Need for Speed Unbound Receives Volume 5 Update Adding New BMW M2 and More Content.
Need for Speed Unbound, the latest street racing entry in Electronic Arts’ venerable 25+ year Need for Speed franchise, is set to receive Volume 5 of its ongoing post-launch updates on October 12th, 2023. This new patch brings some familiar features like a fresh unlockable car and the returning online Linkups mode, along with new challenges and premium DLC items. However, at this 2 month post-release juncture, questions are emerging about the racing title’s content roadmap and longevity.
Headlining Vol. 5 is the addition of the all-new 2023 BMW M2 coupe, the second generation of BMW’s performance variant on their compact 2 Series. To unlock the M2 for use in both single-player career and multiplayer modes, players must complete a new challenge focused on executing 25 near-miss maneuvers alongside police while driving any BMW vehicle.
This continues the established Need for Speed Unbound pattern of regularly injecting new real-world cars via post-launch updates rather than exclusively relying on the initial lineup.
The new M2 brings a more aggressive, boxier styling along with a 453 horsepower twin-turbo straight six engine, improvements over the previous generation. As BMW’s lowest-cost and most accessible M performance model, the M2 holds wide appeal for driving enthusiasts seeking a balanced and refined rapid coupe.
It joins Need for Speed Unbound’s eclectic mix of tuner favourites, classic racers, JDM legends, and modern supercars.
Online Linkup Events Also Making Limited-Time Comeback
Along with the new M2, Volume 5 also reintroduces online Linkups events on a limited-time basis, cordoning off sections of the open world map for co-op challenges with other players. These Linkups proved popular when debuted in Vol. 3, so bringing them back as recurring multiplayer content should help keep the community engaged. All prior Linkup event locations are returning for Version 5 rather than adding new areas, however.
New 75+ Level Speed Pass
The update also delivers a new 75-level Speed Pass for further post-launch progression, with the upgraded Buick Grand National GNX offered as a reward for reaching Level 50. Additional challenges across single-player and multiplayer will help players accumulate the experience points necessary to level up the Speed Pass.
Some themed Halloween cosmetic packs tie into the late October timing as well, featuring suitably spooky customisation.
However, unlike the previous several updates for Need for Speed Unbound, Volume 5 does not appear poised to introduce any major new features, modes, or gameplay refinements based on details revealed thus far. Vol. 2 added roaming police pursuits to the open world, Vol. 3 brought the Linkups, and Vol. 4 introduced Gauntlet time trial events. But Version 5 seems to lack comparable large-scale additions.
Lack of Major New Modes or Features Worrying Fans
With the once-per-two-months update cadence for Need for Speed Unbound post-launch support, as well as the one year anniversary for the game’s November 2022 launch approaching midway through Volume 5’s lifetime, uncertainty is swirling regarding how much additional content is realistically left in store.
Recently, Electronic Arts told Criterion Games to concentrate on the Battlefield series instead of the iconic racing series which left fans devastated. This move is seen by many of EA’s way of saying that they’re washing their hands with the series for good.
NFS franchises have sometimes struggled with sustaining substantial post-release expansions, a notorious example being 2017’s NFS Payback quickly abandoning planned story content.
Considering no Volume 6 has yet been hinted at by EA or Criterion, there are legitimate questions whether Unbound will make it to a full year of live service updates before support trails off.
While the latest additions are welcome for near-term engagement, long-time Need for Speed fans are understandably anxious about the title’s longevity and eventual fate. Too often, Need for Speed titles have launched with promise only to see tuning parts and customisation options dwindle rapidly in the ensuing months once sales have slowed.
Dedicated NFS communities remain passionate about the franchise, but have grown understandably wary after too many installments in recent years have failed to recapture the pinnacles of earlier series entries like Need For Speed Underground 2, Most Wanted 2005, or Hot Pursuit 2.
The needle only seems to swing back momentarily towards franchise greatness before faltering again. Unbound appeared poised to reverse that trend with its vibrant visuals, expansive customisation, and over-the-top live-action cutscenes. But some troubling signs are emerging.
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Like any modern AAA multiplayer title, Need for Speed Unbound requires substantial ongoing developer commitment to flourish long-term. Racing games possess plenty of potential for continually expanding car rosters, performance upgrades, mechanics, modes, and other enhancements to provide rewarding depth year-round. But realising that potential hinges on post-release content meeting the moment. While quality should supersede quantity, Unbound needs significant additions in both categories to thrive.
Source – EA
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Stephen is the proud owner of a popular gaming news website GLN, where he provides the latest updates on everything gaming-related. With a passion for video games that dates back to his childhood, Stephen is dedicated to sharing his knowledge and expertise with fellow gamers around the world.