We don't understand Need for Speed Unbound’s anime art style

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,

Need for Speed Unbound has been unveiled to the world by the makers of the legendary Burnout games, Criterion. The racer brings along with it a fusion of anime and photoreal artstyle that confuses us in the right way.

We have a penchant for unique art styles, but nothing in our best racing games list quite matches what Criterion is doing with Need for Speed Unbound. The latest entry into the Need for Speed series is fusing anime and photorealism on PS5 for December 2nd, 2022.

Need for Speed Unbound artstyleNeed for Speed Unbound artstyle is pretty unique

Criterion brings anime and photorealism together with unique artstyle

The racing studio responsible for Burnout Paradise has been sidelined since producing the incredible Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and helping develop Battlefield 2042, but it has certainly put a massive stamp on its new racer Need for Speed Unbound. We could tell you it is only coming to PS5 on December 2nd, 2022 and how the racer has a native 4K 60fps output with an improved physics engine for Frostbite. We could note that A$AP Rock is mentioned endlessly for his contributions in every press release. We could, possibly, tell you that there will be more than 140 cars at launch which you will unlock across a single-player career.

No, we are plumping for the art style as our focus, which kind of makes us think of a Japanese visual novel like Danganronpa thanks to its anime trappings, with Borderlands' spooky in-motion animation feeling, with the strangely photoreal aspects of a track racer like Gran Turismo 7. If we are being honest, we kind of have no idea what is going on. Do we like it? No idea. It looks so unique that it's hard to really gauge what on earth is happening in motion, and how much it's going to alter the flow of the game. Here's hoping it works in context, but we just don't know that we can escape the fact we just want a really good open-word arcade racer and we didn't need anime to make it so.

A few other details have been shared to IGN. It is noted that the multiplayer will not be particularly hard to get into and appears to be relatively menu-less. The police chases will be as difficult as the player makes it, which seems odd. Car customisation is back with plenty of aesthetic and drive-tuning options. This is the bit that has us excited! Let us know your thoughts on Unbound and its style in the comments. Do you also need to see it in motion? Rev those engines down below!
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and other gaming news. He writes about exclusives like The Last of Us and God of War, PS Plus news, and his favourite games — The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, and explosive racers — before an evening swim.
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