After going through a rough patch of games, Electronic Arts' Need for Speed series has been brought back to life with a few recent titles that put gameplay first and didn't bother tacking on convoluted stories.
As such, with the likes of Shift 2
or Hot Pursuit
, the racing series has once again become a serious threat to other franchises like Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo, despite focusing more on an arcade experience, at least through Hot Pursuit, or an 'easy to get into' simulator one, with the Shift titles.
Now, however, the series returns to its story-based experiences with Need for Speed: The Run
, made by the Black Box studio and, after just finishing the narrative, it's not exactly a stellar return
While I'll treat this aspect of the game in its review on Monday, I thought I'd go into detail a bit before then.
I was pretty confident in NFS: The Run before its release, as it looked like Black Box had taken the time to build a proper plot, even though it borrowed heavily from 1980s movies like the Cannonball Run. Sadly, things didn't exactly turn out so great, as the action once again reminds players of previous, lackluster installment from the series, like Carbon or Undercover.
Instead of having a protagonist we can relate to, we have Jack, a guy that's as bland as you can get and in trouble with the mob, but the game doesn't even make an effort to elaborate just what that might be. As such, we're stuck with him delivering a few one liners that just makes him come across as an arrogant brat.
Much was said about the involvement of the lovely Christina Hendricks
in the game, who plays Sam, Jack's sponsor in The Run, but she's relegated to just a few sequences and barely stands out, which should have been extremely easy up against a one-dimensional character like Jack.
Speaking of one-dimensional, his so-called adversaries in The Run barely get introduced to the player, and only then through a quick loading screen before your duel against them begins. If you didn't bother to watch those screens you didn't miss much, as they're stereotypical characters, like a former racing car driver or spoiled rich girls that want a thrill.
With such a shoddy example of story in NFS: The Run, and with previous attempts at narratives failing as well, I'm pretty much all in favor of future titles to go the Shift or Hot Pursuit way and just dump any pretense of plot altogether. Sure, there were a few stunning scenes throughout The Run's campaign, but they could have easily been reproduced in regular titles without focusing on any intrigue.
Need for Speed games should just impress through their gameplay and stop trying to introduce formulaic stories or stereotypical characters.
What do you think? Have you had a chance to try out NFS: The Run? Share your thoughts about its story below.