Game: “Need For Speed: The Run”
Since its first inception on the original PlayStation in 1994, EA have always tried to set Need For Speed apart from other games in the genre. As well as circuit racing, Need For Speed offered point to point sprints, racing against traffic and trying to escape the police. Fast forward to 2012 and throw in a storyline and a few touchscreen extras and there is the latest instalment, Need For Speed: The Run.
The game has a linear story as ever. The “Run” is a race from San Francisco to New York with a huge pot of cash up for grabs. Using various cars acquired in, shall we say, less honest ways, stock car racer Matt has to get from one end of the country to the other, win The Run and pay off his debts. Think of this as the American Equivalent of the Gumball Rally but with less jokes and more police chases.
A simple story also stretches to simple gameplay, holding the R shoulder button accelerates and the A button activates the nitro boosts. Occasionally, the game will throw out mini challenges to use the touch screen in certain ways. This annoyingly disrupts the flow of play and the rush for the stylus usually ends with a frustrated player having to restart from the previous checkpoint.
With Need For Speed: The Run’s point-point style each level is roughly the same, having to race up the ranks, avoiding police and traffic as you aim to beat your mysterious rival. Mysterious in the fact his identity is not known so how he is a rival we’ll never know. If you don’t meet the required ranking by the end of the level a restart is required. Its a shame as it takes out the pressure of racing for first place and by the last mission everyone will know the outcome of the game.
For a console that can produce beautifully crafted images that can be seen in such games as Resident Evil Revelations or Super Mario 3D Land, Need For Speed throws these out of the window and produces something that looks like it has come out of the back end of a PlayStation One. Box style cars resemble a Fiat Cinquecento rather than the Chevrolet Camaro Matt is supposed to be driving.
From the ropey story to the woeful graphics, the saving grace of the game is it’s soundtrack, one thing that the Need For Speed series has always excelled at. From metal to hip-hop and even dubstep, the 3DS is constantly pumping up the tunage to keep adrenaline high. Which is needed as even the wealth of unlockable cars and multiplayer modes can keep Need For Speed being a disappointing game.
A racing game for the Nintendo 3DS has a lot to live up to – being on a Nintendo console it has stiff competition from Mario and company. It also has to provide an enjoyable 3D experience for games to justify the price of the console and the games. The 3D aspect of Need For Speed: The Run is redundant. There is little to no use implemented and just looks like a blurry mess when racing.
As a driving game about a cross country race in a country that doesn’t believe in cornering Need For Speed is spot on, there is no challenge to the game save from the frustrating “scratch the touchscreen to oblivion in 4 seconds” which crop up at annoying and frankly inconvenient moments. The story should never be taken lightly and in this case shouldn’t be taken at all. It provides a lengthy gap between dreadful and unimaginative “races.” If Need For Speed: The Run was supplied as just a soundtrack, the game would have got perfect marks. It’s the rest of the game that lets it down.