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Need for Speed: Unbound


StreetLife102
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Gameplay for this starting to leak, looks a lot like NFS Heat in terms of racing/gameplay which is not unexpected really.

 

Waiting for reviews before I consider it at full price, wouldn't mind something to play to pass the time before TW3's update.

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StreetLife102

The traffic density and peds looks pretty good for me. The city feels more alive than Heat's Palm City

Edited by StreetLife102

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Lot of footage out there now, nothing in great quality so it's hard to get a good idea of how it actually looks visually but beyond that I think it looks very decent IMO.

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Playing the trial (EA Play), it's very decent IMO. The handling is still a little dodgy at times but it varies from car to car and you can tweak the handling a bit on a per car basis like you could in prior games. You can also turn traction control on and off to switch the car between the "drift" style cornering and a more traditional racing line cornering handling model. Each car is suited to drift or grip cornering, and some can be tweaked in that area as well. I definitely prefer the grip cornering, the drift cornering has always been a bit dodgy for me.

 

The sketch book effects can't be turned off completely, by the way. You can disable some of them on your car but not for others. This was clarified when they tweeted about it a while back IIRC but I think some are still unaware of that. Doesn't bother me, I'm fine w/ the effects, but it may bother others.

 

Also the story isn't going to win any awards or blow anyone away in any shape or form, but it's alright thus far, not skipping any cutscenes yet anywho.

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Enjoying it, though playing a lot of Forza Horizon and playing something like NFS is a jarring experience progression wise. Forza's collectathon mentality to cars means I'm so used to juggling between cars but almost at the end of the first week in the story and I'm still in my starter car with no idea when I'll get a new one. I assume the money will start to flow at some point but yea, the money you get in the first week basically all goes on parts for your car as you really can't get away with leaving it stock until you get a new one.

 

Night time is as tense and sort of frustrating as it was in Heat. Lots of cat and mouse on the way to events and safehouses, sometimes you can get f*cked by really bad cop spawns.

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I will say one thing that I really don't like is the seperation of single player and online. I understand the reasoning behind seperating the progression for a more balanced online (supposedly), but driving around the world with no other players in sight is a bit rubbish IMO. I did like that in Heat, the world felt alive, you'd see people getting chased, people looking for collectables, see other peoples cars, etc. An open world racer with no seamless online free roam when you're not in a mission, in 2022, just feels a bit daft.

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I've downloaded the trial last night & here's my initial impression of it:

 

Cringefest marketing campaign aside, Unbound is better than Heat in almost every aspect. Its not even a comparison.

 

Map:

Lakeshore is based on Chicago, I can't tell how accurate it is, but I recognized some of Chicago's landmarks. The El train is present & active, unlike Miami's Monorail in Heat. The Chicago river, bridges & the Marina City twin towers are there, very strong Driver 2 vibes.

 

It's the best map of the modern NFS games. From I've seen in game so far, the map is well balanced between city & country side, and has a decent highway system.

 

Cars & Customizations:

Car selection remains the weak point of NFS. There are about 140 or so cars in the game, the majority of them are carried over from Heat & still have the gazillion Aventador/911 variants. No Audis though, the license must've expired.

 

Customizations are mostly the same, but you can remove bumpers from some cars.

 

Mechanical upgrades & chassis tweaks are carried over from Heat, they just changed the menu. The cars are divided into tiers based on their performance now, just like Forza. B, A, A+ & S.

 

The rep level is no more. From what I can tell, you unlock parts by upgrading your garage. Basically, paywall.

 

Gameplay & Handling:

 

The cars feels heavier now & doing jumps feels more more natural than Heat. That said, it remains arcady & basically an evolution of the familiar NFS handling from the previous games. The game doesn't penalize you for going off-road in a street tire/suspension setup anymore like it did in Heat. You'll sacrifice some speed, but you still have a chance to escape the police unless ... (See below).

 

B2D is still here, but I think you can disable it.

 

Cops & Police Chases:

 

The 5 Heat levels are carried over, but from I've seen they overhauled everything else. Cops are more lenient & not as rubberbandy as Heat, you have a fighting chance in a low level car.

