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Locked [News] Need For Speed Unbound Review - Comic Book Racing


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The first thing that jumps out when starting Need for Speed Unbound is its vibrant art style. At a time when most other racing games are striving for photorealism, EA's latest distinguishes itself from the rest of the grid by adopting a stylized mix between reality and comic books. While its cars land on the side of realism, the characters behind the wheel are cel-shaded and its open world falls somewhere in between the two aesthetics. Vivid graffiti-style flourishes also pop up when you activate nitrous or fly off a ramp, and drifting kicks up colorful tire smoke that looks hand-drawn, with all of these effects punctuating the action with a unique sense of style.

There aren't any modern racing games that look quite like it, yet the rest of Unbound feels like a continuation of 2019's Need for Speed Heat. From the distinction between day and night races to the cat-and-mouse chase that occurs when you have to outrun the cops and make it to a safe house in order to bank your money. Unbound doesn't attempt to reinvent the wheel, but what's here maintains the series' recent quality, even if there are some wrong turns along the way.

As is now customary in Need for Speed games, Unbound features a rather forgettable story about getting back at a former friend who stole your ride. There's little point in delving into details because, ultimately, it's inconsequential. Cutscenes are sprinkled in every now and then, but for the most part, the story is just sort of there, happening in the background as you drive around the city, so at least it's unobtrusive. There's some fun incidental dialogue every now and then, including one mission where you're traveling with a "weeb racer" who spends the whole journey telling you about the history of anime and how it definitely isn't a cartoon. Rapper A$AP Rocky also makes an appearance (because why not?) and it feels like he was given a microphone and free rein to say whatever came to mind. It's a moment that stands out in a game that's filled to the brim with ancillary dialogue. Aside from this, the story is relatively easy to ignore, but it does succeed in giving impetus to the game's structure.

Unbound takes place across four in-game weeks. At the end of each week, there's a series of qualifying races that eventually lead to a grand finale where your aim is to exact revenge by winning the whole thing. There's a buy-in for each qualifier, so you'll spend the days leading up to each one taking part in various races and events in order to earn enough money to enter and upgrade your car along the way. Aside from racking up stacks of cash, each of these events also catches the attention of the local police force. If you're busted by the cops before making it back to a safe house, you lose all of your winnings and must move on to the next day, adding tension to each run-in with the law.

Need for Speed Heat adopted a similar structure, but while that game featured legal street races throughout the day and illegal street races at night, Unbound takes the illicit route 24/7. This means there's no respite from the police's attention, and any money you make during sunlight hours needs to be banked at a safe house before you can transition to the evening's races. Your heat level carries over, too, and only resets once you're done for the night, so it's up to you how much police presence you want to accumulate throughout the day before the sun disappears over the horizon. Night events tend to feature significantly higher payouts, but they often require a particular level of heat or a sizeable buy-in if you want to participate. You can still earn money taking on smaller events, but the increased risk of the larger events comes with big cash prizes. You're forced to weigh up your options when deciding what to do on a day-to-day basis.

Link: https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/need-for-speed-unbound-review-comic-book-racing/1900-6418010/

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