Need For Speed Unbound technically isn’t out until December 2nd, but you can scoot in right now if you’ve got Game Pass and are willing to download EA’s app. It’s available as part of EA’s Game Trials, so you’ll only be able to play for 10 hours before you’re kicked out, but that’s time for cop chases and powerslides a-plenty.
I haven’t played a Need For Speed game since I was 13 and this wasn’t on my radar at all, but yeah, sure, let’s drive. It looks just like the games I remember but with optional silly animated wings and dust trails.
The campaign is structured around earning enough money to enter ‘The Grand’: the biggest, grandest, most streetiest race of them all. You can do that by both winning races and betting on yourself to win those races, which sounds like the sort of thing that’s presented as a decision but will just result in me betting the max on myself every time and reloading if I lose.
The Steam page also suggests you can make money by getting into cop chases, which are more my bag than straight up racing and the reason why I’m interested. Those apparently involve making “tactical decisions using new escape mechanics”, which seems to mean that as well as driving real fast you can choose to hide or “battle them head on”. I’ve played enough GTA to know that fighting the cops just results in them rocking up with rocket launcher helicopters, thank you very much.
I’m sure if I checked I’d find Need For Speed Underground 2 now looks resembles a ghastly smear of pixels, but this really does look just like how I remember it – apart from the cartoon dust trails and other assorted cosmetics, which I’ll probably take out for a brief spin before abandoning.
Actually finding the EA trial is annoyingly convoluted. Unbound didn’t come up when I searched the store on the Xbox app where Game Pass lives, so I had to scroll down from the home page and click through to EA Play, then select Unbound. Maybe this link will help, but account fiddliness means you’re probably better off going via the Xbox app like I did, then following the prompt from there to (ugh) download EA’s app.
If you want to play early without that 10 hour time cap you can also pay £70 for the Palace edition, but that would be silly, wouldn’t it.
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