In "The Run", players are participating in an "underground world of illicit, high stakes racing," in a race from San Francisco
to New York
, with stops through Las Vegas
and many other locations, making it the first title in the series to use real locations. The cops aren't the only ones after the player though, as the player "blows across borders, weaves through dense urban traffic, rockets down icy mountain passes and navigates narrow canyons at breakneck speeds."
There are over 300 kilometres (190 mi) of track, three times more than "Hot Pursuit
", making it the biggest "Need For Speed" game.
"The Run" is powered by DICE
's Frostbite 2
, making the game the first non-shooter and one of the first console titles to use the engine, which provides visuals and car physics that "hug the road even at top speeds all built around a gripping storyline." Additionally, Need for Speed Autolog, the "Need for Speed" franchise's social competition functionality, which was introduced in "Hot Pursuit" and was previously used in "Shift 2: Unleashed
", is also back as it continues to track career progression and compare game stats.
The game features quick time events
, with the player for the first time in "Need for Speed" history, exiting their car and traveling on foot. These events won't always be about harsh success or failure states. In some sections there are branching outcomes, so if the player mangles a certain button press, they'll get another chance to pull through.
A new feature also appears in the Run, Gas stations. Gas stations enable the player to change their vehicle during a race to any other vehicle on the same tier as theirs. The player can choose a body kit and new paint colors for their vehicle if it is available. Some vehicles, like Signature Edition or NFS The Run vehicles, cannot have a different paint or body kit installed. For example, a driver may drive their Camaro ZL1, a Tier 4 car, into a gas station and trade it for a NFS The Run edition Shelby GT500, another Tier 4 car. However, driving one's vehicle into a gas station causes the player to slow down to 50 mph upon exiting the gas station, and causes the player to fall behind by about ten seconds. Also, if the player had an opponent behind him, his opponent would take his place.