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Need for Speed Unbound Review

Need for Speed Unbound

Release: December 2, 2022
Publisher: EA
Developer: Criterion Games
Genre: PS5 Reviews, ReviewsXbox Series X Reviews


Worth a Play About Rating
7.0 - Gameplay
7.5 - Video
8.0 - Audio

In a video game world that is dominated by Forza and Gran Toursimo, is there still room in the market for a successful Need for Speed installment. While Forza and Gran Tourismo typically stay in their lanes (pun intended) Need for Speed typically adds a particular gimmick to each game to make it stand out from the competition. This time around does it pay off for them, or are they left in the dust?

Welcome to Lakeshore City! The time is now to hit the streets and race to the top in Need for Speed™ Unbound. The next generation of the iconic Need for Speed franchise puts players in the driver seat of their own street racing fantasy as they outsmart cops and prove they have what it takes to win The Grand, Lakeshore’s ultimate street facing challenge.

With an all-new, unique visual style, Need for Speed Unbound blends elements of street art with the most realistic looking cars in the franchise’s history in smooth 4K resolution at 60 FPS for the first time in the series. The innovative single player campaign delivers thrills and consequences through an immersive narrative that engages players in the city of Lakeshore as they race, collect, upgrade and customize the world’s hottest performance cars on their way to the top of the scene.


If Fast and the Furious were to go back to it’s roots (and not flying in space) focusing on gritty street racing, this would be what this game is. With a single player campaign built upon deceit, theft, and of course “Family”.

It adds a layer of complexity to the racing genre to help make you feel like there is more going on than just race after race. Your ultimate goal is to rise to the king or queen of the streets and get revenge on someone who has wronged you. Below the story surface, your objective really is to race, win money, upgrade cars, lather, rinse, repeat.

The game runs amazingly in glorious 4K 60 FPS and the unique art style is very cool. It has elements of realism with the cars and environments but utlizes a street-art/anime style for your characters, and cars effects which is alot of fun to use and unlock different ones throughout the game.

I was concerned initially that it was too gimmicky and would lose appeal rather quickly, however I genuinely enjoyed it and it gave a more arcadey feel to the games foundation.


Control wise I did struggle a little with the game, drifting and cornering don’t seem as natural as it should in this game, but it didn’t deter me, just took longer to adapt. Ultimately each day you set out to the streets where you can collect artwork, smash signs, and of course race.

The goal is to win races, avoid the cops, and make it back to the safehouses with as much money as possible to qualify for the bigger competitions. The city has some different types of environments but nothing too crazy it all blends into itself overall, but there is alot of fun to be had while evading the police for sure.

Now, the focus of all these games of course are the cars, and there are no lack of options in Need for Speed Unbound. Now different than the last installment of Need for Speed you unlocked cars by having a set “reputation” to be able to get better cars, in Unbound it is purely based on money, if you lose a race, you lose money, cops catch you, lose money.

The more money you have the more customizations and cars you can afford. It does make for a slow grind which may appeal to real Need for Speed fans, having to adjust and unlock each fine tuning to make your car that much better in the next race.

All in all, Need for Speed continues to cement itself as the “fun” racing series vs the simulation that Gran Tourismo does and delivers more customization options than the arcade style that Forza Horizon can offer.



Article By

blank Kevin Austin has been in gaming journalism in one way or another since the launch of the Nintendo Gamecube. Married and father of 3 children he has been gaming since the ripe age of 6 when he got his first NES system and over 30 years later he is still gaming almost daily. Kevin is also co-founder of the Play Some Video Games (PSVG) Podcast network which was founded over five years ago and is still going strong. Some of his favorite gaming series includes Fallout and Far Cry, he is a sucker for single player adventure games (hence his big reviews for Playstation), and can frequently be found getting down in one battle royale or another. If it's an oddball game, odds are he's all about it.

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