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'[GAME] Need for Speed Carbon'

This thread has been linked to the game 'Need for Speed Carbon'.
Tue 02/11/10 at 09:14:
Regular
"Anyone but that one"
Posts: 98
If the thought of 10 second cars screaming down streets without any other care in the world than, more speed, more power, turns you on more than the thought of Jessica Alba half naked and caked in chocolate then you're probably going to love NFS Carbon. Sequel to the superb NFS Most Wanted NFSC has many brand new features never seen before in a game of it's genre but it also has it's fair share of downsides.

The Story

The story focuses on the events that took place on the night your “character” left the city and as you progress through the game you'll find out more and become one step closer to the truth. To be quite honest the story is mind numbingly dull and lacks any interesting twists and turns and as a result it's about as interesting as an episode of Dora the Explorer, dull, repetitive and unimaginative. The only good thing about the story is the return of my favourite character from Most Wanted, Sergeant Cross who is back to get revenge and cash in his bounty infact hes the ONLY interesting part of the story even though you dont see much of him. You can't help but get the feeling that the actors had much more to give and just weren't given the chance. Thankfully though you'll soon forget about the story as you try to work your way through the career mode.

The Career Mode

Palmont city is controlled by 4 main crews, Bushido, 21st Street, TFK and Stacked Deck and during the career mode you and your crew will work your way through the city gaining more and more territory as you win races and events.

The cars have been split into three different classes, Tuners, Muscles and Exotics and depending on which car and class you start of with will dictate some of the cars you unlock. In the Tuner class you have cars such as RX7's and RX8's, Mitsubishi's and more. These tuner cars are pretty well balanced and a fully modded Tier 1 tuner will probably see you through a large part of the game but you'll struggle when you start to come up against the faster muscle cars. The Muscle class features all the bad ass cars which have enough torque to change the rotation of the planet, such as the Dodge Charger, Ford Mustang and the Plymouth and true to form a drunk dog would handle better on ice than these cars would on a technical track but what these cars lack in handling they more than make up for in speed but this alone wont always win you races and in canyon runs will probably mean you'll end up in a tree at the bottom of the canyon. Cars in the exotic class have a good balance of speed and handling but will need good control and reflexes if your to benefit from cars such as the DB9, Murchielago, SLR and of course a couple of porches thrown in for good measure but sadly it will take some time before you can unlock these.

Although the game has some uniquely innovative features one thing I was very disappointed by is the lack of cars, especially through the first half of your career with only the occasional unlock or if your lucky enough to pick the right marker, a pink slip or two to keep you tantalized. I found myself buying a car that I didn't really want to stop myself from getting bored of the same car and whether it was the way I played or switched between classes or not I don't know but I didn't unlock anything substantial until the career was about 60% complete, which was a real let down for me and took away a certain sense of achievement, especially after taking over territories. Hell you don't even get to use half the decent vynls until the game is almost half done. You'd have thought the whole point of progressing through the game and completing races is to unlock more than just a trickle of treats on your way, afteral it is a “racing” game. For petrol heads who pledge their allegiance to a certain car they will probably end up feeling left out and disappointed for most of the game and for such a popular game franchise as the NFS range, that's a very bad thing to do indeed.

Lack of car unlocks aside your crew can be an invaluable asset to you, each come with their own bonuses and ability. Your crews abilities are split into 3 different categories, Blockers, Drafters and Scouts. You will find yourself using your blockers through most of the game and if timed right can be particularly useful during speedtrap events at least during the early part of the game, in later speedtrap events and other races in general you'll probably want to make use of your Drafters more often. Your drafters will sit infront if you and as you follow them in their wake your speed and acceleration will improve 10 fold, to put it another way this is called slipstreaming which is a technique commonly used by formula 1 drivers to help gain speed to overtake. You also have scouts who will zoom ahead and look for any available shortcuts, but personally I didnt use them because they often got in my way and they rarely let you win races but you still win even if your crew member wins but any proper racer would want to win themselves.

There are also no shortage of race events with each of the 3 Burroughs having a multitude of events, my particular favourite is the drift event, a new addition to the NFS range in carbon but sadly one which there isnt enough of in career mode. Once you get the hang of drifting you will feel like a god as you throw your car round each corner, getting as close as possible to the wall or even cliff which I can sum up in just two words, wonderfully addictive. Personally I would love to see a NFS game based entirely around drifting, Need for Speed Drift perhaps? There is certainly enough of a following out there for it to be a huge hit, especially if it's mixed with the right street racing type atmosphere. Anyhoo I think i've rambled a bit much there, so back on topic.

