Even the sound deserves a mention. Tyre feedback is excellent, engines are throaty and the cops on the scanner get entertainingly wound up with the hundreds of lunatic speeders cascading through their districts. Even the soundtrack is impressive, dodging the clichés of 'punk' acts you could play in a confession box without raising more than a tut or tinny thrash metal, via an eclectic mix that includes, somewhat amusingly, On The Road Again.
Of course, it's not all amazing. Loading pauses are frequent and just a little too long, while truly random traffic can make for some annoyingly deadly junctions and overtakes. Collisions can be a bit rubbery too, and any long stretches of dirt tend to be uninspiring. Perhaps worst of all, some simpler stretches simply don't challenge or excite, and at times it just feels a bit easy.
And of course, you are Slick McDouche, apparently the best driver ever to don a hoodie but clearly a failed aftershave model with a fetish for rough fabrics - a man who demands you hammer every button except the one you want to, which is the one that makes the car crusher speed up. Just so you don't have to meet his friends. Just so you can watch him leak out. Just because.
But then, he's not the first demographic-sucking void of an NFS character, or the first to have friends whose lips synch worse than Katie Price's. But he is in one of the minority of the 9,146 Need For Speed games that has more to offer than a silly story, a vast empty city or nine million types of wheelnut. The Run cuts hard into the core of what it should offer - crazy-fast arcade thrills - and serves them up as it sees fit.
We didn't miss an open world. We didn't miss the chance to constantly pick cars and tracks. We were fully along for the ride. We blasted through this like the cars were weapons and the Tarmac was the enemy, and damn it if it isn't exciting.
More like an FPS than a racer, The Run lacks the performance and depth of Gran Turismo and Forza, but delivers on insane speeds and nail-biting arcade thrills.
- Terrifying speeds married to slick handling
- Fantastic roster of vehicles
- Looks great running in Frostbite 2
- Story is awful, and its characters hateful
- Frequent, and overlong, loading times
- A little easy