Need for Speed Unbound’s Anime-Like Visuals Are a Step in the Right Direction

Need for Speed fans finally got their first official look at Need for Speed Unbound today, but it’s hardly the first time many had heard of it. The official title of Need for Speed Unbound leaked online a few days ago, while small snippets of gameplay seemingly circulated around the internet, and its graphics were described as “anime” as far back as a couple of months ago. In the grand scheme of things, Need for Speed Unbound was known to exist, but EA kept it in its back pocket for a little while.


Now, Need for Speed Unbound has materialized and fans will be playing it this December on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X. And it would seem that it quickly caught the eyes of many fans. When Need for Speed Unbound was first described as having an “anime” aesthetic, which is close enough if perhaps not exactly the right word, many were hesitant. Yet, with this full reveal, it’s clear it was the right choice by EA and Criterion Games.

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Need for Speed Unbound is Trying Something New as Racing Games Get Old

As a whole, racing games have been on a downward trend in popularity. They’re like less popular sports games. Madden NFL will put out a new game every year and fans will flock to it. Racing games have their fans, but many won’t necessarily rush to them. In fact, in terms of Need for Speed, it would seem that its best days are behind it. To this day, Most Wanted (the 2005 version) is still considered the best in the franchise by many. And that’s nothing against racing games like Need for Speed Heat, which was a solid entry, but at the end of the day, the goal of each game is to escape police and make it to the finish line, if to varying degrees and various methods of completing those tasks.

The core gameplay of a racing game cannot change, but the approach to it can. While the racing genre has some fatigue associated with it, it’s hard to think of any game that takes the same visual approach as Need for Speed Unbound. It makes a flashy first impression, like any suped-up car should, and if it has everything under the hood too, then Need for Speed Unbound makes itself a memorable entry. Obviously, it’s far too early to suggest that it’s anywhere near as good as the heights of the franchise were, as Most Wanted still is, but it makes a stronger first-day promise than many games.

After all, once Need for Speed Unbound‘s anime visuals suck a player in, the feature offering is top-notch. Post-launch content updates are free, there is multiplayer with cross-play support, and an offline (no internet required, it would seem) single-player campaign. It runs at 4K 60 FPS and uses a new physics system to complement high frame rates (likely, too, for implementing the visuals effectively into the gameplay). The chef’s kiss is that rapper A$AP Rocky has apparently been very involved with the game, as highlighted in this first Need for Speed Unbound trailer, but he also appears in the game with a new game mode called Takeover Scene. As a character involved in this, players will try to take over parts of Lakeshore. However, as exciting as all these features sound, it’s the visuals that still stand out the most. The rest of this could be attributed to any other racing game, but not the visuals. And to try something new should be applauded, plain and simple.

Need for Speed Unbound releases on December 2 for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X.

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