanche run and mob chases.
  3. If you fail one of the QTE prompts, another prompt is available for you to continue without completely failing the mission. One example is in Chicago where if Jack was to fail to fight off the cop and then the cop gets hold of him, you have another QTE where Jack attempts to free himself from the officer, and then the rest of the cutscene continues.
  4. At least this game has proper grip handling instead of the Burnout-ish brake to drift that plagued the following NFS games.
  5. Sound design is actually brilliant. Again thanks to the very movie-ish approach.
    • Cars do sound very nice.
    • The Rock-based soundtrack is very fitting to the American theme of this game. The original score by Brian Tyler & Mick Gordon (who composed soundtracks for games such as DOOM (2016) and Wolfenstein II to name a few) is also amazing.
    • This game also has a unique feature in the audio settings, which allows you to modify the Race Music, so it can focus more on a Racing or Hollywood film experience. That means that people who want pure Racing music can get so, and vice versa.
  6. Some designs of the Preset cars are very decent.
  7. Brian Tyler serves as the composer of this game (known for his works in the Fast and Furious series, the Formula 1 theme and even the Universal Pictures intro to name a few.) and his score is excellent, as it fits well to a game trying hard to be like a Hollywood blockbuster.
  8. Although it tarnished the series a bit, it is not as bad as this game.


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