Need for Speed: The Run - Updated Preview

After all the talk about being outside the vehicle, we go behind the wheel in our latest ride.

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Even with all the talk surrounding the on-foot aspects in the upcoming game, Need for Speed: The Run, it's refreshing to get behind the wheels of some of the fastest cars in the world and see where the game is heading as we race across the United States.

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Of course, we know only bits and pieces behind the game's expansive story; we are expecting a game that puts players in the role of Jack as he races from San Francisco to New York against other competitors and from the mob. In our latest hands-on time with the game, we had the opportunity to drive a Porsche 911 GT3 in a stretch of desert highway in the game's Sprint Race mode.

The objective was simple: Complete the stretch of highway as fast as possible and overtake 10 cars to improve our overall in-game ranking. We drove a Porsche, and the stretch of highway offered what you'd expect with past NFS games: plenty of shortcuts, tight turns, and the necessity of avoiding incoming traffic. As far as we've been told, all courses in the game are based on actual real-life spots throughout the country, but some slight modifications have been made to incorporate the Frostbite 2 engine and to make it more appealing for racing fans.

A new implantation being introduced in The Run is the rewind feature. Unlike other games where the rewind feature is available to use at anytime, here, it kicks in only in certain situations; specifically, those in which you crash and total your car. Now, rather than having to replay particular races all over again, you are taken back to the last-reached checkpoint and can attempt that particular spot again. The vehicles are put back in their same spots, and now you have the opportunity to fix the mistake that may have caused the first accident to occur.

While racing, we had to use the rewind feature twice, and both times, it was on the same particular stretch of highway. It was kind of nice to be able to try the same spot a couple of times because we got to see what we did wrong the first time. For the second attempt, we went in the complete opposite direction but still managed to destroy our ride.

Although it's nice that you don't have to restart a particular race from the beginning, racers are still penalized for using this feature. While the number of rewinds resets after each race, your race timer does not, and this will factor into bragging rights. Also, depending on the game's difficulty, the number of times you can use this feature is limited. With the one course we raced, it would be highly unlikely that someone would use up all available rewinds, but we expect that later stages and more populated courses, such as city ones, may require numerous attempts.

The popular Autolog feature makes its return in The Run, and your use of rewinds will factor in how much you'll be able to show off to friends. Because the timer does not reset, if you use the rewind feature, don't expect to get a really good time. Also, even if you do manage to beat your friend's time, if you used a rewind, your score is tagged as such, and it won't hold as much merit.

Driving through the desert will be one of the many different environments you will experience
Driving through the desert will be one of the many different environments you will experience

The racing experience thus far has been what we've come to expect from a Need for Speed game, so fans shouldn't worry too much in that regard. Now, we must wait and see how the game's Story mode holds out, and hopefully, we'll hear more on that before the game is released later this year.

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