Undoubtedly, fans of the “Need for Speed” license will remember “Most Wanted”, which was released in 2012 and was considered the best in the series. For its big comeback, three years after the release of “NFS Heat,” Electronics Arts decided to trust Criterion Games again, the same studio that worked on “Most Wanted” a decade earlier. And the least we can say is that this new collaboration was expected right around the corner…
With “Unbound,” you embody a pilot in the fictional Lakeshore City, heavily inspired by—not to mention copied—Chicago. What catches the eye from First Fist is the game’s aesthetics, as the graphic style is intended to be cartoonish, cartoonish and strongly inspired by street art. Risk we find fun right from the start. “But it’s unbelievable,” he surprised our journalist during his first minutes of the match. However, bias can be pushed to the limit by EA and Criterion Games & Cie. Why were only characters, cars, and certain effects like drifts, nitro, or jumps during races “cartooned” instead of the entire open world? We still ask ourselves the question.
Moreover, whoever says open world and fictional city necessarily says life. However, we can deplore the lack of life on the streets of Lakeshore City. Sure, there are a few pedestrians on the sidewalks or a vehicle or other on the roads, but does the city of Chicago get that low? We do not believe.
Despite this small detail, we can’t take away from EA that “NFS Unbound” is a fun game, and certainly the most fun game in a long time. The atmosphere and the universe of the game are really charming. The opus is aimed at fans of urban culture and music, with a trailer highlighting the best of rap, from A$ap Rocky to SCH.
In terms of gameplay, “Unbound” is very similar to “Heat”, which did not have the success hoped for three years ago. It’s a shame because the game boils down to a main story that takes place over four weeks: a race during the day, a race at night, and a scripted weekend. This is a huge downside to “NFS”, as it can get frustrating very quickly by constantly going back and forth between our hideouts and racing venues. Ha, if EA had taken advantage of “NexGen” to present us with an open world where challenges were presented to us while we were cruising at full speed behind the wheel of our cars…
However, there is a novelty compared to previous works as the Police Alert level is active during the day as well as during the night in “Unbound”. Perhaps the most annoying thing during the game is the behavior of the police. Depending on the level, it sometimes takes about ten minutes before you lose track of the police, which tends to be annoying, when you know you’re only driving from point A to point B to get to the departure line.
So yes, “Unbound” will appeal to “NFS” beginners, to customization fanatics because the possibilities are almost endless for your car or character, to fans of multiplayer racing games with cross-platform online mode, and certainly also to those who identify themselves in the urban environment. On the other hand, we have the impression that we are playing an arcade game that, like FIFA, lacks novelty in its gameplay.
Yes, the design and graphics are pleasing to the eye. But will we be able to have a Need for Speed where the open world is exploited to its fullest potential? That’s all we can hope for
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