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Is Unbound Free in EA Play? A Comprehensive Look at Your Options

Hey friend! If you‘re wondering whether you can play Need for Speed Unbound for free through EA Play, I‘ve got you covered. As a fellow gaming enthusiast, I‘ll walk you through all your different options to help decide if EA Play is worth it for accessing Unbound.

The short answer: Yes, you can play a limited 10 hour trial of Unbound through standard EA Play. But for full unlimited access, you‘ll need the more expensive EA Play Pro subscription.

Let‘s take an in-depth look at exactly what you get with EA Play, how it works for Unbound, and whether it‘s a good value compared to alternatives. Buckle up, because this will be a fully detailed ride!

Demystifying EA Play – What Is It Exactly?

In case you‘re not familiar, EA Play is a gaming membership service from Electronic Arts that grants subscribers special benefits and early access to new titles. It comes in two different plan tiers:

  • EA Play – $4.99/month or $29.99/year

    • 10 hour trial access to new-release games like Unbound
    • 10% discount on EA digital purchases
    • The Play List – a library of older EA games
    • Exclusive challenges and content in games
  • EA Play Pro – $14.99/month or $99.99/year

    • Full, unlimited access to new releases like Unbound
    • Early access to deluxe & ultimate editions
    • All benefits of standard EA Play

Think of standard EA Play like Xbox Game Pass – you get a catalog of games, but new releases are limited trials. EA Play Pro is the premium version where you get those new games in full.

Over 10 million gamers worldwide subscribe to EA Play, enticed by early trials of anticipated titles like FIFA, Madden, Battlefield and of course, Need for Speed. It‘s a great way for EA to get their latest games in front of more players.

What Exactly Does EA Play Offer for Unbound?

When Need for Speed Unbound launched on December 2nd, it was immediately available for EA Play members to try out. However, the standard EA Play only provides a 10 hour trial of Unbound. This lets you play about the first 15-20% of the game before hitting the time limit.

To unlock unlimited full access, you would need to upgrade to the pricier EA Play Pro at $14.99 monthly. This gives you the entire Unbound game with no restrictions, treated as if you owned it.

So in summary:

  • EA Play = 10 hour Unbound trial
  • EA Play Pro = Full game access

Essentially you can treat standard EA Play as an extended demo to let you test out Unbound. While EA Play Pro is more like a game rental, letting you play as much as you want for that month.

Which Platforms Can Access EA Play and Unbound?

EA Play is available on PlayStation, Xbox and PC, but support varies slightly by platform:

  • PlayStation 4/5 – Subscribe directly through EA Play app or PS Store
  • Xbox One/Series X/S – EA Play app or included with Game Pass Ultimate
  • PC – EA Play on EA app, Steam, Origin

Note that Unbound itself is only available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC. If you‘re still gaming on a PS4 or Xbox One, unfortunately you‘re out of luck for this new Need for Speed.

Also, EA Play is not available on Nintendo Switch, so no way to access Unbound there either currently. Maybe someday if EA brings their subscription service to Switch!

What About Playing Unbound Through Xbox Game Pass?

Now this is where things get really interesting! An EA Play membership is actually included free for all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. This means access to the Unbound 10 hour trial, Play List games catalogue, and standard EA Play benefits.

However, one key catch is that the EA Play via Game Pass Ultimate does not upgrade you to EA Play Pro status. You still only get the limited trials, not full new game access.

So in summary for Xbox gamers:

  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate = 10 hour Unbound trial via EA Play
  • Must pay for EA Play Pro separately to get the full game

Still, since Game Pass Ultimate starts at just $15 monthly for 100+ games and EA Play, it‘s an insane value if you‘re on Xbox. Worth it for the Unbound trial access alone!

Continuing Your Progress if You Buy the Full Game

Say you use your 10 hours in the Unbound trial and are really enjoying the experience. Well fortunately, your progress will carry over seamlessly if you then purchase the full game!

Your singleplayer career advancement, multiplayer rankings, collectibles found, vanity items unlocked, and any achievements earned will all transfer from the EA Play trial to the full title.

So you can pick up right where you left off with no frustrating loss of progress. Making that trial time well spent whether or not you end up buying.

Is EA Play Worth It Just for Unbound?

Whether an EA Play subscription is worth it really comes down to your personal gaming habits:

  • For casual players just eager to try Unbound, EA Play‘s $4.99 monthly fee is great for accessing the 10 hour trial. Treat it like an extended demo.

  • EA Play Pro at $15 is only really worth it if you plan on playing the full Unbound game extensively. You‘d have to play for over a month to equal the $70 retail price.

