Need for Speed Unbound - 2022 What's an A$AP Rocky?

Well, having just driven the 11th race, I can confirm that I should have just taken @TurinTur’s word for it. :)

I drove a bunch of races in the story mode, but I made the classic Tom Chick mistake of taking the muscle car as my starter car. This basically means you’re telling a game, “Handling? Pfft. I don’t need handling. I don’t even need to turn. Just give me massive acceleration and no grip, please!” Not that it really mattered, given this is just another one of Criterion’s rocket steering gamez. But I did want to try a few different cars before boredom uninstalling.

However, after doing the first half dozen missions in story mode, I didn’t see any way to change cars, or even buy a new car, or even any progression beyond dumping money into boosting whatever rocket I’m steering. So I backed out of story mode and discovered “Free Roam Mode”. Which also includes multiplayer.

And sure enough, “free roam” just a shell for multiplayer races. For my online mode, I picked the Nissan as the starter car and realized it didn’t make much difference, I might as well have the 1969 Dodge Challenger Nogrip Acceleratatron Deluxe I was using in single player. So I drove a few of these online multiplayer races, most of which seemed to drop me into “loaner cars” appropriate for the race, which meant I was steering rockets shaped like various dumbass Lambos and GT-STICKNUMBERHERE’s and Koenigsburger Lightning Plasma IIs and Totally Not A Batmobiles and whatnot. And still not seeing any progression beyond the money I’m racking up. Oh, look, I seem to be filling some level gauge towards level two. I wonder what will happen then?

I didn’t find out.

I obviously didn’t get far enough to appreciate whatever G they’ve supposed put into this caRPG, but I just don’t understand how Criterion keeps turning in these low-effort rocket-steering arcade simulators and passing them off as racing games, much less caRPGs. Is anyone actually buying these and playing them? They’re making money for EA? What poor suckers are ponying up for this retread? I would honestly rather go back to the barely remastered version of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, even junked up as it is with EA’s crassly jammed-in DLC.

I guess I can appreciate that they’re drawing little artsy graffiti effects onscreen to represent stuff like nitrous and drafting and big air. I like visual effects for gameplay that might otherwise be invisible. It reminds me of the wonderful visual aids in Agents of Mayhem, where there was a different effect for every boost or debuff. You didn’t have to flick your glance to the corner of the screen to check for the icon; it was right there, in front of you, built into the graphics! And a good driving game can benefit just as much from this sort of thing. Not that this Need for Speed is making very good use of the concept. I’m still having to look at the minimap in the corner to know where I’m going. But it does seem like one of these days, someone at Criterion might be on the verge of eventually figuring out how, at some point in time, they might be able to improve their interface. Hopefully, by that time, they’ll have figured out how to make good racing games again.

This feels like about 80% of a (really good) first page review, might as well finish it off and put it up for the world to see/rage at.

Thought this would be notably more stylized and a bit more over-the-top. Then I watched some gameplay videos, and it seemed to look like pretty much any of the recent NFS games with stylized vfx popping up for drifts and boosts. Characters are cel-shaded, but it’s not like you’d notice outside of cutscenes.

perfect description of every NFS game since…Rivals? ProStreet? I don’t even remember anymore. What a shame.

Even if free, I couldn’t bring myself to play another one of these NFS games. You all have more gamer cred than me.

One of the Digital Foundry guys seems to be enjoying it, but I don’t know enough about his personal taste in racing games to know if that should sway me. It has kept me from totally writing this off though.

My son is quite enjoying it. The campaign is apparently much more meaty than some of the recent games. While the handling would not be mistaken for a sim, he says the cars do feel different from each other to him.

I tried the trial for about 2 hours and uninstalled it. It just has nothing going for it, there is non-existent car physics, zero enjoyment from winning any race, cringe writing (“this car is straight fire!!”) and even graphically Forzas and GRIDs just look better (and let’s not even mention eight year old Driveclub).