 

Patrol cars & level 1 pursuit cars are 2013 Dodge Charger SRTs, probably the same files they've been using since Rivels, just reskinned. Anyway, they're easy to outrun & terrible off-road.

 

Level 2 cars are Ford Explorers. They easy to outrun, but they're stronger & have good off-roading capabilities.

 

Level 3 cars are C7 Corvette GSs, they're fast & more challenging to outrun, but they're weak.

 

Level 4 cars are Camaro Z28 "undercover" cars. They don't show up on your radar, but you can spot them as there no civilian NPC Camaros in the game (afaik). They can call in roadblocks.

 

The police helicopters joins the pursuit at level 4, they chase you until they run out of gas.

 

Level 5 cars are the SWAT & Helicopter patrols, they drive a modified/reinforced Ford Raptors.

 

Correction: Level 5 includes helicopter patrol units as well, they look for you in freeroam.

 

The police doesn't chase you on sight if you have a heat level like they did in Heat, they take a few seconds to "recognize you", which gives you an opportunity to fly past them in freeroom. I've done it a few times in my Datsun Z.

 

They also done away with the 2 cop squad system they had in Heat, no more High-Speed Task Force. The Same cars/cops that chases you during the day are the ones that chase you during the night.

 

Overall, I'd say its a welcome improvement. The catch is your heat level carries over from day to night & doesn't reset until the next in-game day.

 

Story:

If you're a veteran Need For Speed player, you know a cheesy story is all what you're gonna get it & Unbound is no different.

 

No spoilers, but what from I've seen so far, there's a mayoral election coinciding with the story, IMHO they should've put the politics out of it.

 

Characters:

Villain, Sidekicks & Mechanic, you know the usual Need For Speed stuff. I wish they didn't make the mechanic goofy, there better ways to make a lovable character than making it a goofy one.

 

Minor characters are somewhat decent & not as cringy as Heat.

 

They seem to have a decent script this time, but dialogues unrelated to the story are limited and somehwhat repetitive. I played for less Than a day & I'm already having flashbacks of cops calling me "sh*tbird" in Heat.

 

In-game Economy:

They adjusted the prices of some cars from previous games, the Challenger & Giulia are more expensive now. Some remain unchanged like the RX7 & M2. Most expensive car in the game is the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport at 3 million dollars.

 

Payouts are peanuts so far, but I'm still early in the game & it's too soon to judge. There are side-bets once you finish the prologue.

 

Story mode & multiplayer are two separate modes now & your cars/cash doesn't transfer between the two like pervious NFS games, seems like they're gearing up for Microtransaction-infested online mode.

 

Multiplayer supports cross-platform play, but you can disable it.

 

Collectables:

There are collectables, they're shared between both SP & Online. As far as I can tell, it's mostly liveries, poses and smoke effects, the only car locked behind them is the Nismo 370Z (135 stars from Long Jumps).

 

Correction: Cars unlocked through collectibles are the Ferrari 488GTB, BMW M4 GTS & Nissan 370Z Nismo.

 

Character Customization:

You can choose from 8 different presets, 5 chicks & 3 dudes. Once you edit/change the character later in the garage. You can change the face, eyes, hair, facial hair & skin color. Nothing fancy though, you choose from presets on each category. Oh and you can change poses.

 

 Clothes are mostly "streetwear", not my style.

 

Misc.:

Car health is still there, but they replaced the 3 gas station fixes with a 90 second cool down. Unlimited fixes, but with cooldowns, sounds fair.

 

Correction: the cooldown is 3 minutes.

 

The game only saves your progress & cash earned when you visit the garage. Heat had the same thing but only for the night cycle & your potential losses were capped to $20k. Unbound doesn't appear to capped do far.

 

Correction: Progress is autosaved, but cash is not.

 

Now on to the controversial stuff:

 

The visual effects, I'll split it into two:

 

1) Amine character style. Ehh, They're not bad, I got used to them. Not enough cut scenes anyway.

