Need for Speed: The Run (+ 4 other old games)

Need for Speed: The Run

The premise of Need for Speed: The Run is very similar in some ways the feature film starring everyone’s favourite tweaker Aaron Paul in that you have to race across the country in a high stakes winner-takes-all petrol headed adrenaline soaked high speed competition.Michael Bay directed the film so it’s no surprise that unlike other versions of the game there’s a lot of bangs, crashes and explosions, and some out of the car running around by the main character in button pushing quick time events.

As with most of Bay’s films there’s not a great deal of story involved and let’s remember this is a driving game first and foremost and any story at all is somewhat of any unnecessary bonus. In comparison to Blur (the game not the band – see below) the single player story is quite easy for the majority of the levels. However, unlike Blur, the amount of variety provided to the player is good and the gaming experience a lot more immersive and dare I say realistic (with no silly icons cluttering up the track). Okay, I concede being able to rewind time to get out of a crash or bit of sloppy position-losing driving is far from realistic – but it is mighty handy and as these rewinds are not unlimited the driving is still a challenge. I tried to play the game without relying on the rewinds or the gas stations for that matter – but obviously this meant some quite deep thought about what car I wanted to settle for in large chunks of the game. In fact I couldn’t even find the rewind button for the first hour of playing the game and I was too engrossed in driving to press all the buttons and see what happened.

I was not a fan of Need for Speed, preferring Burnout, and only moved to the franchise after Criterion coded a title. EA Black Box have done a good job of this earlier version which I picked up in a trade-in shop for £6, and I have to say that so far all the NFS games I have played have been very enjoyable.

Blur

Blur is a different kettle of fish and is more like Mario Karts than it is NFS. This is arcade racing with renderings of real manufacturer’s cars instead of go-karts and icons rather than banana peels on the tracks. Picking up icons allows you to use various weapons, shielding and nitro boosts. The game is fun for a day or so and then descends into tedium when the levels become frankly unbeatable. I am no longer the gamer I was and if I have to replay a level more than twenty times then the game tends to go back in the box and gets traded in at the earliest opportunity. I gave Blur a good amount of my time and then decided to call it quits when I reset the difficulty down to easy and still couldn’t complete the timed events.

I originally bought Blur (for the princely sum of £8) because I wanted to play a racing game like Wipeout 3 that I used to play on the PlayStation, and the gameplay of Blur is very similar – with cars instead of anti-gravity spaceships and terrible music instead of classic trance beats. It’s such a shame that Wipeout hasn’t yet made a comeback on any of the new consoles.

Brutal Legend

Brutal Legend is a heavy metal themed action adventure starring the voice talent of Jack Black. I found it funny and frustrating in equal measure, and yes it went back into the box. I paid £2 for it and so wasn’t too upset when I had to stop playing it after failing to make it through a boss fight after about an hour or so of play. My logic was that if I was struggling this early on with the game it was only going to get harder and more infuriating as time passed. There is only so much running around circular areas dodging attacks and choosing my moments that I can endure and also I had made the mistake of totally forgetting all the combat combos I had learned while I had been playing the above racing games.

It seemed like it had a good fun storyline and some great acting in it from the cast, but as I said earlier I have a very low tolerance for repetitive shenanigans these days.

007 Legends

007 Legends was just crap from the word go. The graphics are poor and the level designs lazy. As a committed Bond fan I would have gone absolutely ballistic if I had paid any more than £8 for this. I played the Goldfinger levels which were bizarre in that my character was Daniel Craig’s Bond rather than Sean Connery. My patience ran out when I kept hitting trees and running out of time while skiing in the opening section of what I assume was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – again with Craig instead of George Lazenby. Almost everything about the game was way below the standard one would expect from a Bond game and I’m not even going to waste any more time slagging it off.

Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas was another £2 game that I initially spent a lot of time on before realizing that it was putting me into a funk – it is just such a horribly depressing game. I played Fallout 3 until my thumb joints seized and adored, nay worshipped, Skyrim, but found that once I had put new Vegas to the side in favour of other games I never felt inclined to ever go back to it. One thing I really disliked about it (apart from the gloomy storyline) was the combat system carried over from Fallout 3 – PEPS was it called? Really clunky and not at all enjoyable.

I have been told by a friend that if you have the time this is a really good game.

After about twelve hours on it I realised that I simply don’t have the time, or the inclination.

One thing is clear and that is that era of me paying full price or even half price for a game has long gone. The sum total spend on all these games accounting for trade-in credit is less than half the price of a newly released game – one thing I do have patience for is biding my time and waiting for a game to age a couple of years so I can pick it up cheap (especially when I can be so easily disappointed). So maybe I’ll be reviewing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in a year or so…

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