Thursday, December 01, 2011

Sweet auto-pimped rides on The Run

The premise for "NFS: The Run" is a coast-to-coast race across the USA over the varying types of terrain therein. Story mode is straightforward: having pissed off the mob, your character takes the offer of a 10% cut of a $25m purse if he can cross the finish line first ahead of 200+ other racers.

It would have been nice to drive continuously from SF to NY, overtaking expensive cars as you go, but the whole sequence is broken up into race segments where you take on a handful of racers at a time. Occasionally, the cops are there to try spoil things for you, running interference and setting roadblocks while you are busy concentrating on being #1 badass authoriTAH of the asphalt.

What's a big innovation from previous versions of NFS is that each race is now broken up into checkpoints so when you wreck, get busted or fall so far behind there's no hope of catching up, you can reset to the last checkpoint and just drive better, rather than restart the race all over again. The higher the difficulty setting, the fewer the checkpoints, of course.

The Run also removes the ability to customize your own ride. If you want fancier wheels and finer tuning, you have to earn them by defeating Challenges.

So, the story is just to get the player's feet wet. The real meat-and-potatoes of the Run is Challenge mode in which the driver not only has to finish first, but also beat the clock to unlock rewards. For the more sociable gamer, there's Multiplayer mode too -- beat real people, win more stuff. Bragging rights go without saying.

There are some annoyances, like keyboard controls reverting to default after customization, and sometimes the screen locks up and crashes back to Windows. Time to install more RAM, perhaps?

Slowly working my way through single player. It'll still be a while yet before I'm feeling sociable enough to take my show on the information superhighway.

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