Take the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse Drag Racing in Unbound, Just Like in NFS Underground

Need for Speed Unbound 8 photos
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After what seems like 100 years, EA finally brought back one of the most beloved, demanded, and nostalgia-filled features from the Need for Speed Underground era: drag racing. Also, "NFS Unbound Volume 7: Drift & Drag" introduces a new drift mode with improved gameplay mechanics, giving you more control. The final and arguably most important addition is the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse.
Inspired by the NFS Underground of yesteryear, the 4-player maximum drag mode is the lane-switching extravaganza you know and love, but with some new gameplay mechanics thrown into the mix. The pre-race tire warming gives the mode a more modern vibe while rewarding you. Keep that indicator in the "Perfect Temperature" spot, and you'll get Burst Nitrous.

However, let's not forget that in addition to the strategic lane-switching, you also have to manually shift gears, dodge obstacles or traffic, and perfectly time that N2O (nitrous oxide) boost. This feature is still fresh, meaning some bugs might occur.

In this mode, you don't actually control your car, you do everything else but properly steer. And sometimes, when you lane switch, the backend code or AI, however you want to call it, doesn't always obey your commands. You can be sure you pressed that left or right input, but the car stays stuck on the same lane you're trying to switch from.

Need for Speed Unbound
By observing, you'll notice that the physics controlling the lane switching aren't as magnetized to the ground as they were in the old games or the Asphalt mobile game. Still, they also adhere to the regular collision physics interactions from the non-drag modes. This can lead to going off-track if you jump on a ramp at a certain angle, crash into other players, or abuse the lane-switching mechanism. Maybe this "feature" will get fixed, but until then, remember that it's not perfect.

The the new Drift Mode from Vol. 7 comes with improved gameplay mechanics and should feel more on point, especially if you equip the Drift Pro Tires. EA boasts that car sliding is more natural, has deeper angles, and lasts longer distances with more control given to the player.

This mode was also inspired by Need for Speed Underground and has scoring multipliers. The new kid on the block is the twin drifting alongside other players with collisions turned off. The best part about it is that you can tackle the Drag and Drift modes in Free Roam and PvP.

Another great and way overdue feature is the manual reset on track. If you find yourself facing the wrong way and/or going under 30 mph or 48 kph, you'll see a prompt on-screen to reset your car. It only took EA 536 days to implement this feature, no biggie.

Need for Speed Unbound
Other additions include an online League progression system featuring community challenges, new races, events, and PvP activities. The Player versus Player mode has 37 new playlists, 20 Drift Pro routs (10 new, 10 mixed), 37 all-new Drag Routes, 10 new races for the NFS Legends Playlists, and four equal Performance Playlists for the Ford Mustang Dark Horse and the 2023 BMW M3 Competition Touring.

These two come in various body kits and liveries, but keep in mind that you can grab some of them in the Free Speed Pass while others are locked behind the Premium Speed Pass. Additional rides include Melissa's Custom Mitsubishi Eclipse from Need For Speed Underground and weekly Lakeshore Racer vehicles.

The updated version of the Mach 1, otherwise known as the 2024 Ford Mustang Dark Horse, is the top-trim variant of the pony car. It's equipped with the 4th-gen 5.0-liter NA Coyote V8 engine which can deliver 500 horsepower and 418 lb-ft or 567 Nm of torque. If you're in the market for such a modern muscle car, the EcoBoost Mustang begins at around $30k, the GT Fastback at $42,460, the Dark Horse at $58,935, while the Dark Horse Premium trim starts at "only" $62,930.

After its December 2, 2022 release, Need for Speed Unbound is nicely sitting on a 77 Metacritic score from 54 reviewers. On Steam, it has a Mixed 62% user score from over 26,000 players and a Mixed 62% recent review score from 1,147 players. Autoevolution gave NFS Unbound a 75 out of 100, saying, "While it's far from the perfect game, NFS Unbound feels like a breath of fresh air, and it is a lot of fun to play."

Need for Speed Unbound
The game is a true modern-day arcade experience, and if you skip its pedigree while having no expectations of the Need for Speed glory days of old, Unbound is a really fun, nonpretentious racing title. It also runs well on Steam Deck if you're not a 60 fps purist.

If you really want to, you can make it run at a smooth 60 frames-per-second on the handheld device, but the visual compromises are far too severe to enjoy the game properly. The best solution for Unbound on Steam Deck is to fiddle with the settings and hit 40 fps. It's not quite 60, but it's also not the choppy 30 hardcore gamers loath. Sony often makes 40 fps through VRR a thing with its first-party AAA titles, so why not do the same on the Deck?

The optimal experience is on the OLED version, which boasts 50% more battery life. Unfortunately, the game uses up to 25W of battery, while the max capacity is 40 watt-hours. That's 1.6 hours from 100% to 0%, but in reality, it's even less than that because optimally, you should never go below 20% battery with any device if you want to prolong its lifespan. Otherwise, just plug it in and enjoy.

Need for Speed Unbound is available on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S for the usual 70 bucks, but it's also on the EA Play subscription service, which is several times cheaper.

What's next for this fun arcade racing game, you ask? Well, the Year 2 Roadmap speaks of Volume 8 featuring a "Cops vs. Racers" mode inspired by Need for Speed Hot Pursuit. This should also please old-school fans. However, Volume 9 is kept under wraps, but let's hope for some awesome slow-motion bullet-time mechanics from NFS: Most Wanted.
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About the author: Codrin Spiridon
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Codrin just loves American classics, from the 1940s and ‘50s, all the way to the muscle cars of the '60s and '70s. In his perfect world, we'll still see Hudsons and Road Runners roaming the streets for years to come (even in EV form, if that's what it takes to keep the aesthetic alive).
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