It seems that one of Need for Speed Unbound’s most compelling features can be ignored entirely if you so choose.
Need for Speed Unbound’s stunning and highly stylized driving effects can be turned off entirely, as confirmed by the game’s official Twitter account. “Yes, you can turn off the effects,” the account states in a tweet accompanying a video showing the flashy driving effects in action.
Unbound, released December 2 on PS5, Xbox Series X | S and PC, it features a wide range of driving effects, including clouds of smoke and popout graphics and text that wouldn’t look out of place in a mid-2000s pilot, which seems to be the vibe developer Criterion is aiming for. here.
Why turn off something so beautiful?
Customize your style. Choose your driving effects. Get noticed. Start with nothing and slowly take your style to the absolute limit. #needforspeed pic.twitter.com/wZv7a2B4xxOctober 11, 2022
Need for Speed Unbound is clearly looking to recapture much of the spirit that made the series stand out with entries like Underground and its sequel. Even the subtitles are similar. But I appreciate that Criterion is doing more than just a cursory reference here.
I’m really enjoying this new focus on flashy and extravagant driving effects. Sure, they’re a little over the top, maybe even a little edgy, but they’re clearly something that gives the game an identity. Some much-needed flavor in a bowl of unseasoned Need for Speed games.
But as much as I’m avoiding it, I can see why the option to turn them off is there. Some players may not like this cartoonish aesthetic, some may want to disable them for competitive purposes such as getting a better view of the track and other cars in online races. It’s also a perfectly reasonable accessibility feature. I can imagine how visually impaired players could do without the extra distractions.
Still, I’m excited to see how ridiculous these effects can be. Looking at the brief snippets of gameplay we’ve seen so far, Criterion has clearly put some work into integrating the effects cleverly, and they don’t seem to obscure the on-screen action to an absurd degree.
To me, they’re not much different from the aesthetic style you can unlock in other multiplayer games, like Halo Infinite’s death effects or Rocket League’s boost tracks. But in the case of Need for Speed Unbound, we hope they aren’t locked into any sort of premium progression system.