Game: Need For Speed: The Run
Developer: EA Black Box
Release Window/Date: Fall 2011
What's polished: Visuals look great, real sense of momentum in the driving.
What needs polish: Out-of-the-car sequences are promising, but are gamers looking for more than QTE's?
Putting you in the shoes of Jack, a young street racer, NFS: The Run sends you on an illicit race across the United States, powered by the brand-new Frostbite 2 engine.
NFS: The Run features 325 km of tracks in several American cities, including San Francisco, Denver, Omaha, Chicago, and New York City. NFS:TR is designed to occupy a space between NFS: Shift and NFS: Hot Pursuit, featuring elements from both games.
NFS:TR is also a departure from the NFS series as a whole in that, for the first time, there will be action sequences that take place outside of the car. In the demo we watched, Jack's vehicle was disabled by "the mob," initiating a QTE-filled sprint across rooftops while dodging helicopter fire. For those who prefer the action a little more car-focused, developers said that the out-of-car sequences would comprise "less than 10%" of the gameplay. Facial animation was also captured using the same technology invented for "Avatar;" the glimpses I saw weren't really enough to make a judgment on the quality, but it's safe to say EA is making an effort.
NFS: R looked great. Using an FPS engine for a racing game may seem counter-intuitive, but it's working out for NFS:TR.