Don't often write reviews, but I was surprised by how differently this game is perceived by different people.
I've played pretty much all the NFS games on various platforms. I've experienced a quite diverse level of enjoyment depending on the installment I was playing. My favourite by far remains NFS Hot pursuit on the old Gamecube. That was just superb.
So I was curious about 'The Run'. The cops were in it, and you had a set course to run. No tuning of cars (barring the odd body kit) and no real chance to buy/upgrade you car either unless you actually unlock it first.
In fact, it felt a bit like the old Cannonball run movies......
So the game itself. It's not rocket science and it plays a lot like previous NFS games. The graphics were ok, but nothing special. Sound is good. Handling is arcadey, as you would expect. Drifting round corners is a lot easier than you think it's going to be. It's bascially not a hard game to pick up at all. The resets are not a bad idea as it means you can crash out three quarters of a way through a race, and not have to start from scratch. I admit, it's cheating a bit, but I prefer that rather than having to redo a full 10 minute race.
The cop roadblocks are fairly easy to avoid, or blast through. In fact, I found that the cops were just a nuissance,but I also never really felt like I was in any danger of being taken down. It's inevitably a bad judgement call that will send you flying off the side of the road, rather than pressure from the police. So I'm not going to say they add much to the game play. The only thing they add is traffic. When you're trying to pick a gape between two racers just in front of you, and a police car nudges you off target by an inch, it can really annoy you, but that's about it. The mob encounters are considerably trickier as they tend to shoot at you, but I won't spoil the plot (if you can call it that.....).
There are cut scenes where you're out of the car, that require a bit of button pushing at the right time, in the right sequence, but they're just an interlude to the driving. Not too hard, and not particularly interesting, but not bad either.
The cars are fantastically reproduced. They look stunning, and as you progress and get slightly faster cars unlocked, it becomes quite exciting getting behind the wheel of a supercar.
I also found the idea of driving accross the US quite good. The change of scenery is very well done. The driving conditions also change as the climate changes. It's just good old fashioned fun. There are shortcuts and jumps, hairpins etc to make you test your skills. All good.
The gas stations are indeed a bit weird. In fact they appear every now and then to allow you to change your car. They're good at the beginning of a race as you can change to a car suited to the course, but every now and then,they're right at the end of a race/course. This seems a bit weird, especially as you're often neck and neck with a rival at the end of a course, so the idea of stopping to change cars is ludicrous.
Nonetheless, this is a great game. I have also got, BF3 on my PC, Batman Arkham City and Assasins Creed revelations as my current games, either on my PC or on my PS3. I spend most of my game time (as much as my wife allows me) on BF3 on my PC as I play online with friends. Before I got NFS, I was occasionally taking breaks to play Batman. Assasins is on hold for a later date. When I got hold of NFs, I honestly couldn't stop playing. Its addictive because you can see the goal you need to achieve, and if you're competitive like me, you'll want to keep playing till you to your goal. The fact that this involves racing ludicrously fast cars around lovely rural and city settings in the US, being chased by the mob and the cops, is surely just a bonus.
I loved it. It's meant to be about having fun. This game certainly delivers.