  • For serious Need for Speed fans planning to sink dozens of hours into the full game, EA Play Pro can save money compared to buying outright.

  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers essentially get EA Play‘s trial benefits as an awesome extra, on top of 100+ other games for the same $15 monthly fee. Hard to beat value.

  • Players who only casually dabble in EA titles may be better off purchasing Unbound by itself for full ownership, without the EA Play middleman.

So casual gamers may lean towards plain EA Play or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to sample Unbound. While hardcore NFS enthusiasts could utilize EA Play Pro for cheaper extensive access. But more selective buyers might rather just buy the game normally.

There‘s no definitively "right" choice – it depends on your personal interests, budget and platform. Try out the trial first, then decide!

What are Critics Saying in Unbound Reviews?

Before investing your precious time and money into Need for Speed Unbound, it‘s a good idea to see what reviewers make of the game. Could help decide if it‘s worth jumping into:


IGN7/10Fun casual racer plagued by performance issues
GameSpot6/10Cool visuals but clunky handling and progression
PolygonUnscoredNew art style refreshing but core gameplay repetitive
Metacritic72/100Mixed reception finding it style over substance

The visual overhaul with cel shading and graffiti aesthetics tends to be praised as a bold new direction. However, many reviews call gameplay and progression outdated and underwhelming.

As an arcade street racer focused on accessibility over realism, Unbound won‘t be for those wanting robust simulation. But the vibes could appeal to casual fans just looking for flashy fun.

When Might Unbound Arrive on Xbox Game Pass Proper?

While Need for Speed Unbound is currently only playable on Xbox via the EA Play trial included with Game Pass Ultimate, many fans have wondered when it might be added to the Game Pass catalog officially in full.

Based on typical EA release windows, we can make some educated guesses:

  • Summer 2023 – Average period for bigger EA games to hit Game Pass is 6 months post-launch.

  • Fall 2023 – More likely in the August-October range, around 8-10 months after release.

Of course EA could surprise us with an earlier or later Game Pass debut. But the 6 to 12 month range seems a reasonable bet based on past major EA titles like FIFA, Battlefield and Plants vs. Zombies.

Fans will have to wait and see! The EA Play trial through Game Pass should tide over Xbox owners until Unbound goes fully mainstream.

Unbound Follows a 4 Week Structure

For some more insight into what the Unbound gameplay experience entails, it follows a narrative structure split into 4 in-game weeks:

  • Each week introduces new story developments, rivals and race events as you make your name on the streets.

  • Multiple qualifier races that week will let you enter that weekend‘s major grand finale race.

  • Winning the grand races earns you big money to enter the next week and upgrade your rides.

  • Beating all 4 game weeks unlocks The Grand – one ultimate climactic race to crown Lakeshore‘s racing icon.

This gives the game an episodic flow week-to-week, encouraging you to keep playing to see each week‘s narrative through. It will take roughly 15-20 hours to complete the full 4 week story arc and dominate The Grand.

Handy Tips for Unbound Success

If you do decide to dive into Need for Speed Unbound via EA Play, these tips will help you make the most of it:

  • Use the EA app on PC or Xbox to easily access EA Play benefits and Unbound.

  • Disable auto-renewal right away if you only want to use the 1 month trial.

  • Prioritize multiplier and combo bonuses during races to build up score quickly.

  • Visit the safehouse whenever you can to bank earnings and reduce your heat level.

  • Take advantage of EA Play discounts to buy DLC or the full game cheaper.

  • Play a mix of qualifier and side events each week to afford upgrades.

  • Consult community guides if you‘re having trouble winning grand finales.

Following these tips will help smooth your path from lowly unknown to Lakeshore‘s racing elite!

Should You Test Unbound for Free or Go All-In?

Let‘s recap your options once more:

  • EA Play – Try a 10 hour Unbound trial for cheap at $4.99 monthly. Treat it like an extended demo.

  • EA Play Pro – Pay $15 monthly for unlimited full game access, saving over buying it outright if you play extensively.

  • Purchase Unbound – Opt out of EA Play middleman pricing to outright own the game from the start.

  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate – Get EA Play trial benefits bundled at no extra cost with 100+ other games for the same $15 monthly fee.

It comes down to your budget, platform and desire for full ownership. Casual players on Xbox can‘t go wrong sampling the trial with Game Pass Ultimate. But hardcore Need for Speed fans may want to utilize EA Play Pro for cheaper extensive access.

No matter what, try before you buy – get hands-on with Unbound for a few hours, then decide if you want to commit!

Hope this detailed breakdown helps explain your best route to playing Need for Speed Unbound! Let me know if you have any other questions. Enjoy the ride, and may the fastest racer win!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.