Need for Speed The Run gets back in the car

I walked, nay, ran from Need for Speed The Run unimpressed at E3. EA was trying something new with the franchise, promising a story that will get you out of the car with action-packed QTE-ridden sequences.

It wasn't very good. And worst of all, the driving wasn't much fun either. One month later, EA returns to show off more of The Run. This time, I'm driving through the Nevada desert, with an EA rep saying that the on-foot portion of the game makes up only ten percent of the package. I could only think "this is more like it" as I was handed the controller, keys to a nitrous-filled sports car, racing against opponents through the desert.

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Not having to partake in an arbitrary, meaningless QTE sequence certainly improved my impression of the game. The biggest change evident in this demo? It was actually fast. Whereas the car in the E3 demo handled like molasses, the sports car in this demo made it easy to boost down straightaways, find shortcuts, and ram into other cars in an attempt to take pole position.

The handling isn't quite what I'd like yet, with it landing somewhere in the middle of "arcadey" like the previous Need for Speed games, and "sim-like" as Shift 2 Unleashed.

One thing that has been consistent between the two demos I've played has been the visuals. The Chicago level looked a lot like Chicago. The desert also had the appropriate feel of the great American desert. Given the cross-country premise of the game, I'm excited to see Black Box's take on the other racing venues.