Need for Speed: The Run is the newest game in the storied Need for Speed franchise. What makes this one different from the recent rash of NFS games? First off, this race is going to be story-focused as you race from San Francisco to New York City. Even stranger still is the ability to get out of the car. Don't get too excited, however.
The demo started with the main character stealing a police car by force. I was then behind the wheel of the Ford Taurus police car. It drives as clumsily as a Taurus should, but I was assured this was just the particular car. There are more cars in the game with better performance and handling. The course in the game was very linear, driving through city streets while being pursued by a helicopter. The chopper is firing on you, forcing you to swerve and find covered paths whenever possible. This did create significant tension, similar to the pursuit modes in Hot Pursuit.
After wrecking the car (as scripted, I didn't suck). I was trapped in the car upside down on railroad tracks and there's a train coming. This very much reminded me of Heavy Rain, in a very similar sequence in which you're trapped in a car upside down, trying desperately to escape using quick time events (QTE). The further chase sequences shown in the trailer at the EA conference also showed more QTE.
Graphically, the game looks good. The in-car graphics are very much on par with recent Need for Speed games like Hot Pursuit. The out of car graphics are quite good and very cinematic, particularly for what is primarily a racing game.
At this point, I'm disappointed, but I really feel they didn't choose the best part of the game they're proposing for a demo. This game should feature many more areas since it's a race from coast to coast. It's also using Autolog, the amazing social feature introduced by Criterion for Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. My fingers are crossed that EA and Black Box can show us some better content down the road for Need for Speed: The Run.