Need for Speed Unbound places a brand new spin on the racing collection with a graffiti-inspired aesthetic that helps improve each story and gameplay in refreshing methods. It’s superb what a brand new coat of paint can obtain, particularly when it’s mixed with 60 FPS help on consoles, the return of police chases, an fascinating strategy to issue choices, and a well-curated soundtrack. Nonetheless, there are some ache factors that drag the expertise down.
In Unbound, the player-created character suffers a betrayal within the recreation’s Prologue, dropping their superior automobile and forcing them to work their method again up. It’s the traditional “power reset” cliche, the place gamers are given a style of what max-level gameplay appears like earlier than it’s shortly taken away. It suits completely right here and is a refreshing change of tempo from video games like Forza Horizon, which shortly provide the keys to the perfect automobiles. Working your method by way of the ranks to acquire higher, sooner autos is a staple of Need For Speed, and Unbound is constructed on this template.
Relating to the story, there’s a robust Quick and Livid vibe, which works nicely sufficient to hold gamers from race to race, as they construct up an arsenal of automobiles. Don’t count on a very deep narrative right here — I can see some gamers simply outright ignoring cutscenes and dialogue — nevertheless it will get the job completed.
As with most open-world racing video games, the true predominant character is the setting. Unbound’s Lakeshore Metropolis is loosely primarily based on Chicago and it’s a high-quality place to drive. The opening space explores the tame streets and highways, although the world quickly opens as much as embrace mountain roads, muddy paths, and a take a look at observe.
Higher late than by no means
It’s so nice to see Need for Speed working at 60 FPS on consoles. I used to be starting to lose religion as NFS appeared to be the one racing franchise that wasn’t placing body charges first. Each PS5 and Xbox Collection X|S help 60 FPS, which not solely means smoother gameplay but additionally faster inputs. This can be a large win for the collection and I by no means need to return to 30.
I’m a giant fan of Unbound’s total aesthetic and commend the group for taking a giant threat. Entering into the other way from the competitors, who’ve centered on photorealism powered by the brand new era of consoles, using new cartoon-style graffiti results is extraordinarily refreshing and distinctive, and so they particularly come out throughout nighttime avenue races. Nonetheless, they can be toned down, for many who aren’t so into it.
Threat all of it
Need for Speed Unbound has an fascinating gameplay loop. Throughout every day/night time cycle, gamers construct up as a lot money as they will, whereas additionally steadily elevating the Warmth. The extra gamers race, the extra consideration they’ll appeal to from the cops. The upper the Warmth stage, the extra cussed the police change into, sending in more durable and sooner items. It’s an fascinating threat and reward system that stored me on my toes all through.
Gamers maintain racing to construct up a group of automobiles that they will use to enter large races on the finish of the week. The race sorts are your customary circuits, point-to-point sprints, drift challenges, and whatnot. There’s nothing ground-breaking right here, apart from the problem.
You see, most gamers aren’t going to win each single race they enter. Hell, they may not even come within the prime three racers. As an alternative, gamers choose a competing racer to be their Rival, betting cash on the win. I’ll admit that I used to be initially pissed off by the super-speedy first-place finishers, however I shortly realized that the main focus is extra on besting Rivals than coming prime each single time.
The lonely street
Don’t purchase Need for Speed Unbound for its multiplayer. It’s a lonely expertise with lengthy wait instances the place gamers trickle in. Gamers can not less than drive round whereas they anticipate the match to start out, however it might take a protracted whereas, regardless of a 10-hour trial being accessible and theoretically boosting the participant pool.
When a race does get going, it’s the identical content material that’s discovered within the single-player. Positive, that is high-quality, however I anticipated not less than some further modes or routes made particularly for multiplayer. Hopefully, the multiplayer is expanded upon with future content material updates however, after seeing many NFS multiplayer elements left to die, I’m not optimistic. That is particularly disappointing given Need For Speed Warmth’s simple-but-effective multiplayer mode, with this sense like a barebones step again for the collection.
I spent 22 hours taking part in by way of Unbound’s story and finishing a number of aspect missions. I dabbled with the multiplayer, too, however an absence of gamers meant that I couldn’t attempt many races. Fortunately, I had already gotten my fill from the story mode and I can see gamers squeezing out extra play time by persevering with to tune their autos and excellent their expertise in every race sort.
Need for Speed Unbound Review: The ultimate verdict
Need for Speed Unbound marries traditional NFS gameplay with a scorching new graffiti-inspired aesthetic. Gameplay-wise, it’s a secure strategy that sticks to what has at all times labored for NFS, with police taking part in a giant half throughout races and open-world exploration. Fortunately, the visible shift does rather a lot to make this racer really feel contemporary, taking it in a special route from the likes of Forza and Gran Turismo.
These searching for an arcade racer with some perspective ought to try Unbound, because it wins way over it loses, and appears nice doing it.
Need for Speed Unbound was reviewed on PS5 with code offered by the writer.