Style is everything in this new arcade racer game

New EA game Need for Speed: Unbound hits the market with smashing reviews.



Promotional poster for Need For Speed: Unbound, a new game form the EA game company.


EA enters the competition with their new racing game following their bi-yearly release schedule that usually follows with their serialized games. This new racing game, titled Need For Speed: Unbound is the latest installment in the Need For Speed (mostly abbreviated to NFS) franchise.

The game was released on Dec. 2, 2022.

Unbound was developed by Criterion Games, who out of all of EAs studios is the fan favorite. Criterion also worked on another set of games such as the latest installment of Battlefield, the Burnout racing series, the EA Battlefront series and even Need For Speed since 2010.

Unbound follows the story of a foster child to the owner of a custom mod shop named Rydell in the Chicago based city, Lakeshore. They recently started to climb the racing ranks once they and their friend Jasmine, also known as Yaz, fix up one of 3 starter cars at the beginning of the game. Don’t get too attached to Yaz or the car however, as at the end of the prologue they quickly get betrayed by Yaz and she takes the car with her, never seeing her again until 2 years later when they decided to start racing again.

EA changed how the game looks, opting out the hyper-realistic characters the game usually sports and replaces them with Cel-Shaded characters that’s placed into a realistic world. The art style resembles animation popularized by the hit Marvel/Sony movie Into the Spider-Verse. They still animate through Mo-cap though, so don’t be too surprised to see it’s not animated on 2s like the mentioned movie. With the switch of the character style also introduces the driving effects, which are Graffiti-esc effects that protrude from your car while doing a multitude of things in and out of a race. This can vary from neon colored smoke that comes from the tires while drifting to wings that sprout from the side of the car once you get at least a second of airtime. There’s been a bit of a split in the fan base because of the creative decisions made on the game however, so it’s hard to tell whether or not this has been a good decision to do.

The game also again visits Day and Night phases where, like in the previous games where the day is safer and dons easier races, the night has “high risk, high reward” races that can easily cause you to lose all of your money from the amount of heat you gain. Heat, the game mechanic that the last game was named after, is the wanted level. Ranging from 0-5, each heat level brings in a new cop threat to deal with, from normal low-speed cruisers to higher speed interceptors that end up being nearly impossible to outrun and race against the longer they’re active. Since in this game Street Racing is illegal no matter the phase, you’re able to gain heat on both day and night cycles of the game, this heat carries on from day to night so be weary of gaining too much during the day so you can still earn as much money as you can during the night to get ready for the qualifier at the end of the week.

Speaking of weeks, another new mechanic the game introduces is the weeks. From Sunday to Saturday, each Day/Night cycle ends the day of the week, advancing to the next. Each day of the week can have an exclusive event that only happens for that day for that week, but it cycles back after the 4th week to simulate the in-game month, so don’t worry if you miss it the first time.

Unbound’s music moves on from the Reggaeton and Latin Music that it had from the last game, Heat, and instead has A$AP Rocky, who also makes an appearance in game, lead Unbound’s soundtrack with more Hip-Hop based music. EA always had introduced people to less popular artist when it came to the soundtracks of NFS but many people loved the EDM and Rock that the game usually plays during the free roam, races and cop chases so this decision also came with its drawbacks.

Unbound is a huge graphical update from the previous games. Not only does it looks clear and runs smoothly, it is another game on the list of titles that is able to run 4k at 60 frames per second (FPS) at the same time, instead of the 4k at 30 FPS or 1440(and most times 1080) at 60 FPS that most current-gen console games aim for.

Unbound is a real fun game that I’m sure the developers had a real fun time making. Testing the limits of the game’s creativity can bring a game to its knees, but for Unbound it just works. It won’t ease the itch that people have been waiting to scratch since Underground 2, but it’s still a nice game to pick up and try for yourself, for new or veteran players.