After a significant break my most recent experience with the Need for Speed franchise was last November when Hot Pursuit landed in my letterbox as a review opportunity. I went into the game feeling somewhat rusty and not expecting great things, but I was so incredibly wrong. Hot Pursuit got me excited in racing games for the first time in years. It was an accessible arcade style blast, with the added bonus of causing destruction through some excellent hardware. The background work had been done by the Burnout team and it showed, not forgetting the evolution of social competitiveness with the introduction of the ‘Autolog’ feature. I still feel the name is perhaps a little off, but the results are superbly addictive.
Autolog brought an edge and drive to bettering your times, mainly to oust your friends from as many leader-boards as you could, it was competitive social gaming that hadn’t been seen since Trials HD. Only the game was more user friendly.
The good news is that Need for Speed : The Run is bringing back the Autolog, along with a coast to coast race across America that is driven by a Cannonball Run style backstory. Does a racing game need a story? Probably not, Outrun didn’t need a reason, but it is a damn fine excuse for some heart pounding ridiculous races and the introduction of some very well modeled Sports Illustrated regulars in the supporting cast.
From where I’m sitting, November will be the month I’ll be burning some rubber regardless of whether the serious Forza community will be looking down on my arcade style shenanigans. Also, worth a note is that the demo will be available from the 19th October for those petrol heads that simply can’t wait any longer.
From the official Press Release:
EA SETS GAMERS ON A RACE FOR THEIR LIFE ON OCTOBER 19 WITH NEED FOR SPEED THE RUN DEMO
SYDNEY, Australia – October 5, 2011 – Do you have what it takes to beat your friends in a high-speed race from the Golden Gate to the Empire State? Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that gamers will get a chance to test their mettle in an action-packed demo for Need for Speed The Run beginning October 19. Using the Need for Speed franchise’s signature Autolog feature*, gamers will compete to see who will come out on top and who will be left in the dust as they race through the Desert Hills of California and Independence Pass of Colorado.
In the Need for Speed The Run demo, players will have access to two high-powered supercars including the Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni. The second car, the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S, will be unlocked when gamers refer a friend to download the demo, giving them one of first opportunities to get behind the wheel of this 400HP luxury ride. The Need for Speed The Run demo will be available on Xbox LIVE® Marketplace worldwide and the PlayStation®Network in Australia and New Zealand from October 19th to November 2nd.