Though it works well, this open world street racing game is also far from interesting or inventive. Like many of the other games in this long-running series, Need for Speed Unbound has you trying to make a name for yourself in the local illegal street racing scene. Which, in the story mode, not only means engaging in numerous races (including multi-lap events and point-to-point races) and the usual automotive activities (speed traps), but also running away from the cops when they try to arrest you. You can even hit the nitro for some added speed. The kicker being that, if you make it back to a safehouse, it not only causes the police to lose interest in you, but it also banks whatever cash you've earned since your last visit.
But while this has solid controls, twisty courses, and competition that actually gives you a run for your money, it's rather generic. It doesn't add anything major to either the genre or this series, and what it does add is unimpressive. Sure, it swaps the photo-realism of previous games for an animation approach, but these colorful additions are merely cosmetic. Similarly, while the story mode has missions where you have to drive someone without getting arrested, the mini map shows you where the cops are all time, which makes it way easy to avoid them. As for multiplayer, it has you driving around the city, looking for people to race against, which is far more annoying than just giving you a menu where you can pick a race. All of which is why Need for Speed Unbound still scratches the titular itch, but not in a way that's either satisfying or unique.