The demo for the forthcoming Need for Speed: The Run is now available to download to give you a taste of what you can experience when the game is released on November 18th, 2011.
It confirms, for anyone with any doubt left, that the cross-country experience as you race from San Francisco to New York is a successor to Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Outrun, rather than heading into Test Drive territory, as you race along a set route with the occasional shortcut your only deviation.
As with every Need for Speed game, the intro sets the tone in cinematic style, similar to Hot Pursuit. You’re given the choice of two cars, either the Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni , or by sending an invite to a friend to download the game, you can access to the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S as EA make the most of the Porsche licence which they contraversially denied to Turn 10 in the development of Forza Motorsport 4.
The first race you’ll be able to try is set in the Desert Hills of Nevada, with the task of passing a set number of rival cars before reaching the finish line – complete that and you’ll move to a one-on-one challenge with a rival racing down a snowy Summit mountain pass in Colorado, complete with avalanches to hinder your progress.
The game itself looks reasonably good – it’s not jaw-dropping, but the demo build is attractive enough to do the job. The car models look pleasing and the scenery is reasonably evocative of the location as you blitz through it at high speed. It’ll be interesting, as ever, to find out how the build submitted for certification as a demo compares to the real thing, but at this stage it’s certainly not disapointing in any way and everything runs smoothly enough even at high speed on the Frostbie 2 engine.
Gameplay is very much arcade style. When racing you’ll want to make a lot of use of the Nitrous Boost available which powers up when driving on the wrong side of the road etc, and the handling itself is similar to Hot Pursuit, although there’s slightly more focus on keeping your wheels inline and not drifting quite so much around corners.
Desert Hills is pleasant enough – go as fast as you can against the other racers who provide a reasonable challenge even on normal mode as you try to pass 10 of them before the finish line. Avoid crashing into the scenery, which will cost you one of 5 ‘rewinds’ if you wreck, keep hitting the nitrous and memorise the corners and shortcut to improve your time which gets uploaded to Need for Speed standard and effective Autolog feature to compare with your friends.
Summit is more interesting as the intro shows a fellow racer smash through the closed road sign warning of blasting on the mountainside. As you chase after the other car you’ll see rockets being fired over the road to cause explosions and avalanches which begin by just some vision-hindering snow and ice but later produce huge rocks to land on the road blocking part of it and causing you to react quickly. Slow down or spin to a halt and you’ll end up losing a rewind after being buried, so it’s a case of maintaining a reasonable speed as you learn the scripted resting places of each rockfall.
As with every game of this type, the early part of each stage is basically building to the final dash as you hammer the nitrous to make sure you stay ahead/overtake enough to complete it – in the early part of the stage you’ll struggle to build up a lead big enough to relax, suggesting that the rivals will always be adjusting to maintain a challenge.
So should you pre-order Need for Speed: The Run?
If you enjoy racers which offer arcade action, from venerable grandaddy Outrun to Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, and you’re hankering for a new challenge, then it is well worth pre-ordering. If you’re still happy enough with Hot Pursuit, and you prefer a more simulation-based challenge, then you’re likely to still be engrossed in Forza Motorsport 4, and there’s also WRC 2 to consider as an authentic rallying experience. It’s out for the PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and Nintendo DS.
If you are pre-ordering, then it’s available with the following bonuses:
- Pre-Order from EA’s Origin Store and you get the Need for Speed The Run Carbon Challenge Series, with two bonus cars and three events inspired by Need for Speed Carbon, the Corvette Z06 and Audi R8.
- Pre-Order from Amazon, and you get the Need for Speed The Run Most Wanted Challenge Series, with two bonus cars and three Most Wanted inspired events. Cars are the Mustang Boss 302 and BMW M3 GTS.
- Pre-Order from Play.com and you get the Need for Speed Underground Challenge Series, with the Nissan 370Z and Nissan Skyline GT-R 32 and three extra events.
- Zavvi also carries the Carbon bonus, and it’s also available via HMV and Game.
It’s Labor Day weekend in the U.S this weekend, and to celebrate and maybe shift a few extra copies of the Need for Speed mobile games, there’s a sale on, with up to 80% off. That means the following games are now as low as 99c, but the sale only lastes until Tuesday September 6th, 2011, when America goes back to work.
The games included in the sale are:
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit (iTunes link)
Need for Speed Undercover (iTunes Link)
Shift 2: Unleashed (iTunes Link)
And as a bonus, the sale appears to be applied to all countries, so if you’re in the UK, you won’t get a day off work on Monday, but you can pick up the games for 69 pence.
The Need for Speed: The Run Official Car List has begun to be released as the build-up begins for the November launch date. In a similar manner to other recent Need for Speed games, the included cars are being released one at a time, so keep checking back for the latest list of all official cars revealed for the game.
Latest update: September 9, 2011.
- Audi R8 Coupe 5.2 FSI Quattro
- BMW 1M Coupe
- BMW E92 M3 GTS
- BMW M3 E30 Sport Evolution
- Dodge Challenger R/T
- Dodge Challenger SRT8
- Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake
- Ford Mustang Boss 302
- Mazda MX-5
- McLaren MP4-12C
- Mistubishi Lancer Evo X
- Nissan Fairlady 240Z
- Nissan 200SX
- Porsche 911 GT2
- Porsche GT3 RS 4.0
- 2012 Porsche Carrera S
- Renault Megane RS
- Volkswagen GTI Mk1
- Volkswagen Scirocco R
Exclusive Limited Edition Cars:
- 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
- 2012 Lamborghini Aventador
- 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S
Pre-Order Bonus Cars:
- Play.com – Nissan 370 Z, and unlockable Nissan Skyline GTR34
Need for Speed: The Run is due for release on November 15th, 2011, and you can already pre-order it from outlets including Amazon. The limited edition is now available for pre-order at Game, whilst Play.com has pre-order bonus cars and events.
EA has announced it will shut 17 game servers this year to reduce costs as the games in question have waned in popularity. Amongst the 17 titles being shuttered are three racing games.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted for the PC and Xbox 360, and Need for Speed: Undercover for the Playstation Portable will both have the servers for the online side of the game shut on August 11th, 2011. So if you want to wish the games farewell, or try and get any final achievements or records, then now is the time to organise some races!
Also closing will be NASCAR 09 for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 (North America).
So will any of you miss the online multiplayer for those 3 games, or have you all moved onto the latest incarnations of the Need for Speed series, and the latest NASCAR game from Eutechnyx?