Zach at Kotaku also posted positive impressions, saying he’s really enjoying it.

I guess it makes sense that these kinds of physics click with certain gamers. I’m just flummoxed by them, not really knowing the rules of the made-up physics, since I can’t rely on real world physics. That’s on the previous NFS titles though, I haven’t tried this one yet.

I ended up liking this. It’s a shame the trial kicks you out of SP when it ends. I think I preferred it to Forza Horizon 5, which was the last racer I played. Chicago seemed more visually dense than the Mexican desert, with its looping freeways and urban detail. I could be misremembering. In FH I also don’t remember it mattering if you couldn’t keep on the road - you just mowed down a swathe of cacti and kept on trucking. Here, although many obstacles disappear in a puff of debris, I could still prang myself on a pillar or something fairly often.

There was also no HUD driving line, unlike FH or FH the way I had it set up, which took me out of the setting less. The map was not a sea of icons, and I really liked the way the DPad would easily let you switch to the route to the next race or back home, and how choosing a race from your safehouse would start a route from the nearest safehouse. Some helpful intelligence from the UI, rather than a map as a menu with 100 choices on it.

The handling was the big weirdness at first, but it seemed to get better, either as I did, or the car did. Music didn’t do anything for me but it never does :)

Thumbs up.

Started playing this over the weekend a couple of hours in. I really appreciate the risk reward gameplay that is prominent throughout the game. Basically every aspect of the game has a push your luck element to it. Do another race but risk getting caught by the cops? Use one of your only four retries on this race or safe it up for the night races? The list goes on. For once the game is actually challenging on the difficulty that carries that name. I don’t think I even won a race straight up first place yet.

Anyone else struggling with getting through the first qualifier? I have a A car at the very top of the A rating (upgraded my original tier B) but I just can’t seem to not be eliminated in the second race for qualification. Not sure what to do now, the game bumps you back one day but I’m wondering if I should start over completely?

Don’t think I ever got that far. My chances of qualifying for anything would not have been high :)

You never got beyond the first week?

I actually expected the game to just reset to the beginning of the week if you fail to qualify. Now I’m in this really weird loop with being bumped back to friday with my money in the bank. This gives me a chance to grind for money but it feels really gamey.

It’s interesting that you just assume that the game is tuned really hard. You might be right. I haven’t played this NFS yet, but I played the previous one, NFS Heat, I believe it was called, and I had the same problem as you, I just couldn’t win a race to save my life. And it really seemed like the game expected me to win the race. So my assumption was that I just didn’t understand NFS physics well enough to win in the game. It’s not like real racing, it’s physics is its own special thing you have to try to grok. And I just couldn’t, so I gave up.

I had similar problems with earlier NFS titles. I do well in Forza games, NFS Shift, Gran Turismo and other titles that try to emulate real life physics, but throw me in an arcade race like NFS and Blur, and I just scratch my head at why I can’t win races.

It feels like my car is underpowered somehow like maybe I should have bought a fresh one instead of upgrading my original ride to the next class. Who knows! I’m not super bad at racing or anything. Maybe I played it safe too much and I should have pushed my luck by buying in to more risky races earlier.

Hey! I’m not bad at racing either! Only Need For Speed recently. :)

I’ll try to get to the 10 hour trial tonight to see what’s what with this particular game. It’s getting very good reviews.

Haha I wasn’t implying you are bad at racing. I remember you beating my time trials in drive club back in the day!

So I managed to grind myself out of the situation I was stuck on. My advice here would be to not start off the game by upgrading your B rated car to an A rated car for the first qualifier. Once I actually bought a new A rated car the qualifier became a breeze even though it had a lower rating than my upgraded car.

I’m now making my way through the second week. The environment is starting to get a bit dull. Lakeshore just doesn’t have a much variety in terms of views. But I’m enjoying the racing well enough to stick with it.

40% off at Epic already - $32.