Need for Speed Unbound revealed with bold new look

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After several delays as well as months of rumours and leaks, EA has officially revealed Need for Speed Unbound, the sequel to 2019’s Need for Speed Heat. Developed by Criterion Games, Need for Speed Unbound is taking the series in a bold new direction.

Unique art style

As rumours have indicated, Need for Speed Unbounded features an unusual art style, distinguishing it from other racers.

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Unbounded's visual style blends cel-shaded comic book-style characters with the “most realistic looking cars in the franchise’s history. As you drive, cartoon effects such as exaggerated smoke, sparks, and flames appear on screen.

The result reminds us of a modern-day Auto Modelista. Stylish driving also rewards drivers with a Burst Nitrous. This presumably means executing drifts, jumping, and narrowly avoiding traffic rewards you with boost.

You can see how Unbound’s unique art style looks in the official reveal trailer that was released prematurely.

Cop chases are also back with “new escape mechanics” that earn you big rewards while getting busted.

Innovative single-player campaign

Set in a new fictional open world called Lakeshore, the single-player campaign story revolves around a robbery at a family auto shop that sees you play as a rookie street racer reclaiming a priceless stolen car. Every race, decision, and side bet carries a risk and reward.

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American rapper A$AP Rocky will appear in-game as the leader of the Takeover Scene, a new precision driving mode. The rap star will also feature in the game's hip-hop-centric soundtrack along with artists like AWGE.

As for the multiplayer, a new Meetups feature will let you organise online street races across Lakeshore and explore the city in Freeroam.

Customisation

No Need for Speed game would be complete without comprehensive customisation, and Unbound is no exception. Unbound features hundreds of cosmetic items including licensed clothing from fashion brands and customisation parts.

Need for Speed Unbound reveal

EA and Criterion are being cryptic about specific gameplay details, but we should find out more in the run-up to release.

"Need for Speed Unbound is all about self-expression, taking risks and disrupting the status quo by just being you - through your racing style, unique car builds, fashion, music and much more,” said Kieran Crimmins, Creative Director at Criterion Games.

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“We are inspired to create a truly authentic universe where players see themselves represented in the game. The visual experience of Unbound redefines expectation, with a new signature art-style that brings graffiti to life, intensifies the competition, and creates adrenaline-inducing, high-speed action.”

Car list

EA has revealed the full Need for Speed Unbound car list. One of the highlights is American rapper A$AP Rocky's custom Mercedes-Benz 190E. The Mitsubishi Eclipse is also returning to Need for Speed.

Other highlights include the McLaren F1, Ford GT, Aston Martin Vulcan, and many more. You can check out the full Need for Speed Unbound car list on EA's website.

Platforms and Deluxe Edition

As rumours suggested, Need for Speed Unbound will release on current-gen platforms only for PS5, Xbox One Series X|S and PC. It will not be available on PS4 and Xbox One.

Two versions of Need for Speed Unbound will be available. The standard version retails for $69.99 (UK pricing not confirmed yet), while the Palace Edition retails for $79.99 and includes four custom cars, a clothing pack, driving effect, decals and license plate, character pose and banner artwork.

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Release date

The Need for Speed Unbound release date is 2 December. However, pre-ordering the game gives you three days early access on 29 November.

Players who pre-order will also receive a driving effects pack, decals, license plate, banner artwork, stickers and $150,000 Bank for multiplayer.