 

2) Smoke effects. They're not as intrusive as the ones in The Crew 2 and you can't turn them off. There's smoke a style called "Cloaked",  it's basic animated gray smoke. That's the one I chose, its not in your face like the other ones. You can't turn off the wings when you jump a long distance and the swirls when you do burnout. The light trails are cool though.

 

"Diversity".

This is the hot topic on Reddit nowadays & every time someone mention the "D" word they get labeled Racist, Sexist & so on. Here's my hot take: We've always had diverse characters of all backgrounds, ethnicities & sexual orientation in Need For Speed, and it always felt organic, but Criterion just had to virtue signal it in one of their press releases & now they made it sound forced. All they had to do is keep their mouth shut & no one would've thought anything. Sigh ...

 

The soundtrack:

Yeah, there's no sugar coating this one. It's awful. There are couple of decent songs here and there. But man that Arabic song they picked is beyond cringy, Arabic is my native language and I almost died of cringe when I heard it.

 

Oh yeah, you can skip songs in the game 

.... Except its bugged and you can't. 🤦

_______

 

Anyway that's my impression of the game so far.

 

Will I buy it? Hahahahahahahaha no.

Not for 70 bucks I won't. I haven't paid full for a game since GTA V on the Xbox 360 & the only game I'm willing to is GTA VI.

 

Plus, the way EA treated Heat left a bad taste in my mouth. So I'll wait until the full game is on EA Play & play it then or when it hits 20-30 dollars on sale.

Edited by IceDree
Few corrections/updates.
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8 hours ago, IceDree said:

The game only saves your progress and cash earned when you visit the garage. Heat had the same thing but only for the night cycle & your potential losses were capped to $20k. Unbound doesn't appear to capped do far.

 

Just to clarify this one, you can close the game mid day or night and return to it where you left of, your progress during the day/night is saved but your cash isn't banked and safe until you visit the garage. I had the game crash on me literally as I crossed the line in a delivery job and when I loaded it back up the game picked up where it left off - with the race I crashed at the end of done as well, weirdly.

 

I do agree with what you said about the cops as well, they are noticeably easier than Heat's in the early game. I remember Heat's cops being pretty grueling at Heat 2-3 in the starter cars but here I've been able to get away from them still in a B/A class, without any of the extra gadgets too.

 

Also I hear the trial for the single player effectively ends when you reach (or do? idk) the first qualifier which is a bit eh but w/e.

 

I've enjoyed the trial thus far but the split of online and SP is a bit of a sour spot for me and there's a few things out this month so while it's £35 on CDKeys I may wait for it to get a bit cheaper before I return to it. We'll see how the other games I'm interested in review and stuff.

 

It's a very decent game though IMO, if I don't pick it up this week I'll 100% return to it at some point be it through a sale or when it comes to EA Play.

 

Edit: can confirm the trial ends at the start of the saturday (qualifier day). Once you hit that point you can no longer do anything in single player beyond customise your cars and character. You can continue to access the online mode though.

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On 11/30/2022 at 2:47 PM, Jason said:

 

Just to clarify this one, you can close the game mid day or night and return to it where you left of, your progress during the day/night is saved but your cash isn't banked and safe until you visit the garage. I had the game crash on me literally as I crossed the line in a delivery job and when I loaded it back up the game picked up where it left off - with the race I crashed at the end of done as well, weirdly.

 

Oh okay, I stand corrected. I thought it was like Heat.

 

Thanks!

On 11/30/2022 at 2:47 PM, Jason said:

I do agree with what you said about the cops as well, they are noticeably easier than Heat's in the early game. I remember Heat's cops being pretty grueling at Heat 2-3 in the starter cars but here I've been able to get away from them still in a B/A class, without any of the extra gadgets too.

Yeah, I managed to escape a level 5 in my class A Datsun Z a couple times, but I wouldn't risk it if I'm carrying substantial amounts of cash.

 

On 11/30/2022 at 2:47 PM, Jason said:

Also I hear the trial for the single player effectively ends when you reach (or do? idk) the first qualifier which is a bit eh but w/e.

Yeah, I didn't get that far though.

