In an interesting deviation from the tuner nation the series has become, the cars are not the stars in 'Need for Speed: The Run.'

From the creative minds at EA Black Box, 'Need for Speed' metamorphosis into a "Amazing Race” styled dash across the United States. From San Francisco to New York, “The Run” tries a sophisticed twist with Jackson "Jack" Rourke (voiced by Sean Faris) taking on the role of the main protagonist. By now your thoughts are probably mirroring the rest of the world; protagonist huh, this is 'Need for Speed!' With a big "what are they thinking?" it seems Black Box knows exactly what they think by tailor making a driving experience like no other. It might not be the 'Need for Speed' we know, it might not be the 'Need for Speed' we want, but it is sure a damn exciting ride as you take on this illicit coast-to-coast adventure.

Disaster Avoided
This tale of high-stakes racing involves all sorts of dispositions that are mixed up with the typical collection of race-centric challenges. Introducing our hero at the unlikely spot of being crushed alive, Black Box shows off their masterful eye for split-second direction and heart thumping moments. Like a Hollywood action film you will start off with some quick-timed button presses then it's into the cars. This "switch-up" might not sit well with gamers who don't want a story in their racing game, but it's never shoved down your throat. With the help of its "high intensity" delivery, the "illicit" narrative actually works better than expected. The interactive approach is the way to go. Smart, Black Box didn't mess around with failing third-person mechanics. It's short-clip, maybe some interaction, and back to what is important, the driving..... phew, disaster avoided.


Checkpoint, Reset!
Admittingly "The Run" isn't perfect with the first downfall being its strict "narrative driven" approach. Having the game built around the story means you have to stay on the correct path at all times. Deviation is not welcomed aside from a few dangerously carved out short cuts. Fail to meet an objective or stray too far off the path and you will be reset to the last checkpoint. Although be warned, you only have so many resets before you will have to replay the entire level. This standard action-game practice works, for the most part, but I did find it a little unforgiving and limiting in alternative ways to progress through a level. I didn't expect to have free run, but even 'Hot Pursuit' seemed like it gave more leeway.

Quality over Quantity
Embellishing more, the objectives can vary from escaping criminals, beating rivals, or making up for lost time. It not always about straight-up racing, although it is the main ingredient. Each level is broken up in sections that last a few minutes each. “The Run” is over in a few hours, but it's about quality and not quantity here, isn't it? Since "The Run" is focused on providing great “memorable” moments, there is no need for filler. Yet, it's not always a smashing success. When the "The Run" is on, it's on and you will be gasping for air! Filled with adrenaline pumping a moments, action junkies, this is the ticket.


Wrecks are as brutally awesome as envisioned. When you crash you will almost feel it, and given that it usually happens within milliseconds, it doubles the excitement. Jim Morrison said it best “Keep your eyes on the road, and your hands on the wheel.” Fact, you will need to keep those eyes open, no flinching here. All the action is powered on the Frostbite 2 engine, which looks momentous. Although the car physics take a bit to get used to, it seems like Frostbite can do more than blow things up. The only flaws are the lack of detail on the cars when compared to some other big named racers, and the extra long load times. While not horrendous, it shows a lack of optimization and care.

Stay connected
Returning is the wonderful Autolog to push intergration between your game and your friends. This applies to all the modes of play; medal challenges and online competetion. Each mode is entertaining, although the online component is a little basic, yet fun enough thanks to the driving physics. A few 'Hot Pursuit' modes would have helped spice it up, which makes the old standby the more viable option. Still, "The Run" is solid enough to pass the time, and very effective when you find the right online crowd.


Taking an unexpected turn Black Box opts for a new formula framed around the same basic need for speed. In the form of a thrilling coast-to-coast race against the grain, "The Run" is all about moments. Built around fast action and quick-changing objectives, the core experience might be over quickly, but it never fails to impress. While this departure isn't going to please everyone, it's a great alternative to your typical racing game. Past "The Run," the challenges and online modes are good filler to keep you coming back, however it's just not as thrilling as last years' 'Hot Pursuit.' So depending on your wants, "The Run" could be a quick rental or a hefty racer whose quality laps its quantity.


  • Excellent concept that is filled with more than a few intense moments
  • Frostbites in the house, new physics will please some
  • Speed is intact, expect some nail-biting finishes
  • Varied landscapes with lots of fluctuating objectives
  • It's a short "Run" only lasting just over 2hrs
  • Longer than expect load times
  • Graphics look great, but vehicles lack up-cloase details
  • Rewinds could have been more forgiving
  • Online Multiplayer could have used more modes
  • Heavily scripted -- succeed by repetition
Quote: "Built around fast action and quick-changing objectives, the core experience might be over quickly, but it never fails to impress. "
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 11.25.11

Similar Games: Driver: San Francisco (7.1) | NFS: Most Wanted '12 (7.6) | NFS: Most Wanted (8.5) | NFS: Hot Pursuit (9.0)


Need for Speed
The Run

Electronic Arts

Black Box


US Release
November '11


PS3, X360

Players 1
Online MP 2-8
5.1 Surround
HD 720-1080p
D/L Content