Need for Speed ​​​​​​Unbound review by

3 years after the disappointing Need for Speed ​​​​Heat, Criterion Games presents a new original title for the NFS saga. The arcade racing game called Need For Speed ​​​​​​Unbound is now exclusively on the latest generation of consoles and PCs. What level up and take the saga to a new level?

Welcome to Chicago after Miami! This is a new framework for Need for Speed ​​​​Unbound, the new episode of the legendary arcade racing game license launched by Electronic Arts 28 years ago. After more than 20 titles, the saga is depicted only on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series and PC]with the aim of making people forget about the tasteless Need For Speed​​​​​​​Heat.

Make way for cel-shading and Lakeshore City

After the west coast of the United States and Miami for the final episode, Need For Speed ​​​​​​​​Unbound is inspired by Chicago with the creation of a brand new open world called Lakeshore City. He embodies a character to choose from before starting the game, fully customizable to his style with a large number of clothing brands. And the style of NFS Unbound comes from these first seconds of discovery. The characters are cel-shaded, a cartoonish graphic style that pays homage to titles like Jet Set Radio and is influenced by street art culture. In the early races, we also see the smoke from drifting the car wrap around this particular style enough to give the title a sympathetic personality without jarring the retina.

The city is quite alive compared to the previous original work, dynamic weather, sparkling light effects, impossible to crush passers-by, of course, but there, decorated with music by well-known composers like A. give life to Lakeshore City. $AP Rocky is introduced as a character in the game and French with Brodinski or SCH. The rest is pure Need For Speed, with quite a large number of cars under official licenses, 143, with the most brilliant manufacturers such as BMW, Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin or Lamborghini. On the contrary, we will quickly forget the scenario of the single player mode, a story of betrayal and revenge between the main characters with Fast and Furious sauce. Main or secondary characters are really either cliche or tasteless, and in most cases it’s too annoying to talk about all the time, even during the race.

Crazy nitro gameplay, nitro wise

Need For Speed ​​​​​​Unbound: The perfect fusion between Forza Horizon 5 and Burnout?

Good nitro management is essential

But it’s not the words that matter, but the ways of Lakeshore City. “Criterion” studio has made efforts in this direction. The races are intense and busy, with plenty of flashy visual effects on display and smoother driving than we’ve seen in recent games in the saga. After a brief introduction to arcade racing games, you will have to manage your nitro well during the games, with a blue gauge that you fill up throughout the race by doing risky moves (misdirection, brushing, jumping, swiping) and another yellow gauge that splits into 3 levels of temporary boosts that will be activated quickly after being sucked or dragged. Everything is enhanced by Unbound’s latest generation of consoles, offering constant 60FPS, 4K and HDR in every environment.

You will also have to deal with city traffic and police! It’s also a major threat to seeing his race destroyed, so the AI’s appearance and actions outside of opponents are unpredictable. because yes many police cars can be fully operational, and sometimes the visitor even rushes from the front or to the side. Opponents are fairly clean in overtaking on normal difficulty and play in cars with fewer bumpers than Need For Speed​​​​​​​Heat. NFS Unbound is generally a satisfying arcade game, if we can slightly criticize the skid system that sometimes starts up for no reason to waste time in a frustrating way.

Fast and Furious is played by Monopoly in progress

Need For Speed ​​​​​​Unbound: The perfect fusion between Forza Horizon 5 and Burnout?

Deep vehicle upgrades are always on the way

Despite minor technical fixes and new graphics, Need For Speed ​​has not forgotten about customization. We can always do all the software with a car, because it is possible to upgrade it to extremes by changing parts in the garage.. Tuning and epic fans will not be out of place in the sense that it is a performance improvement or purely cosmetic changes, from the number plate to the windows, including the wheels or the hood. If you don’t have time to change the paint or add some sticks, you can always download the best creations from the community.

But this customization has a cost, and above all, time. Buy a new car, upgrade your garage to get better parts, get customization items… All of this is very expensive and very frustrating because getting sours in bulk is extremely complicated at worst and very slow at best.. After a long prologue in the story mode where we lose our first car, and its upgrade at the end, the title works as a calendar. Each day in the game matches a limited number of races to complete and a limited number of trials for those races per session. On normal difficulty, if you are not satisfied with the result, you can restart the race up to 4 times per session, this number only resets after returning to the garage or hideout.

Where the shoe squeezes, even at the beginning of the title, the difficulty is quite unbalanced, with the top three contenders often too strong to get the best payoff without an upgraded car. Add to that quite a few hungry prizes for most races, some of which require an entry fee! Since the number of trials is limited, it is often possible to lose money, especially being arrested by the police (sometimes in a hunt right after the race depending on your reputation size) will cause you to lose your winnings during the session. Fortunately, the latter is easier to plant. In addition, in another cross-platform online Lakeshore mode, where we have an open world, but this time with a new garage, races are held only with human opponents, but struggle to fill and therefore start. All this added together means that you have to be patient to get the best cars and fully enjoy the compelling Need For Speed​​​​

Strong points

  • Fast and pleasant handling
  • Successful visual effects in flood shadow (nitro, drift).
  • Technically flawless
  • Always deeper in customization
  • Cross-platform multiplayer…

Weak points

  • …but it’s a bit wobbly in the setup
  • Horribly slow progress
  • Unbalanced difficulty
  • Uninteresting or boring storyline and characters

Thanks to the new generation of consoles! The NFS saga starts in the right direction, especially for an arcade racing game, thanks to the impeccable technique (Frosbite engine, constant 60 FPS, 4K, HDR…) and controls that are still suitable for anyone who wants to take part in a stealth racing game. Need For Speed​​​​​​Unbound took a risk with cel-shadow effects and it pays off as it adds real personality to the title without sacrificing the license salt. We find the same effort in its cars’ visual or performance-related personalization capabilities. On the other hand, some will be frustrated by the very slow progress through the amounts of money won in the races, amputated by an unbalanced difficulty. Aside from the lackluster scenario of the solo mode, Unbound succeeds where NFS Heat failed, i.e. in injecting some life and flavor into the exploration of the open world called Lakeshore City.


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