 

On 11/30/2022 at 2:47 PM, Jason said:

I've enjoyed the trial thus far but the split of online and SP is a bit of a sour spot for me and there's a few things out this month so while it's £35 on CDKeys I may wait for it to get a bit cheaper before I return to it. We'll see how the other games I'm interested in review and stuff.

Yeah, I'm not I a hurry to pick it up either.

 

Test Drive supposedly comes out next year, ideally I'd rather wait and see how it compares to Need For Speed.

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Unbound is definitely a step in the right direction (I say this as someone who absolutely loathes the previous 3 NFS games), but this game to me shows that they've only put in the minimum amount of effort required to realize its gameplay features.

 

The map feels mostly uninspired (I cant think of the right term to use here) and disjointed, and its only slightly less of a ghost town compared to Heat's map for instance. I suspect the game features no dense traffic because, once again, the handling model is still mostly ass and hellbent towards making you drift, and most players would find it very difficult to weave through traffic using it.

 

Speaking of, what is this game's problem with people who prefer grippy handling? A lot of high paying events are drift/drift-focused events (and most of them seem to even be OFFROAD 🤨🤨🤨).

 

Betting system makes no sense either; not a single racer turns down my bet offers despite me kicking their ass numerous times. So why bother saying that they've "accepted my offer" when they apparently cant refuse :shillkek:  Juiced 2 came to mind when I first saw this feature, but clearly they couldn't even be arsed to properly implement the system. Ideally, bets should be player adjustable and scaled with both your and your rival's race performance/history, and such can be denied or countered, etc.

 

Why they bothered implementing the other racers as speaking characters during races without giving them any sort of personality is beyond me as well. Our character stays mute during the race first of all for some reason, and the other racers sometimes ENCOURAGE AND PRAISE US lmao What kind of street racers are these???? Do they have no interest in actually winning? Might as well just park their cars and let us go ahead haha    They could've taken a page out of Midnight Club LA's book here to give us some fun exchanges between these characters both in and outside of races, plus using it as a natural way to give us their background info (instead of lazily dumping info in a black text box).

 

 

How hard is it to just improve on the standards that street racing games like Midnight Club LA set more than 10 years ago 🥴 this game barely moves past the now monotonous gameplay that the Black Box NFS era brought us.

 

Atleast the game looks great visually (the effects are a bit distracting though) and it runs perfectly on my system at max settings 1440p ultrawide even with my old CPU. Praise be to DLSS :rah:

 

A8d7RT-ScfUR.png

 

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This is one of these games that is probably too expensive, even if you get the game for free. Because it's not even worth the time that it takes to play it lol. "Heat" i at least downloaded an illegal copy of it to try it out for like half an hour then i uninstalled it, but i won't even bother to do that with "Unbound" lol.

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3 hours ago, Dock said:

The map feels mostly uninspired

 

From what I played it's just... not memorable. It's not poorly designed, poorly laid out or visually poor or anything, it's just video game cities need to be landmark heavy to make them memorable. So big stadiums, big parks, big statues, airfields, big natural landmarks, that sort of stuff, but there's none of that here, it's like they built the road network and then built the scenery around it. The result is an unmemorable city that's not got much in the way of atmosphere at all. Compare that to say Forza Horizon whose maps are littered with landmarks which are scattered around a variety of visually distinct zones making the map very memorable.

 

3 hours ago, Dock said:

Speaking of, what is this game's problem with people who prefer grippy handling? A lot of high paying events are drift/drift-focused events (and most of them seem to even be OFFROAD 🤨🤨🤨).

 

Yea the takedowns and drift events pay well but both absolutely require drifting to win and the reality is, IMO, that the drift handling is... garbage. The whole drift model makes absolutely no sense, it wants you to go go wide on turns and then drift mid corner and sh*t which is ??? and requires unlearning how to actually drift in every other car game just to learn how to go round a corner fast.

 

Grip handling is mostly fine but the drift handling model can bite you in the arse still even when you have a car tuned for grip.

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StreetLife102

I haven't played the game yet, I've only watched gameplays of it on YouTube. The customization is good, do you guys think it's better than Heat's customization?

