Electronic Arts yearly installment of their Need for Speed Hot Pursuit-esque racing game has finally come out. The game was originally shown off at E3 and it brought me nothing but joy playing it as an action packed driving game and heavy duty policing to add a nice twist to my racing game addiction. However, getting into the game after release was a significantly different story!
If are just looking to see if you should buy the game or not, without all the spoilers, below I will save you a lot of time and say, don’t buy the game. It will give you nothing but heart break and have you constantly thinking “Really? that’s it”, but perhaps that was my fault for not assuming that “The Run” meant you can run through the entire game in 2 and a half hours or less.
More onto the game, when you first start out you meet a girl who informs you of a race that you can be apart of which has a nice payout of $25 million of which only 10% is yours to keep, if you win. After you agree and choose your car, you’re quickly thrown into the race, in 250th position, and have an allotted amount of rivals that you must pass before you can continue onto the next race. Initially, this seems like a great idea and I got really into the game because the game ran smooth enough, comparable to Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, until I got about 10 races into the game (30 minutes or less) and began to feel the tedium of constant cross country driving.
EA seemed to realize this and they added in some action where you are dodging bullets and some horrible police action while still trying to continuously make your way to first place in New York. This part of the game really did nothing for me aside from make it more annoying to play, especially the point were you are trapped by a helicopter and two random “mobsters” driving on each side of you and the game keeps flashing “avoid getting hit”, as if it’s even possible during those times. Unfortunately, the annoying mobsters aside, the police are also flawed as they don’t really know how to take you out (other then slamming on the brakes in front of you) or chase down any other car you’re racing against, removing any extra challenge it could have added.
There two major issues with this game, aside from those just mentioned, which make me almost never want to touch it again and just got back to playing Forza 4. The first issue. The load times. My lord! with only two and a half hours of gameplay during The Run I think there was at least another hour of just sitting on various load screens throughout the campaign. This brings me to the next big issue and probably one of the biggest contributors to wasting so much time and that is the ‘checkpoint reset’, now, I’m really not sure what they were thinking with this feature. You’re in a somewhat open world while you travel across the country, but some how if you go slightly off the track (sometimes less then 5 feet) then the game freaks out and puts up another loading screen and sets you back to the last checkpoint that you crossed. This is extremely annoying, especially if you just passed a car or the checkpoint was a while back because it can be caused by normal driving as you might drift off the track a bit. Either way, they shouldn’t have made such an open world if cutting a corner in the game is going to make it so you are set back such a far distance and one can only hope for an update on that.
I really hate to kick something while it’s down, but through my experience with the game I only had access to drive 4 or 5 ‘fast’ cars out of less than 20 other cars, without which it wouldn’t be possible to win a race. However, even with the limited selection of cars the only way you are able to switch cars is by going to a Shell gas station, which of course is only available in a very limited amount of races and, while you’re there looking at all your car choices, they appear to have left out any kind of customization for the cars other then mostly, bad paint job, which is disappointing considering the series history.
Now, I know I am making the game out to be this big horrible thing and well, it’s not all bad. They still have an online aspect which allows you to compare your scores against your friends like in Hot Pursuit, as well as compete against others in different race styles, which is fun as well and will hopefully help get some people get past the boredom hump that this game has and get the thrill that most Need For Speed games have!
So, in conclusions, the game is enjoyable when you first pop it in and get some good racing going, but it will quickly get boring. So, make sure not to play it all in one sitting like I did, drive like a bot or else you will get set back to your last checkpoint. The game is still a good piece of eye candy even close up on the characters faces. Pick up the game if you see it for $20, new (so you don’t have to pay for the online pass), otherwise it’s best to pass it buy unless you are really itching for some more Need for Speed.