The gameplay

There is certainly plenty to do in the career mode with many different races to keep you occupied with but personally I found it far too easy and completed the game within the first day or two. There are some new features which try to keep you interested though, such as the AutoSculpt feature which you unlock after you get to use a fabricator in your crew but of course keeping in tone with the game, this is a lengthy wait and you can forget about using anything you really like because you have to wait even longer to unlock those and longer still to make full use of AutoSculpt as you need to add Collin to your crew to be able to modify certain kits and even then you STILL have to unlock more AutoSculpt kits. I also found this feature to be pretty limiting in what you can do and despite claims of almost limitless possibilities with this feature on the box its sadly far from it, as there are only a few AutoScuplt bodykits and hoods etc each only having around 4 or 5 zones you can modify and only some of which have any drastic visual effect. However saying that its a wonderfully innovative feature which does take customization of your rides to a whole new level never before seen in any racing game and that's gotta be worth a few kudos and it's taken even further still in the next NFS instalment, ProStreet where even minor AutoSculpt changes can have noticeable or even dramatic effects on the cars handling.

What helps makes the NFS genre as successful as it is, is of course the cop chases through busy downtown, technical areas or screaming at breakneck speed down the highways trying not to hit anyone unfortunate enough to get in your way making giving as many cops as you can a taste of their own medicine by PITT'ing them into a nice, yummy concrete wall. Getting away from the cops in NFS Carbon is significantly harder with 7 levels of heat and hardly anywhere to hide if you annoy them enough to earn a chopper on your tail. This means your evasion skills will really be put to the test as the AI has been significantly improved as well as the arsenal of tricks they have at their disposal to try to catch you. One thing I was impressed by is the improvement of the radio chatter you hear from the cops which is more frequent, varied and much more realistic than in Most Wanted. All of this helps squeeze the games lifespan and playability just a little bit further.

When you're bored of the career mode (which is every possibility) you have the challenge series and quick race options to keep you occupied. In the challenge series there are several different types of challenges split into 3 levels, bronze, silver and gold and should you complete a set you'll be rewarded with some small trinkets such as wings or body kits which you can then use in career mode. Quick race mode lets you choose any race type and any available car, even your career ones and there are more races of each type available than in the career mode itself.

Overall the gameplay is everything you'd expect from a good racing game but due to the relatively short and unchallenging career its perhaps not everything you'd expect from a NFS game and following the simply brilliant story in Most Wanted who could blame anyone from being disappointed. I guess you could compare it to meeting your childhood hero, you meet expecting them to be just like they were but they turn out to be plain old average joe, probably drunk or high too.

The Graphics

One thing's for sure though NFS Carbon will leave you feeling like your high with the glitsy night time streets brimming with fancy lighting effects and of course neon lights. It's probably what eco-mentalists have nightmares about, you can just imagine it, a hooded character chasing them wearing a hannibal mask screaming whilst wielding an industrial neon light at them “It uses 3,000 Watts of power.....and its not turned of during the day”. Er sorry i'm rambling again aren't I? Where were we...Ah yes, the Graphics.

As you'd have expected the graphics have been significantly improved since Most Wanted with the power of this ageing old console being put to the test, with stunning results. An incredible amount of detail has gone into the aesthetics of this game to make it look, feel and sound realistic. From the jaw dropping detail on each and every line of each car to the scenery of the surrounding city and the incredible canyon backdrops. It really is a “wish you were here” kind of moment in the canyon, even romantic perhaps, that is if you dont look at the piles of twisted metal at the bottom of the canyon. You simply couldn't ask for a better looking and feeling game but the almost constant blue haze will probably make your eyes water after a while, not a game you'd wish on someone with epilepsy for sure.

Conclusion

Like any game NFS Carbon has it's good points and bad points but by the time you've completed it I would bet a sizeable amount of money that you'll have expected more but I guess this could be due to the fact that EA set the standards so high with Most Wanted that it simply couldn't be beaten but time has moved on and so has the NFS series each pushing the boundaries even further and yes the games really do get better. To sum it all up NFS Carbon is undoubtedly a good game but NFS Most Wanted is by far the better of the two, probably even the whole franchise so my advice is to buy both games, play them through and judge them for yourself and the best thing is you can pick them up second hand for just a couple of quid, how can you refuse?

Score - 8/10
Wed 03/11/10 at 09:29:
Regular
"Anyone but that one"
Posts: 98
pete_21 wrote:
Thought NFS : Carbon was dire myself.