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Customisation is good, I don’t think you’ll have too much to complain about there. Perhaps more wheel and bodykit options would’ve been nice, but what’s present is pretty neat. You can straight up remove certain body panels now which is… interesting 🥴

 

It is strangely still missing RAYS and Enkei wheels though (and possibly other stuff). There’s a knock off version of the TE37 atleast iirc lol

 

Did notice that some of the parts have incorrect logos in the UI (APR wing on the Eclipse has the generic Speedhunters logo for example); maybe some stuff got cut last minute. Would be interesting to see the full list through a debug menu.

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I'm no customisation expert and I haven't got a good game to compare it against (except FH, which isn't known for it's visual customisation), but it seems pretty good to me. Fair amount of body parts per car, overall body kits, full vinyl editor, stance editor, exhaust note editor, neon kits, all bases seem to be covered.

 

In fact I'd say the areas where the customisation is weak are the sketchbook effects, they're all basically the same except in different colours with a different icon above the car. I expected you to be able to custom the smoke, NOS and air (wing) effects independently but nope. Character customisation also isn't bad but could've done with more options clothing wise, as well as a better UI. It's dominated by recolours which make scrolling through the list a chore.

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12 hours ago, StreetLife102 said:

I haven't played the game yet, I've only watched gameplays of it on YouTube. The customization is good, do you guys think it's better than Heat's customization?

It's 50/50.

 

- A few cars received new outlandish widebodies, like the Crown Victoria, Defender, 69 Charger, Silvia S15 & GT-R.

 

- You can remove the front/rear bumpers of some cars now, mostly Japanese sports cars & the Huracan.

 

- Some cars received new bodykits, like the Skyline R32.

 

- Some cars actually lost bodykits, according to reddit, the Skyline R34's 2F2F bodykit is no more.

 

- There are new wheels, but they're mostly disks.

 

- Most of the stuff are carried over from Heat, Payback & 2015.

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Watched a couple trailers and the game looks OK. I hate the silly animations though and they would drive me insane. Thanks for letting me know I cannot turn them off because it saves me money and anger, lol.

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having alot of fun with this game, i appreciate how im not winning every race like every other racing game, and high heat chases are so stressful i love it. 

i didnt like the effects at first but now i love it, not sure about the anime looking character models tho

customization is awesome too, here is my eclipse with a random design i threw together.

image.png

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35 minutes ago, boomboom5950 said:

i appreciate how im not winning every race like every other racing game

 

It took me a second to realise this was intentional and once I realised that it made a lot more sense and also made racing more enjoyable tbh. In many racing games now it's restart and sweat until you finish 1st but here I'd only restart on stuff like the deliveries, the actual races with your own cars? Nah, cause that's literally part of the game, building up your car and progressing up the grid.

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I've put about 10 hours into the game now and I feel like I've seen enough to speak my mind on it. I started out thinking it was a big step in the right direction, but overall the game just manages to piss me off. Progression is being weighed down by the overpowered police AI and their cockroach presence. It's not fun. Every race basically ends in pursuit once you are heat 3.5 and above. In previous games, pursuits could at least be deterred with pursuit breakers to take out cops, but now it's either run until you build a large enough gap, or f*ck the health of your car up trying to take out as many as you can. With lower-tier cars, it's much harder to build gaps, so you have to rely on snaking your way through every corner downtown. I don't even trust having more than 40k unbanked because I don't know when I'm going to get t-boned by an undercover or a heavy. Don't even get me started on the roaming helis; you can be chilling under some sort of cover and they'll literally hover over you still, giving you no escape.

 

Sure, call it a skill issue all you want, but I can't see myself playing this game after a long ass day at work until this is nerfed. It's unbelievable how close the devs are to getting it right and then they make a left turn. 

 

The car list is good, no complaints there. The game is visually stunning. Love the customization, both car and character-wise. Multiplayer is very bare-bones rn but I'm sure this won't be the case in due time. But holy sh*t please fix the police. I'll give it a 6.5/10 right now.

