STAFF REVIEW of Need for Speed: Carbon (Xbox 360)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006.
by Longball77

Need for Speed: Carbon Box art The Battle for the City is won in the Canyon! EA has tried to make this an adrenaline-filled action packed street racing game that will give you the same kind of rush as if you were taking on the streets yourself. Imagine yourself in your favourite style of car, the muscle and horsepower of the Ford Mustang, the speed and handling of an Exotic like the Lotus Elise or the tuner cars like the Mazda RX-8. You choose the style of car you want to race. In an addition you can customise it in a style that reflects your personality. The world as you know it has been changed. EA has introduced new enhancements to Career Mode, Race of control of the city, Team Building, Car Class and Dream Car Customization.

In Career mode you have the challenge of taking on the rival gangs on their own turf in your attempt to take over the city. Before you even get a chance to start you will notice some distinct differences. Exotic, tuner, and muscle cars. Need for Speed popularity was built on the backs for Tuner cars. Small engines being built up to show how much speed you can have. EA has now built in two other categories, European Exotic?s and American Muscle. Can you imagine being able to sink unlimited amounts of money into your new Ford Mustang? Increase the horsepower all the way up to 500. Or the sweet sounds of the Lotus Elise as you power it up with nitro for that burst of speed as you drive down the last straight-a-way.

Another addition is you now have a partner??? That is right. You are not only trying to take over the city, but you are constructing a crew to help you win each and every time you defeat a rival, one of there members asks if he can join your crew. You have blockers, scouts and Drafters. Each has their own unique skills and options of customising your car, increasing the race payouts or offering you unique commentary and encouragement during game play. You need to decide before each race whether you need a blocker who will slow down your competition, cause an accident or two. A scout to show you where the short cuts are so you can add a second of space between you and those chasing. Or to warn when a 180 turn will send you into the buildings. Finally the drafters are the ones you need in for those tight circuit races with a few laps so you can draft and slingshot out from behind with blistering speed. They will help you pick and choose the territories you want to take over based on their skills and yours. Heck they may even win a race or two for you. They are your crew. Once you have your team and car picked out, now you can challenge yourself in some of the most unique courses available, hair pin turns, short straight-a-ways or challenge one of the drifting courses. Test your skills and rack up the points in this skilled race that takes hand eye co-ordination, timing and an understanding of how your car will behave. It takes a little time to master it and how the points are awarded but once you do this is an exciting way of taking over the territories. Once you have taken over some of the rivals turf they will challenge you to a race and if you are successful a chance at a run down the canyon.

The Canyon, a unique twist on taking over the territory. Three ways to win, be the fastest down the hill, knock your opponent off the cliff?s edge or pass him. High speed, lots of curves, and where a wrong turn or a slip of the brake and over the edge of the canyon you go. The object is to stay as close to the rival as possible. You are going to drift your way down the canyon to rack up as many points as possible. Once you have completed round one, it is your turn to lead.

Graphics are definitely one of the high-lights of this came. Flick on High Definition and you will feel like you are in the city at night. Neon lights, paved streets, coble stone side roads and of course the back alleys are great examples of helping you emerge into this city life. The outstanding graphics have been carried into a revolutionary tool, Autosculpt. EA gives you the ability to tweak your car and those of your crew. This tool allows you to sculpt every part of this car. Definitely taking car design to another level that will impress the digital generation.

One of my disappointments are with the sounds. The rumble of 500 horsepower is missing, the whine of a finely tuned Lotus was something to be desired. It always amazes me when so much time and money is spent in the development of these games, the number of hours in testing and they fall this short on the sounds of great muscle cars. Even the sounds with exhaust pipes just isn?t right. When it comes to the sounds I would recommend they spend some time on the streets listening to the real sounds of street racing.

The final say from this reviewer is if you love racing, combined with stellar graphics, and some very impressive new features that will have you playing till the sun comes up. Then Head out to your local store and pick up a copy of Need For Speed Carbon. Definitely a must buy.

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.4 / 10
Visuals: 8.4 / 10
Sound: 7.6 / 10


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