Need For Speed Unbound Review: Need for Speed Unbound stands out from other racing games published this year in terms of aesthetics, which can be challenging in a genre with so many rules already defined and established conventions. Even while the actual driving and split day/night format of the races are instantly recognizable to those of us who enjoyed 2019’s Need for Speed Heat, Criterion has gone all-in with a wild, animated visual flare that frequently looks as like it was taken from the pages of a comic book.
The end product is a distinctively designed racer that frequently appears fairly fantastic in action, however, its annoying story mode is a banana in the tailpipe and the internet option just seems barebones and incomplete. Now time for Need for Speed Unbound Review.
Need For Speed Unbound Review
Although Heat didn’t exactly reinvent arcade racing, it was a welcome surprise that helped the shaky brand get back on track. The series drunk dialed it’s way back into the arms of former flame Criterion Games for Unbound, and it has undergone a stunning makeover. As compensation for its efforts, developer Ghost Games was… dissolved. Smoke and other creative decorations can be added to automobiles just like any other visual customization component.
The main differences between them are mainly limited to the color of the smoke and the choice of graphics that get thrust from the sides of your car like wings or flash above the roof like a small, temporary hat. There are a variety of different ones to choose from, though generally speaking they all seem to be fairly similar. The fact that you cannot select customized effects for specific vehicles and that the effects you select are applied worldwide to your entire garage seems to be an oversight.
Need For Speed: It’s Flashy And Eye-Catching
I do admire Criterion’s dedication to testing something that distinguishes Need for Speed from its competitors. Everything is very stylish in an Into the Spider-Verse, street art kind of way. It is very well done and is flashy and eye-catching. It definitely feels baked into the 3D world; it doesn’t appear to be a thin layer of effects applied to the image’s surface. Donuts, for example, looks especially cool because the unique animations maintain their quality even with a highly kinetic camera.
Unbound cars, which continue to strive for photorealism, seem strange when placed next to their cartoon characters and effects. Given the significant lighting improvements since Heat and the fact that Unbound, at its best, resembles a highly stylized interactive trailer, it isn’t startling. But I can’t help but feel that the fact that Unbound’s characters and setting haven’t received the same attention as in a contemporary Auto Modellista or a 2020 Inertial Drift represents a compromise, whether intentional or not. Would that have generated debate? Probably. Divisive? Certainly. However, I believe it would have appeared better than this combined solution.
Performance Tooning In Need For Speed
Unbound adheres to Heat’s gameplay structure more closely than I had anticipated beneath the flashy effects. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I thought Heat was a great course correction after Payback. However, as a result, Unbound does not feel as though Criterion has truly infused its own style into it, unlike its celebrated 2010 reinvention of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and its 2012 interpretation of Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
In comparison to Heat’s neon-bathed, Miami-like Palm City, Unbound’s new Lakeshore map, which was inspired by Chicago, features some great, grid-like streets and tunnels for its urban racing, but the city itself is actually a bit bland. The countryside in Unbound is likewise quite generic and forgettable, which was, to be honest, also a complaint of Heat. There are only motorways, side streets, and hills covered in forests. There are a few good mountaintop sections with numerous switchbacks for drifting, but otherwise, there isn’t much to see outside of the city.
The officers in Unbound behave similarly to those in Heat in single-player, although I feel like it’s a little bit simpler to escape their grip this time. In contrast to Heat, Unbound appears to be much better at detecting when I’m accelerating into open space, thus I haven’t yet been arbitrarily detained just because the police are close to my evading vehicle. I’m relieved that it seems to have been addressed because this occurred frequently in Heat.
The strictly arcade-style driving concept, which also comes from Heat, allows for the tuning of cars for grip, drift, or a combination of the two. My attempts at grip tuning appear to be plagued with understeer, and I can’t figure out if it’s my driving style or my handling slider setup. In my experience, the drift handling is more dependable, and I absolutely prefer it. Additionally, the option to choose between the traditional brake-to-drift cornering style and an additional throttle pump to go sideways is still available. It is wise to continue to accommodate both groups.
Need For Speed Final Verdict
When the rubber meets the road, it’s clear that Need for Speed Unbound hasn’t deviated too much from 2019’s Heat’s core ideas. This may come as a surprise after the series’ return to Criterion, a studio known for having a very distinct aesthetic, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing given that Heat was a much-needed breath of fresh air for a franchise that was on the verge of going out of gas.
Unbound, however, ought to draw attention because of its daring new animated characters and special effects. Despite the odd contrast between its conventional graphics and the cartoon-inspired flourishes, they are impressively well done and result in an installment of this 28-year-old series that is instantly recognizable. Although the tools for customizing cars are still expressive, it seems unlikely that older players will be able to relate to the haughty cast of entitled chuckleheads in the single-player mode. Moreover, the separate online mode is currently lacking essential elements like cops.