Developer: Criterion Software
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release date: November 29, 2022
Available on: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
The twenty fifth installment of the long running series, the first for Criterion as main developer since the 2012 game Most Wanted. The game takes place in Lakeshore City, where your created character refurbishes an old junker at Rydell’s garage, becomes involved with street racing, and deals with the enmity of a mayor bent on cracking down on the racers. The game gives you the typical list of things to do (races, picking up and delivering cars, evading police, and etc.) over a decent sized map. The art style is a nice blend of realistic cel-shaded animation enhanced with anime style effects. The racing is standard, with controls being a little looser than they should be, with the AI drivers given unfair advantages. The story and characters are serviceable, but wear thin quickly.
Great art style
Nice sized map with plenty to do
Plenty of customzation available
Police chases can be fun
AI drivers never crash or wipe out, giving them unfair advantages in racing events
Story wears thin quickly, with no real meaningful development of characters
Controls feel loose
In all, Need for Speed: Unbound can be fun in small doses, with a flashy art style and a lot of customization. The story is serviceable but wears thin quickly, making it one of the more average titles for the series. Worth a look, but best to wait for a sale before purchasing.