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“Whoa!” We’re pretty sure that’s exactly the response EA and Black Box were angling for when they recently showed off Need for Speed: SHIFT, ‘cause that’s sure as hell the one they got. Why else would they be going around demoing the game earlier than ever in the franchise’s history if they weren’t 100% certain of the wow factor therein?
After a strong, but not quite Codemasters-troubling debut, EA’s Need for Speed: Shift really means it this time around. Again diverging from the series’ traditional model of simple handling and all-out acceleration, in favour of a more considered circuit-racing sim along the lines of Codies’ Grid, the sequel is out for blood. Yours, that of your car, that of your opponents, and most categorically of all, that of its rivals.
Its developers you see, make no bones about going after Gran Turismo 5 and Forza 3 this time. And having gone hands-on recently, we are very much listening.
After its big reveal at this year’s E3, long time Need for Speed fans were a little baffled by The Run’s E3 trailer. After only a brief taste of the racing, the main character Jack Rourke leapt from his vehicle and took off on foot. The ensuing QTE segment violently divided early opinion, but rest assured, this is still a NFS game, and the racing comes first. Our recent demo was 100% in-car, and we’re glad to report it feels just as good as Hot Pursuit.
Was I the only Need for Speed fan groaning during EA’s E3 press conference once it was revealed that The Run’s racing cache would be… quick time events? So… instead of falling back on the good favor you’ve earned from SHIFT and Hot Pursuit, you’re making this your flagship racing franchise into The Fugitive?! Okay, let’s get calm… While I can report that the cineractive events are in fact a little lame, they make a helluva lot more sense within the context of something far more interesting and exciting The Run is looking to pull off.
We’ve got a confession to make that goes against most critical response: we quite liked Need for Speed: ProStreet (at least on consoles). It was a competent and relatively accurate recreation of organized competitive racing events. Unfortunately, what ProStreet did at the same time was completely remove the essence of what made a Need for Speed game, leaving a dry approach to simulation in its place.
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