And I haven't even mentioned the out of car sequences. At numerous, but not frequent, points you'll be asked to take part in a QTE sequence, tapping buttons in time with on-screen prompts in order to escape from your car (more than once) or something equally exciting like run from the cops. These moments are bordering on terrible, but thankfully make up a very small portion of the overall experience.
Autolog is built into the core of the game and as such there is an added competitive element to every race you take part in, but I couldn't help but find myself caring far less than I did in Hot Pursuit, and can't see rivalries growing like they did in Criterion's title.
Outside of the campaign there are a series of challenge events based on the tracks raced in the 3000 mile run. Here you'll attempt to meet objectives as quickly as possible in order to earn medals, and try to outdo your mates' efforts posted through Autolog, but the heavy handling doesn't go hand in hand with an overly enjoyable racing experience.
The same is true of the eight-player online mode, which nicely integrates your XP and Rank, but fell flat due to my apathy towards the driving itself and the fact that increasing your rank doesn't reward you with much once you've unlocked all the driver bonuses. On the plus side, numerous cars can be unlocked by completing multiplayer and Autolog objectives, so completionists will likely find more reasons to keep playing.
Hot Pursuit is one of the slickest racers ever made, so Black Box had a lot to live up to in terms of visuals, and ever so nearly managed it. Built on DICE's Frostbite 2 engine, the environments on show here are diverse, colourful and vast, but there's always a nagging sense that things could break at any point. Never does the game hit the smoothness of Hot Pursuit, always driving the line between a juddering frame rate and 30fps. I'm not sure how much effort it took for Black Box to get the game running well using this engine, but I can't help but think that Criterion's engine would have resulted in a better game.
Need for Speed: The Run certainly isn't terrible, and a big improvement on Black Box's previous effort, Undercover, but it needed more moments like the avalanche and less monotonous freeways. With the campaign over in an afternoon and the rest of the package failing to offer anything to keep you playing, The Run is some decent throwaway fun that will be forgotten as soon as you move on to something else.