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.