Congratulations on making it to Week 3! You won your second qualifier! The Underground is talking about you, more rivals are stepping up for the piece of the pie, and your 'BFF' Tess is betting on you behind your back. Worse, she's betting against you at the same time! A girl has to have her bases covered, but the least she can do is slide a couple of stacks right? Also, Yaz was missing last week too... Something tells us that this week's qualifier will pivot in the lore, so here's how you can prepare for it.
If you hadn't sold any cars yet or bought any new ones, this week should be the one where you'll unlock the Achievement and Trophy #Blessed. This is earned by owning 10 vehicles in your garage, which if you add your prize cars plus your starter, you'll enter Week 3 with nine provided you didn't sell anything of course. Other than that, it's nothing you haven't handled before, so this will be a short week to cover.
And yes, there is indeed a free Ferrari you can earn at any time but it's important from this week moving forward. Obtaining this particular Prancing Horse is very easy as well, it just takes some time and commitment.
The Need For Spelunking
At this point, you would have seen almost all of Lakeshore and had amassed some collectibles of your own. Part of what makes the collecting process easy in Need For Speed Unbound is the radar on the minimap, giving players a rough estimate of where a collectible is located. Earning all collectibles of a specific type, whether it's street art, bears, or billboards, will earn the player an Achievement / Trophy. Most importantly, they will obtain an exclusive car as well as the ability to purchase it from the dealership. One of the best ways to get a free S car that doesn't need much to reach S+ is collecting all 80 Street Art pieces.
Doing so will unlock the Ferrari 488 GTB and it is a grip monster even stock. Almost all Ferraris stick to the road like glue but they are expensive to counter their racing prowess. Collecting the Art pieces is arguably the easiest of the three as the player will need to look out for a colorful mural on the walls. Billboards will require drivers to get creative in finding ramps to break them while the bears are sometimes well hidden. Their prize cars, the BMW M4 and Ford Focus RS, simply don't compare to this car. There's another reason why obtaining the 488 will be worth your while, but for now, it will be an important tool later.
What's Good? Is That Potato Salad?
This is the week where the lore-heavy topics begin to fall into place and it all begins with none other than A$AP Rocky himself. Up until this point, he would appear exclusively during Takeover events at Night, tapping into his inner Tej from 2 Fast 2 Furious. This time, he calls you personally and asks you to deliver his car to an event with him in the passenger seat. He says he wants to test your skills, so let's give him a show.
The car you're delivering this time is the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16, custom-tuned by Rocky and doubling as the "Hero Car" for Need For Speed Unbound. I hadn't had the chance to talk about her in my review, but the Evo 2 variant is one of my favorite cars Mercedes has ever built. There's just something about her aggressive yet luxurious body, hiding a racing-bred Cosworth-tuned engine that can push incredible speeds and handling. The 190E screams "Power," which is something that Rocky gives a taste to the player during this time trial.
What's special about this event is that it's structured similarly to Rydell's deliveries as it's you against the clock. This is meant to be a chill event, but also I couldn't help but notice that this was the part of the game where it cracks at the fourth wall. Unbound had teased the existence of the fourth wall in previous dialogue, such as a tongue-in-cheek joke about the overdependence of reboots. Here, the drive with Rocky feels like an interview with the Always Strive And Prosper founder, placing him as a down-to-Earth mentor in-game and outside of it.
There's also some very subtle foreshadowing that maybe you and Yaz can fix things. He does claim you have a chip on your shoulder but wouldn't you be too if someone stole your cars? Still, it wouldn't hurt to at least see things from her perspective. There has to be a well-valid reason as to why your former best friend pulled the greatest heist in Lakeshore history. After you drop him off, you'll earn your reward and some nuggets of information to reflect on. Don't leave your head too lost in the clouds because we have cars to collect. Honestly, this was one of my favorite parts of the story mode thus far and I wish there was more of this.
Another Week, Another Set Of Cars
Along with the VIP Event featuring A$AP Rocky, that same night will offer a chance to obtain one of two cars for Week 3. This time it's the A+ tier Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. What was once a DLC car in Need For Speed Payback is now a car granted to the player for $16k in-game as that's the buy-in for the race with this car as a prize. This speedy Italian sedan has come a long way and it's just as impressive to drive as it was back then. That same night you can earn a Dodge Hellcat and the following night, a Volvo Polestar.
Due to how the story mode is set up and the fact that you only need four cars to make it to the finale, it's not a bad strategy to start selling the cars you don't want. Anything that's not A-tier or higher can be sold for extra cash as Week 4 will be an even bigger power creep from this one. You'll need all the horses you can wrangle. Of the three cars, the Hellcat is a fun car to cruise around and can also be used for S-Tier Drift Events should you need one.
Time To Burst On The Scene
I briefly mentioned the differences between Burst and Stream nitrous as well as how the latter is useful for Takeover and Drift events. I wanted to expand more on nitrous as the more I play the more intriguing this is to unravel. First, stream nitrous is best spammed during Takeover events when you need to keep your combo multiplier going. Simply mashing the Nitrous button will be enough to keep it active in-between drifts. If you need speed to reach the next corner to drift, Burst nitrous is faster and more powerful, but it doesn't add to the total score or multiplier. Pace yourself well and these become the easiest events to win first place in.
In races, Burst Nitrous is a very powerful tool that may secure victory or reclaim it after an accident. It may also be your undoing if you're unaware of how to manifest its power. Using Burst Nitrous will lock the car in the direction that its nose is currently pointed towards, increasing the tire grip as well as realigning its angle. A perfect example is a mistimed drift that forces your car off-road. Regular stream nitrous would slightly adjust the angle but the car will generally stay committed to the direction it's facing.
Burst Nitrous will not only lock the angle in place, but it will cause the car to fire off like a missile in whatever direction it's facing. If you feel your drift or corner is at risk of oversteering, a single burst of nitrous is enough to correct the angle and fire off the line. This takes some practice to grasp as this goes against what nitrous is usually used for. With enough practice, you can not only use your Burst to increase your speed, but also micromanage your line should you fail.
Your Car's Handling Is An Extention Of Yourself
By now you may have figured out that the drivetrain, differential, tires, suspension, and the make-up of the car itself will determine its Grip to Drift sliders. In Need For Speed Unbound, the more Grip a car has, the more it can take corners without sliding into a drift. Likewise, the more Drift, the less speed the car loses during a powerslide. A car moves faster in a straight line, so taking optimal racing lines without penalty to your burst nitrous thanks to Grip Turning will make Grip cars seem lucrative. Drift cars tend to be good all-around cars and are easier to drive as all the player has to do is brake or release the gas to drift.
There are other modifiers including Traction Control Systems (Leave this off trust me) and the preferred method to drift. If you're using a grip car I'd get in the habit of using the "Gas Tap" form of drifting. This means your brakes actually function like brakes, allowing the player to take corners without worrying about accidentally drifting. Finally, there are downforce and handling modifiers. These are more subjective than anything, but what worked for me was for grip cars, having quick handling means I can control the car with snap accuracy, switching lanes and avoiding car crashes with ease.
Conversely, slow handling compliments Drift cars as it allows you to execute long and controlled drifts. If you've played any Ridge Racer title you know how important this is. Not every car behaves the same, so feel free to experiment and see what works best for you. At the end of the road, if your car is the first to cross the finish line consistently, then your build is the superior one. With that said, go and win that third qualifier! Enjoy the cutscene that follows and rest up for the fourth and final week of Need For Speed Unbound!
Need For Speed Unbound is now available on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.