Welcome back to the latest installment of the NFS series in 2023. Now that the hype is settled it seems that there is a bit of controversy compared to the initial review scores, we are here to settle that scores!
NFS Unbound takes place in Lakeshore where you start off restoring 1 of 3 legendary cars and what started off as a cruise to hopefully one day join the big leagues, you found yourself in the heat of things pretty quickly and shortly after found yourself starting from scratch yet again, aiming to win the qualifiers to compete in The Grand to own the streets.
Starting off with your character and customization of it you are no longer a faceless character like back in the Underground and Most Wanted series, from the backstory we were able to find out that we were part of a foster project and got taken in by one of the greatest racers of all time, Rydell, although Rydell has its doubts and dad jokes you can’t help but to get this fatherly vibe from him.
2 years after your car was taken you met Tess who helped you get back into the scene when you took her to a meet-up where The Grand got announced and you saw your car yet again.
With regards to the more important parts of the game, the world is definitely an improvement from the recent open worlds with iconic and beautiful scenery that you would remember for years to come, car selection is also incredible making decisions extremely difficult as to what car to use for which class.
There is no fast travel in the game which forces you to enjoy the scenery of the beautiful city Lakeshore is, the graphics are absolutely stunning and what one would expect from a modern game, definitely well done to Criterion Games for the effort they added into the small details such as the rain drops on the car and the puddles on the road.
But what about cop chases? They are still there and even on the highest difficulty I never find myself in fear of reaching heat 4 or even heat 5, although those Ford Rangers HURT when they hit you, the races throughout the week tend to be more difficult than the Saturday races, and Saturday’s are reserved for the BIG leagues!
On the sideline, while you are roaming the streets you will get calls from other racers to help bail them out of trouble, deliver rides for Rydell, or heated deliveries which deduct money depending on the amount of damage the ride took.
There was a lot of excitement seeing A$AP Rocky appear during the 1st takeover but the highlight of the game that got me excited like a little kid getting candy, was when you got a call from someone called The Blacklist, to help deliver their M3…. I will not deny, this was the climax for me, happier I could not be and gave us the idea that Unbound might be the gateway to a possible Most Wanted 2 or Underground 2 type game, which everyone would be extremely happy about.
Audio-wise, let’s be honest, it’s Need For Speed, when is the playlist not good? The cars in the game sound aggressive and you can tune this to your liking. Talking about tuning, sculpting is back, and instead of having players split into individual car parts, they have manual options and fixed body kits that you can add to the cars.
You will also see that cars are defined and can be tuned according to your driving style, Grip, Drift, Road, or offroad. Grip is amazing to take corners at epic speed but once the car hits a drift it’s nearly impossible to catch, whereas drift is the opposite, drifting every corner to nail lap times.
If you want any bad points for the game we would have to end up nitpicking for faults which are mostly just personal preferences, such as the animated characters and smoke effects from the tires might not be everyone’s cup of tea, some players might also have wished for a longer career but all of this is just preferences and not something worth faulting or blaming the devs on.
Final Thoughts: A new take on NFS introducing what we loved in previous installments in the series to Unbound to deliver fantastic graphics, gameplay, and audio experiences, although some might feel that the difficulties might be missing an intense/hard level and the cops are not as scary as they used to be, still an incredible game leaving us with hope for what is to come in the next few years.