Need For Speed: The Run 3DS review The Run's attempt to bolt incidental set-pieces and a narrative onto Need For Speed's familiar brand of arcade racing is a patchy and frustrating affair.
Your romp eastwards from the west coast of the United States takes in San Francisco, Las Vegas, that huge bit in the middle of America where nothing really happens and finally ends in New York, though solo players might have to grit their teeth to actually get there.
It starts well, and it looks fantastic. EA's output is never sloppy when it comes to presentation, and The Run looks better than Ridge Racer 3D in two dimensions. Switch to 3D, though, and there's a noticeable drop in frame rate.
So, with 3D off and some very pretty roads to rampage along, The Run is a success when each episode's little twist isn't too convoluted.
Straight races and takedowns are really enjoyable, and interludes where your car jumps a ravine or does something similarly daring are fun diversions.
Hard To Handle
It's when they're just confusing or simply don't work that The Run lets itself down. When the camera dives in from the usual third-person view to sit on your car's dashboard, you're usually asked to weave your way through a series of obstacles or drive through the gap in a police blockade.
Somehow the car seems to handle completely differently here, and it's really difficult to see exactly what you're supposed to be avoiding or aiming for. They usually end in the frustrating loss of one of your car's 'lives'.
Between races, there's a forgettable plot told in comic-book style vignettes. It involves a lady constructed entirely of stereotypical sass and a grizzly male protagonist. Mercifully, they are skippable, but sometimes they prompt mini-games - some fun, some plain annoying.
Solo players will get decent, if unspectacular value out of the main campaign, which sometimes breaks from the solid arcade racing to frustrate with the odd difficulty spike or poor mini-game.
Time trials are there for those who want to compare times online, and there are two multiplayer styles of play - straight dashes to the finish line and Cops Vs Racers, in which one team tries to stop the other finishing by taking them down.
Take away the silly cut-scenes and poorly thought-out set pieces and The Run is a really well-presented, above average arcade racer with the online options sorely lacking from its nearest rival on 3DS, Ridge Racer.
The Run is really good when the racing is kept simple, but as you progress it just gets more convoluted. Unfortunately, the overall feeling you take away is frustration.