Nice review though :)


Oh I agree, probably the worst NFS Title but only because the story let it down badly, the game itself is decent enough but you'd probably have felt cheated if you paid the £30 or so original price for it, lucky for me I got it as a present so I didn't mind lol

And thanks for the comments :)
Tue 02/11/10 at 23:02:
Regular
"I like turtles"
Posts: 5,368
Thought NFS : Carbon was dire myself.

Nice review though :)
Tue 02/11/10 at 13:08:
pb
Moderator
"possibly impossible"
Posts: 24,884
A great read there.

I'm not sure about Carbon, a bit too boy racer-ish for me. The new one looks much better.
Tue 02/11/10 at 09:14:
Regular
"Anyone but that one"
Posts: 98
If the thought of 10 second cars screaming down streets without any other care in the world than, more speed, more power, turns you on more than the thought of Jessica Alba half naked and caked in chocolate then you're probably going to love NFS Carbon. Sequel to the superb NFS Most Wanted NFSC has many brand new features never seen before in a game of it's genre but it also has it's fair share of downsides.

The Story

The story focuses on the events that took place on the night your “character” left the city and as you progress through the game you'll find out more and become one step closer to the truth. To be quite honest the story is mind numbingly dull and lacks any interesting twists and turns and as a result it's about as interesting as an episode of Dora the Explorer, dull, repetitive and unimaginative. The only good thing about the story is the return of my favourite character from Most Wanted, Sergeant Cross who is back to get revenge and cash in his bounty infact hes the ONLY interesting part of the story even though you dont see much of him. You can't help but get the feeling that the actors had much more to give and just weren't given the chance. Thankfully though you'll soon forget about the story as you try to work your way through the career mode.

The Career Mode

Palmont city is controlled by 4 main crews, Bushido, 21st Street, TFK and Stacked Deck and during the career mode you and your crew will work your way through the city gaining more and more territory as you win races and events.

The cars have been split into three different classes, Tuners, Muscles and Exotics and depending on which car and class you start of with will dictate some of the cars you unlock. In the Tuner class you have cars such as RX7's and RX8's, Mitsubishi's and more. These tuner cars are pretty well balanced and a fully modded Tier 1 tuner will probably see you through a large part of the game but you'll struggle when you start to come up against the faster muscle cars. The Muscle class features all the bad ass cars which have enough torque to change the rotation of the planet, such as the Dodge Charger, Ford Mustang and the Plymouth and true to form a drunk dog would handle better on ice than these cars would on a technical track but what these cars lack in handling they more than make up for in speed but this alone wont always win you races and in canyon runs will probably mean you'll end up in a tree at the bottom of the canyon. Cars in the exotic class have a good balance of speed and handling but will need good control and reflexes if your to benefit from cars such as the DB9, Murchielago, SLR and of course a couple of porches thrown in for good measure but sadly it will take some time before you can unlock these.

Although the game has some uniquely innovative features one thing I was very disappointed by is the lack of cars, especially through the first half of your career with only the occasional unlock or if your lucky enough to pick the right marker, a pink slip or two to keep you tantalized. I found myself buying a car that I didn't really want to stop myself from getting bored of the same car and whether it was the way I played or switched between classes or not I don't know but I didn't unlock anything substantial until the career was about 60% complete, which was a real let down for me and took away a certain sense of achievement, especially after taking over territories. Hell you don't even get to use half the decent vynls until the game is almost half done. You'd have thought the whole point of progressing through the game and completing races is to unlock more than just a trickle of treats on your way, afteral it is a “racing” game. For petrol heads who pledge their allegiance to a certain car they will probably end up feeling left out and disappointed for most of the game and for such a popular game franchise as the NFS range, that's a very bad thing to do indeed.

Lack of car unlocks aside your crew can be an invaluable asset to you, each come with their own bonuses and ability. Your crews abilities are split into 3 different categories, Blockers, Drafters and Scouts. You will find yourself using your blockers through most of the game and if timed right can be particularly useful during speedtrap events at least during the early part of the game, in later speedtrap events and other races in general you'll probably want to make use of your Drafters more often. Your drafters will sit infront if you and as you follow them in their wake your speed and acceleration will improve 10 fold, to put it another way this is called slipstreaming which is a technique commonly used by formula 1 drivers to help gain speed to overtake. You also have scouts who will zoom ahead and look for any available shortcuts, but personally I didnt use them because they often got in my way and they rarely let you win races but you still win even if your crew member wins but any proper racer would want to win themselves.

