I’ll be honest when it was announced that there was another Need for Speed coming out I couldn’t help rolling my eyes. I used to be a fan of the series. Back in the day I used play the hell out of Underground and Most Wanted. That was a long time ago though.
Let’s be honest, over the years Need for Speed felt like it was getting left in the dust by the other racers. Then I saw the trailer and the anime like touches in the art style made me intrigued. It gave me a glimpse of hope that they were trying something different and fresh with Need for Speed Unbound? So did the changes provide the boost needed to catch up with the likes of Forza and Gran Torismo. Is Need for Speed Unbound a good Single Player Experience?
Let’s dive into it.
The driving itself is pretty good. In a game centered around cars it’s important to nail the feeling of each car. Thankfully Unbound handles that aspect well.
An aspect that surprised me about the game is how challenging the racing is. To get in first place and remain there you have to be on your “A” game. One mistake can be the difference between first place and fourth place.
The game also has boost meter/gauge. You can raise the meter by drifting, near misses with pedestrian cars, and driving close to your opponents. It’s important and vital for your success to manage the boost meter. A well timed boost can be the difference in your overall placement.
Need for speed Unbound features a day and night cycle game mechanic. You start off the day with zero heat from the cops. As you do races and other illegal activities your heat builds up. As your heat raises, the police ramp up their drive to take you down. If they succeed you lose all the money that you’ve earned that day.
The night presents some different aspects for players. The events that you can participate in are slightly different at night. Your heat carries over into the night so you have to be careful about which night activities you do and avoiding the cops. If you manage to get back to a safe house you and the money that you earned are safe. Each morning your heat resets so you don’t have to worry about yesterday’s heat carrying over.
One of the biggest pros of Need for Speed Unbound is the game’s police chases. This really mixes things up and feels like a fun high speed game of tag. It does feel like a missed opportunity that the map doesn’t have obstacles or provide opportunities to execute dynamic takedown to lose the cops.
I also enjoy that they give you restarts so that you can restart races even when you mess up. I’ll be honest I’m not Speed Racer or Ricky Booby when it comes to racing games so it’s nice that I can restart and try again when a races turns sour for me. Depending on the difficulty that you choose you only get a certain amount of restarts though.
The narrative leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s serviceable. It’s not going to win any awards and the performances are just meh, but it the story is flesh out enough to be entertaining.
One of the major flaws with the game is the game’s environments. The problem isn’t that the scenery is bad to look at, no, the problem is the scenery operates in an unrealistic manner. When you drive into things like bushes, poles and traffic signs the simple disappear as opposed to you slow down or them interacting with the car in a believable way. I get that this was probably done to make the game as fun as possible, but that aspect takes you out of the game a bit.
Another negative of the game is the gambling system. The game requires you to buy into the races and the better you do in the race the higher your payout is. The buy-ins can be insanely expensive and unfortunately doesn’t always pay well.
Overall/Should You Play Need For Speed Unbound:
If you are a fan of racing games, this is a game you should check out. The game’s art style and vibe makes it feel like a fresh entry in the racing genre. While it’s not quite at the level of Gran Torismo and Forza this is a massive step forward for the Need for Speed franchise.
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