After it leaked earlier this 12 months, many had been curious in regards to the subsequent Want for Velocity sport’s obvious new route. It appeared to be going full anime, full with cel-shaded characters. And whereas that isn’t totally the case, NFS Unbound continues to be a recent and thrilling shift for the franchise, which could assist elevate it past its present “additionally ran” standing amongst fellow automobile video games.
NFS Unbound, out tomorrow on PS5, Xbox Sequence X/S, and PC, is the newest installment in EA’s decades-spanning racing franchise. Developed by former Burnout studio Criterion Video games, Unbound is about in a Chicago-like metropolis known as Lakeshore and options a big open world. As you race throughout day and night time occasions, you rack up money and police consideration. If the cops get you earlier than you may make it again to your secure home or storage, you lose all of your winnings, making each race and open-world drive that rather more tense and thrilling. All of that is in an effort to get payback on a racer who wronged you and your mentor, with the final word purpose of beating them, getting your outdated automobile again, and profitable a large-scale racing match.
Let me simply be trustworthy right here and clarify that I’ve not performed a Want for Velocity since 2015’s confusingly titled Want for Velocity. And I barely performed that. In a world with Forza, Gran Turismo, Filth, and Grid, the Want for Velocity collection may by no means hold my consideration. However NFS Unbound is totally different, and I’m discovering myself unable to place down the controller.
NFS Unbound’s colourful and distinctive artwork type will not be solely the massive purpose I’m even testing this installment, but in addition a part of why I’m having a lot enjoyable. NFS Unbound mixes lifelike automobiles with cel-shaded characters and a world that lands someplace in between; not fairly hyper-real but not fairly absolutely cel-shaded or cartoonish. The tip outcome works, and helps NFS Unbound stand out in a sea of different driving video games that are all chasing the identical purpose of rendering photorealistic automobiles and environments.
I additionally appreciated all of the thrives and colourful on-screen pops and results that occur while you hit your NOS or leap off a ramp at excessive velocity. NFS Unbound has type, and is aware of how one can use it. Even the characters look sharp, with tons of nice vogue and customization options on supply.
A colourful and cool-looking racing sport is good and all, but when the driving sucks, who cares? Fortunately for NFS Unbound, its driving is strong and responsive. And Unbound is versatile sufficient to assist every kind of driving types. Are you somebody who likes to get sideways round each flip? You may tweak your controls and automobile to change into a drifting machine. Or possibly you like hitting the apex of each flip and driving extra like an F1 racer? No worries, Unbound helps you to do this too. Each types really feel effectively supported and rewarded.
One thing I actually love about NFS Unbound and what helps set it aside from fellow open-world racing video games, like Forza Horizon, is how the sport makes you’re employed to earn quick automobiles and victories.
When you end the prologue you get caught with a junker and should scrape collectively winnings from small races across the metropolis to improve it. And early on, you get your ass kicked lots. Different racers within the metropolis are simply sooner than you, and except they eat it throughout a race, you’ll seemingly not win each occasion. And in contrast to in different racing video games, you may’t simply restart endlessly till you get first. Most occasions strictly restrict restarts, and a few don’t allow you to start once more in any respect. And in contrast to many present racing video games, NFS Unbound doesn’t have a rewind button. This makes each race extra thrilling and nerve-wracking.
Typically I’d skip occasions as a result of the buy-in was too excessive or I knew my present trip wasn’t as much as the problem. However for the really expert drivers on the market, Unbound will allow you to push your luck as a lot as you need and can reward you in the event you succeed.
I’ll admit, I spun out and crashed generally, and with no restarts, I used to be mad. It may be irritating, particularly when a random NPC driver takes you out of an occasion you paid to enter. However shedding is a part of the method. As you save up money and improve your automobile you begin profitable extra and it feels a lot extra satisfying than Forza Horizon 5 dumping 20 high-end supercars on you throughout the first hour of enjoying. (I nonetheless love Horizon, however I at all times discovered its development system to be boring.)
In fact, the police can and can derail all of your enjoyable and progress, and managing your warmth between occasions is essential. Get too wreckless through the day whereas exploring and ending up some small races and the fuzz will likely be tougher to shake at night time when the big-money occasions occur. And in the event you get caught with $20,000 in your pockets, you lose it. This may generally be annoying. However it’s all of the extra satisfying while you do make it again dwelling secure and sound with all that hard-earned money.
Want for Velocity Unbound is unlikely to tug the franchise out from beneath the shadows of larger, extra standard racing video games in 2022. However I do assume it has an opportunity of serving to the collection stand out extra. And no matter if Unbound turns into a giant hit or not, it’s a rattling high quality sport with some nice concepts that make each race extra thrilling and each improve really feel extra useful. And it seems rad the entire time, too.