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 method to problem choices, and a well-curated soundtrack. However, there are some ache factors that drag the expertise down.
In Unbound, the player-created character suffers a betrayal within the game’s Prologue, dropping their superior automotive and forcing them to work their method again up. It’s the basic “power reset” cliche, the place gamers are given a style of what max-level gameplay looks like earlier than it’s rapidly taken away. It matches completely right here and is a refreshing change of tempo from video games like Forza Horizon, which rapidly provide the keys to the perfect vehicles. Working your method by the ranks to acquire higher, sooner autos is a staple of Need For Speed, and Unbound is constructed on this template.
When it involves the story, there’s a powerful Fast and Furious vibe, which works nicely sufficient to hold gamers from race to race, as they construct up an arsenal of vehicles. Don’t count on a very deep narrative right here — I can see some gamers simply outright ignoring cutscenes and dialogue — however it will get the job accomplished.
As with most open-world racing video games, the true most important character is the setting. Unbound’s Lakeshore City is loosely based mostly on Chicago and it’s a effective 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 check monitor.
Better late than by no means
It’s so nice to see Need for Speed operating 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. Both PS5 and Xbox Series X|S help 60 FPS, which not solely means smoother gameplay but additionally faster inputs. This is a big win for the collection and I by no means need to return to 30.
I’m a giant fan of Unbound’s general aesthetic and commend the crew for taking a giant threat. Going in the other way from the competitors, who’ve centered on photorealism powered by the brand new technology of consoles, using new cartoon-style graffiti results is extraordinarily refreshing and distinctive, they usually particularly come out throughout nighttime road races. However, they can be toned down, for those that aren’t so into it.
Risk all of it
Need for Speed Unbound has an fascinating gameplay loop. During every day/evening cycle, gamers construct up as a lot money as they will, whereas additionally steadily elevating the Heat. The extra gamers race, the extra consideration they’ll entice from the cops. The increased the Heat stage, the extra cussed the police turn out to be, sending in more durable and sooner models. It’s an fascinating threat and reward system that saved me on my toes all through.
Players maintain racing to construct up a group of vehicles that they will use to enter massive races on the finish of the week. The race varieties are your commonplace circuits, point-to-point sprints, drift challenges, and whatnot. There’s nothing ground-breaking right here, except for the issue.
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. Instead, 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 rapidly discovered that the main target is extra on besting Rivals than coming prime each single time.
The lonely highway
Don’t purchase Need for Speed Unbound for its multiplayer. It’s a lonely expertise with lengthy wait occasions the place gamers trickle in. Players can a minimum of drive round whereas they wait for the match to begin, however it could take an extended whereas, regardless of a 10-hour trial being out there 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. Sure, that is effective, however I anticipated a minimum of some additional 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. This is particularly disappointing given Need For Speed Heat’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 Unbound’s story and finishing a number of aspect missions. I dabbled with the multiplayer, too, however a scarcity of gamers meant that I couldn’t strive many races. Happily, 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 abilities in every race kind.
Need for Speed Unbound Review: The remaining verdict
Need for Speed Unbound marries basic NFS gameplay with a sizzling new graffiti-inspired aesthetic. Gameplay-wise, it’s a secure method 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. Thankfully, the visible shift does rather a lot to make this racer really feel contemporary, taking it in a special path from the likes of Forza and Gran Turismo.
Those trying for an arcade racer with some angle 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.