EA Goes on The Run


EA's much-loved racing series is back again with an all new introduction to the line: Need for Speed: The Run. Although the main focus of any Need for Speed title is always on the racing, The Run mixes it up a bit by throwing in some Driver aspects in having the protagonist get out of the car and run around a bit.

You play as Jack, a man who gets mixed up with the mob in Chicago and must go on the run to get his life back. In what we saw during the demo, Jack must escape the mob and in doing so, he has to steal a cop car, which then puts the law on his tail. During the chase, its standard NFS stuff - high speed car chases with the cops hot on your tail. You'll have to swerve to avoid the spotlight of the police chopper because with the spotlight comes a hail of bullets and let's just say that the cop car doesn't handle like a Shelby SuperSnake with the license plate, Bad Asp, which is what Jack starts off driving. Each car will have its own driving personality and they won't be the typical cars you are used to seeing in games you've played in the past. While EA was pretty tight-lipped on what cars would be included, they did say that the Shelby SuperSnake was a prime example. Instead of going with the basic Mustang, they wanted something special and rare and that's what you can look forward to in Need for Speed: The Run.

Jack's ultimate goal is to drive cross-country from Chicago to San Francisco and the player will be driving through actual cities. In order to make the experience all the more realistic, the actor playing Jack was mo-capped with full performance capture. In fact, while the average mo-capped game has 20-30 facial bones, Jack has 90!

The demo had Jack being pursued by the mob and during the chase, his Shelby gets t-boned hardcore, flinging him out of the vehicle. Here, he takes up on foot, running down the streets and into buildings. He is forced to flee to the roof and to jump from rooftop to rooftop, initiating a sequence of quicktime events. When he eventually makes it back down to street level, he steals a car by beating up a cop, but this sequence was CG and you didn't appear to have control. Once in the cruiser, you have a timer set for 5 minutes in order to get out of the city and you have a certain distance to go, which is also counting down as you race to escape. The police chopper is overhead, with you in its spotlight sites, so here's where you swerve to avoid the light and bullets. You can hear the police chatter about your pursuit, since you are in one of their cars, which was a nice touch. As you go under covered areas to escape the bullet storm going on, you come to a train yard, only to have a fuel tanker explode in front of you, causing you to crash. You awake in a badly damaged car on train tracks with an oncoming train, naturally. This initiates another QTE to get your seatbelt off and escape. When I played this demo, this was one of the most harrowing parts, but I made it. You have to choose a direction and window to attempt an escape and pound on a face button to break through.

I like that EA is mixing things up a bit with Need for Speed: The Run, but that they aren't losing the main focus - racing. Look for it to scream onto the PC, PS3 and 360 on November 15, 2011.