Need For Speed Unbound Review: Graphics And Presentation

Need For Speed Unbound Review: With Unbound, Criterion Games re-enters the racing scene with the Need for Speed franchise, which has been popular since 1994.

Since Most Wanted in 2012, Criterion Games has not been the series’ primary developer, but that all changes in NFS Unbound. It’s the sequel to 2019’s Heat, which introduced a new dynamic to the franchise.

Located in Lakeshore City, a Chicago-inspired setting, NFS Unbound combines the standard arcade action with a visual style that blends the usual NFS aesthetics with a graffiti and cel-shaded look.

NFS Unbound drifts in its own way to a satisfying conclusion, and its unique style helps it distinguish out from the crowd.

Most people won’t be surprised to learn that NFS Unbound is an enjoyable time. There is a satisfying heft to the vehicles, the class differences deliver on their promise of diversity, and the controls are as quick and responsive as promised. Drifts, close tailing, and other successes replenish the boost metre, making this a boost-heavy experience once more.

The adaptability of NFS Unbound is where it has the potential to surprise people. You can adjust your vehicle’s settings to achieve a more simulation-like experience, complete with enveloping handling in corners. Those who would rather slide repeatedly on perfectly dry streets can do so.

Even though other games have done similar things, it seems like the trend these days is to pick a path and stick to it. NFS Unbound does a great job with both, and it’s one of the main things that sets it apart from other racing games along with the aesthetics. In addition, it stands apart thanks to subtle differences, such as the absence of a rewind button common to even the most realistic simulations.

The gameplay follows a tried-and-true pattern. Take part in activities that draw the notice of the law enforcement, then race to your hideout to avoid being apprehended. If a player is caught, all of their winnings are null and void. The day-night cycle means that things are calmer during the day and that gamers are constantly harassed by the police at night.

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It’s to NFS Unbound’s credit that the gameplay is always tense, which is what makes it so entertaining. That’s not to suggest that competing against other racers isn’t entertaining; it just means that the safety nets offered by games like rewind buttons, restarts, and the absence of a danger to lose what has been achieved give a nice cushion that prevents stress from reaching the legs. These features, once common in racing games, are now absent (rewind) or severely restricted (restarts).

Rest assured the same applies in the moment during gameplay too. The gameplay is reminiscent of the popular video game Burnout, with players dodging incoming vehicles, crashing through barriers, and attempting daring jumps.

Players can even smash over trees and fences in more rural regions, continuing the theme of crashing through everything in their path. A larger amount of property destruction is occurring than was first thought, which is a welcome change of pace. The only real downside is that there aren’t a lot of methods to interact with the environment in order to make escape easier, so it’s actually harder to shake a police tail than it might otherwise be.

One criticism is that the computer-controlled foes, especially in more difficult situations, can seem invincible. It’s annoying when the player loses their investment and can’t start over because of some rogue AI that decided to ruin their day. But that’s to be expected, since the game is essentially an arcade racer with a street racing plot.

It’s also worth noting that, as frustrating as AI opponents can be, losing this way is preferable than the horrible rubber-banding seen in other races, in which the opponent suddenly and unexpectedly overtakes the player after they’ve built up a large lead.

Need For Speed Unbound Review
Need For Speed Unbound Review

Image Source: polygon

It’s hard to find significant fault with NFS Unbound when the primary gripe is that occasionally things feel unfair across a wide variety of modes and sorts of vehicles across a massive city. The game’s fun comes from its predictability, which isn’t always a bad thing.

Graphics And Presentation

Although the game’s automobiles are still extremely realistic, the anime-inspired cel-shading visual makeup for the game’s effects, characters, and settings is a welcome change. When using an NOS burst, for example, the screen fills with brightly coloured explosions and effects that almost bring to mind the visual style of an old school classic like Viewtiful Joe. Consider the 2018 film Into the Spider-Verse as a more up-to-date analogy.

From the outskirts, where you can duck into tunnels and back out again with the skyscrapers looming tall in the background, to the interior of the buildings themselves, where you can take tight turns through wildly different environments, the city feels enormous (if not empty, at times). Players are accompanied on their travels by an impressive soundtrack featuring actual musicians.

The gaming community has become a bit pampered in recent years. It must be noted, however, that the game’s lighting work, especially at night, and other amusing features, such as puddles that appear on blacktop or in the ground after rain, are well worth experiencing. Many of the specifics here could be taken for granted by casual readers.

While the world may not feel as vibrant as in Grand Theft Auto, it’s still enjoyable to simply drift around, take note of what’s going on, and let yourself be swept along in the experience.

The entertaining camerawork in NFS Unbound is also deserving of attention. Whenever there is a significant jump or impact, the camera moves in unique ways.

NFS Unbound’s narrative spans a lengthy campaign, but it’s not much different from what you’d find in the zillionth instalment of The Fast and the Furious. As part of their quest for vengeance, our protagonist and their mentor enter a tournament in which the prize for victory is the return of an old vehicle.

At times, the game’s dialogue is as terrible as anything from Fellow Kids (and the fact that there is a lot of swearing doesn’t help). The fact that they are talking so casually while going 120 miles per hour towards oncoming traffic also detracts from the illusion of reality.

However, there is reciprocity. The continual chatting, even if it’s only some NPC about how they dubbed a wrench, does actually make them feel like true characters, despite the dialogue sounding corny to some.

Still, the story does a great job of priming players for action when they jump into the gameplay. In order to force the player to work for their victory, racers frequently reduce their size. This is an occurrence common in video games.

The result is very mesmerising. Early in the game, the player will face opponents that are simply faster than them in races. There will be no surefire victories. There is also less room for cheesing the same event multiple times to pull off an upset because some events restrict the amount of restarts allowed.

It’s not unfair in the traditional sense; rather, it feels like a brilliantly executed progression system. Not that there won’t be any difficulties, but it’s worth it once you get there.

There are a lot of side missions and other objectives to complete in the game’s open environment if you tyre of the main story. While not everyone like them, the game’s rules make it fun to destroy billboards, perform scenic jumps, and do other typical extras.

Taking the game online, as was done in previous versions, is a great idea. At the very least, it’s good to see other players out and about in the vast metropolis, and to have the option to organise events that others can participate in.

While online, players can venture to any part of the massive area, stopping at safehouses for the typical items and petrol stations to replenish health and NOS. The actual map that gamers can utilise to sift through by activity is clear and straightforward. In a wonderful touch, your character’s banner and platform will appear when you hover over another player’s.

The online mode’s actual unlocks are large and should keep gamers interested. For instance, in order to get some expensive automobiles, the player must first complete a challenge and then pay for them.

The game delivers as promised in the personalization department, with a plethora of cosmetic options, outfits, and banners for players to unlock. The larger-than-anticipated list of cars is also highly modifiable and upgradable to increase performance.

I find it interesting that there doesn’t seem to be any of the standard monetization issues that plague modern games. In a similar vein, the game’s campaign can be completed entirely without an internet connection. Considering that this is the series’ smoothest-running game ever, next-gen console owners can enjoy a fun showcase of the hardware’s capabilities.

Stay tuned to for more future updates.

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