Need for Speed: Carbon is the recent installment of the popular Need for Speed game franchise. This year\’s NFS Carbon mixed different features found in the previous Need for Speed games with some cool new additions, giving this arcade racing game a thrill that I have never experienced in Underground 1 and 2, and Most Wanted.
Most of the Need for Speed games are quite similar to each other but varies subtly with the game features. Carbon is not revolutionary kick-ass game at all. It\’s very generic if you have played NFS games for at least 3 years. The cars do not receive realistic damage. You can turn on \”cosmetic damage\” but your car will still function perfectly. There are FMV cut-scenes and the story begins with your character starting from scratch and then you slowly build your reputation by winning races.
The new stuffs here are more exciting because the game feels like a combination of Underground and Most Wanted. The city is back to darker atmosphere, glimmering city lights and shady downtown. The police do not function the way they do in Most Wanted. You don\’t have to beat the police or set retraction records. They just chase you when you \”heat up\” and becomes their target on streets. Even during race, you\’ll end up having a police chase together with the other racers. What\’s even more fun is the return of drifting! I love drifting and I\’m just relieved that draft racing is removed. I don\’t really like drafting in Most Wanted. During boss races, you have to race in the Carbon Canyon. It\’s the special feature in NFS Carbon, hence the name Carbon. Canyon races are two-leg race. At first you act like a police and your goal is to tail as close as possible to your opponent. Score is determined by how approximate you are with your opponent in the entire course. Then, the second half of the race, your opponent will act as the police and you have to be as distant as possible so that he won\’t earn higher points than you. At the end of the race, the points are compared and whoever earned higher points wins. You can also win by overtaking the car during the first half or speeding ahead during the second half for a period of 10 seconds.
You can build your own crew in NFS Carbon and they are quite fun to have. Blockers, Drafters and Scouts — these are the types of crew members you can recruit. I find Blockers the most useful crew in circuit races while Scouts in sprint races. Blocking off your opponents gives you a leading advantage while finding shortcut is very helpful to overtake your leading opponents. Drafters are useless IMHO because I get pass them easily so their drafting-effect are futile, at least in my experience.
Modifying cars using Autosculpt™ is very innovative because you are not limited to the pre-built aftermarket gears and visual upgrades. However, it turned out that you have fewer options in tuning your car\’s performance in NFS Carbon. Well, at least the visual customization compensates for this. Layering vinyls is back and there are more types of car paints now. Am I missing neon lights? Yes, I think so.
The collection of cars in NFS Carbon is probably the best in the series because there are wider array of car models included in the car selections. Cars are classified to three different types – muscle, tuner and exotic. Each type is divided to three tiers. Tier 3 models are the best. I personally like exotic cars because they are well balanced. I choose tuners for drifting and muscle cars for circuit. Handling is very distinct in each type of car, muscle cars being the worst. Tuners are generally the slower type of car in Carbon but they handle curves very tightly. Control and speed is moderate in exotic cars. Since you have control on fine-tuning your car, the player can decide on which car he prefers. Each car types behave differently on the road so they require different skills to drive them effectively.
I give this game 4.5 out of 5 stars. Why not perfect? Firstly, I don\’t like some of the sounds. Sound effects are really good but some of the songs are terrible. I prefer those rock songs found in Underground 1 & 2. Secondly, there are only 4 bosses in this game. That\’s too few compared to 15 bosses in Most Wanted. Thirdly, there are way too much cut-scenes and the character intros are over-done. I like this game very much but I believe EA could still deliver better sequels. Still, this is a wicked racing game. :)
NFS, Need+for+Speed, Carbon