Need For Speed Unbound on The PlayStation5
The most infuriating, tough, super-cool-looking NFS game, I have probably ever played.
The Need For Speed franchise has been around for thousands of years, well, that's an exaggeration, but it's been around. I cannot recall the first NFD I ever played. I want to Say Need For Speed II, on the PS One but I could be wrong. I remember not enjoying that game as much. At the time I was full-on Gran Turismo. I never played another NFS game until 2003, when Need For Speed Underground came out. Remember?
prrrum-dum-dum dun-dah-dum dah-dum dah-dum
3-6-9, damn you fine
Hoping she can sock it to me one more time
Get low, get low (get low), get low (get low), get low (get low) +
I still listen to the game's soundtrack to this day. Anyways, that was when I fell in love with the franchise. I have played, if not all of them, at least most of them ever since. With NFS Most Wanted being my favorite, I remember playing that game over and over again, Annie would sit and watch me play and give me tips on what to do during cop chases, so much fun!
Need For Speed Unbound is the latest entry, and I have to confess that when I first saw the trailer for it, I was a bit skeptical. Mainly because of the direction they took with the art style, it seemed too flashy and whimsical. So I was not entirely sure I would necessarily play it. Until around Christmas time. There was (or is) a big sale on the PlayStation store, one game on sale was Gran Turismo 7 and the Deluxe version of NFS Unbound, both almost at the same price point. Long story short, I, spoilers, ended up purchasing Unbound. Why? Well, I knew I had a history with the franchise, I love the unrealism-ish of it, unlike GT7 which is a real-driving-simulator and has no story, NFS games do have a story not just driving around.
The art style is definitely very interesting, it is almost like Spiderman into the Spiderverse type of style. The car look kind of realistic, in contrast to the characters who look more cartoony, and yet it all works out so well. Then you have all these animated effects around the car for whenever you do a long leap and "fly" you get wings, or the smoke when drifting, are all cartoony but it doesn't feel wrong or look bad. It is actually quite fun. The game, like its predecessors, has a very strong soundtrack. My favorite song is definitely Villano Antillano: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 51 by Bizarrap & Villano Antillano 😎
Now, the gameplay. In many ways, this iteration of NFS feels or has a very different approach. This one follows the same formula, you have daylight races and nightly ones. In previous games, you'd make money out of the daily races, lots of it, and at night, street rep, at least on NFS Heat was like that, and you could pick any race or event you wanted. In Unbound, however, you need to buy your way into the races, there are some you don't have to pay to get in but very little money to be made, and this is what makes Unbound a little frustrating at times, particularly at the beginning of the game. It is not like you can get your car maxed out super-quick, and it is a struggle to get there. There were many races in which I would only make it 3rd place. They can be a little frustrating, is like you got to have a perfect run, no mistakes, no hitting other cars, not over drift, and have a perfect take off or you will lose the race. Yes, you can re-start a race if you so wish but keep in mind, you only have 10 re-starts for the whole week. I think the only events that I have mostly excelled in have been take-over events, which are mostly drifting and doing stunts.
The way the story is setup it is a three or four weeks event, you do races day and night, from Monday through Friday, and this is where you race, make money and fix your car, then on Saturday night, is the qualifier. Not only do you need to be making money to buy your way into races and fix your car but also, to buy your way into the qualifier, and the qualifier, ain't cheap. The qualifier is a series of three races, and drivers get eliminated in each one until there are only three of you. You win monies and a car, of course.
Cop Chases! Ugh!!! GRRRR!! Mother@#%
As you complete races, you gain heat, which determines basically the amount of trouble you're in with the cops, and the cops in this game, do not fool around. Well, they do, at levels 1 through 3, I would say. Levels 4 and up, is where things get hairy. You get the regular patrols, Interceptors (those are policemen driving them Corvettes, easy to take out, though), 4WD SUBs, Helicopters, big SWAT pickup trucks, and Undercover cars. And is not just one helicopter, you get two and they are a pain, at least until you find some tunnels or something to hide. There have been times when I have spent more time running from cops and trying to make it to a safe house than racing. Or once I have escaped, I am hiding somewhere with my car turned off just waiting for the opportunity to get out and drive. I don't know, perhaps I just suck at running from the cops, who knows. It adds a level of intensity and stress that I don't remember having from other games in the series.
Even Annie tells me, If it's so draining, why do you keep playing it?
Well, darling, I am a sucker for punishment I guess!
And yes, at times it feels a little draining, which is why I take breaks from playing this game, I go one or two days without playing it. I am in the third week now, racing category S cars, did one race so far and lost.
Fun game, though!