Edited by Flachbau

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I love it so far and it appears to me that it's the best NFS game since Most Wanted (the 2005 one which for me is still the GOAT NFS game).

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9 hours ago, Flachbau said:

Every race basically ends in pursuit once you are heat 3.5 and above

 

IMO a good fix would be to continue the chase as soon as you cross the line, so no end of race screen or anything like that, just straight up cross the line and continue being chased there and then.

 

With the way it is now once you cross the line the game sort of "resets" everything, so you start a chase with cops chasing you every time, where as if had no one on you or close to you during the race, as soon as you cross the line you can take advantage of that. Would be more rewarding than the current system, anywho.

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6 hours ago, Jason said:

 

IMO a good fix would be to continue the chase as soon as you cross the line, so no end of race screen or anything like that, just straight up cross the line and continue being chased there and then.

 

With the way it is now once you cross the line the game sort of "resets" everything, so you start a chase with cops chasing you every time, where as if had no one on you or close to you during the race, as soon as you cross the line you can take advantage of that. Would be more rewarding than the current system, anywho.

true, i would be at the finish line ahead of the pack and the cops are chasing some other racers and once the race ends they all teleport to me and chase me.

 

15 hours ago, Flachbau said:

I've put about 10 hours into the game now and I feel like I've seen enough to speak my mind on it. I started out thinking it was a big step in the right direction, but overall the game just manages to piss me off. Progression is being weighed down by the overpowered police AI and their cockroach presence. It's not fun. Every race basically ends in pursuit once you are heat 3.5 and above. In previous games, pursuits could at least be deterred with pursuit breakers to take out cops, but now it's either run until you build a large enough gap, or f*ck the health of your car up trying to take out as many as you can. With lower-tier cars, it's much harder to build gaps, so you have to rely on snaking your way through every corner downtown. I don't even trust having more than 40k unbanked because I don't know when I'm going to get t-boned by an undercover or a heavy. Don't even get me started on the roaming helis; you can be chilling under some sort of cover and they'll literally hover over you still, giving you no escape.

 

Sure, call it a skill issue all you want, but I can't see myself playing this game after a long ass day at work until this is nerfed. It's unbelievable how close the devs are to getting it right and then they make a left turn. 

 

The car list is good, no complaints there. The game is visually stunning. Love the customization, both car and character-wise. Multiplayer is very bare-bones rn but I'm sure this won't be the case in due time. But holy sh*t please fix the police. I'll give it a 6.5/10 right now.

i agree with this too, the cops are a little too annoying. especially at heat 5 when the cops can detect you in like 0.2 seconds and another 10 minute chase happens. Its cool when its infrequent but it happens a little too often

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StreetLife102

I watched some gameplays of the game and it looks like its sense of speed is a little bit worse than Heat. One of the reasons is in Heat, when you near miss a car, the camera shakes.. and in Unbound it doesn't. I haven't played the game yet so I might be wrong, but it kinda looks like Unbound uses a lower FOV than Heat making the car look slower

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Sense of speed is decent IMO, IIRC there's a camera shake slider that may impact how much it shakes but I don't recall it shaking when you had a near miss - which doesn't bother me, though I generally turn camera shake way down or off if given the option in most games. Activating NOS, especially when you have the full 3 bars of boost, has a really good sense of speed while it's active, especially when combined with all the effects.

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StreetLife102

Camera shakes are realistic and gives better sense of speed to me. It's odd and boring when I'm driving my car at 200 miles per hour.. while the camera is just there, steady and only following the car. Driveclub did good on this, here's an example

 

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Camera shake is the least used thing to give a sense of speed in that Driveclub video, the weather effects are massive and also the much narrower FoV, which they can get away with in a more typical racing game.

 

Here's a decent video showing off the sense of speed in Unbound: 

 

 

Wider FoV as you have to be able to see more which naturally hurts the sense of speed, less camera shake is also important (though again I think there is a slider, can't remember) as to not make it hard to make out things in the distance (checkpoints, obstacles, cops, etc). But I still think it's fine, NOS in particular gives a great sense of speed. Full boost NOS feels like your car turns into a rocket ship lol.

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