There are also no shortage of race events with each of the 3 Burroughs having a multitude of events, my particular favourite is the drift event, a new addition to the NFS range in carbon but sadly one which there isnt enough of in career mode. Once you get the hang of drifting you will feel like a god as you throw your car round each corner, getting as close as possible to the wall or even cliff which I can sum up in just two words, wonderfully addictive. Personally I would love to see a NFS game based entirely around drifting, Need for Speed Drift perhaps? There is certainly enough of a following out there for it to be a huge hit, especially if it's mixed with the right street racing type atmosphere. Anyhoo I think i've rambled a bit much there, so back on topic.

The gameplay

There is certainly plenty to do in the career mode with many different races to keep you occupied with but personally I found it far too easy and completed the game within the first day or two. There are some new features which try to keep you interested though, such as the AutoSculpt feature which you unlock after you get to use a fabricator in your crew but of course keeping in tone with the game, this is a lengthy wait and you can forget about using anything you really like because you have to wait even longer to unlock those and longer still to make full use of AutoSculpt as you need to add Collin to your crew to be able to modify certain kits and even then you STILL have to unlock more AutoSculpt kits. I also found this feature to be pretty limiting in what you can do and despite claims of almost limitless possibilities with this feature on the box its sadly far from it, as there are only a few AutoScuplt bodykits and hoods etc each only having around 4 or 5 zones you can modify and only some of which have any drastic visual effect. However saying that its a wonderfully innovative feature which does take customization of your rides to a whole new level never before seen in any racing game and that's gotta be worth a few kudos and it's taken even further still in the next NFS instalment, ProStreet where even minor AutoSculpt changes can have noticeable or even dramatic effects on the cars handling.

What helps makes the NFS genre as successful as it is, is of course the cop chases through busy downtown, technical areas or screaming at breakneck speed down the highways trying not to hit anyone unfortunate enough to get in your way making giving as many cops as you can a taste of their own medicine by PITT'ing them into a nice, yummy concrete wall. Getting away from the cops in NFS Carbon is significantly harder with 7 levels of heat and hardly anywhere to hide if you annoy them enough to earn a chopper on your tail. This means your evasion skills will really be put to the test as the AI has been significantly improved as well as the arsenal of tricks they have at their disposal to try to catch you. One thing I was impressed by is the improvement of the radio chatter you hear from the cops which is more frequent, varied and much more realistic than in Most Wanted. All of this helps squeeze the games lifespan and playability just a little bit further.

When you're bored of the career mode (which is every possibility) you have the challenge series and quick race options to keep you occupied. In the challenge series there are several different types of challenges split into 3 levels, bronze, silver and gold and should you complete a set you'll be rewarded with some small trinkets such as wings or body kits which you can then use in career mode. Quick race mode lets you choose any race type and any available car, even your career ones and there are more races of each type available than in the career mode itself.

Overall the gameplay is everything you'd expect from a good racing game but due to the relatively short and unchallenging career its perhaps not everything you'd expect from a NFS game and following the simply brilliant story in Most Wanted who could blame anyone from being disappointed. I guess you could compare it to meeting your childhood hero, you meet expecting them to be just like they were but they turn out to be plain old average joe, probably drunk or high too.

The Graphics

One thing's for sure though NFS Carbon will leave you feeling like your high with the glitsy night time streets brimming with fancy lighting effects and of course neon lights. It's probably what eco-mentalists have nightmares about, you can just imagine it, a hooded character chasing them wearing a hannibal mask screaming whilst wielding an industrial neon light at them “It uses 3,000 Watts of power.....and its not turned of during the day”. Er sorry i'm rambling again aren't I? Where were we...Ah yes, the Graphics.

As you'd have expected the graphics have been significantly improved since Most Wanted with the power of this ageing old console being put to the test, with stunning results. An incredible amount of detail has gone into the aesthetics of this game to make it look, feel and sound realistic. From the jaw dropping detail on each and every line of each car to the scenery of the surrounding city and the incredible canyon backdrops. It really is a “wish you were here” kind of moment in the canyon, even romantic perhaps, that is if you dont look at the piles of twisted metal at the bottom of the canyon. You simply couldn't ask for a better looking and feeling game but the almost constant blue haze will probably make your eyes water after a while, not a game you'd wish on someone with epilepsy for sure.

Conclusion

Like any game NFS Carbon has it's good points and bad points but by the time you've completed it I would bet a sizeable amount of money that you'll have expected more but I guess this could be due to the fact that EA set the standards so high with Most Wanted that it simply couldn't be beaten but time has moved on and so has the NFS series each pushing the boundaries even further and yes the games really do get better. To sum it all up NFS Carbon is undoubtedly a good game but NFS Most Wanted is by far the better of the two, probably even the whole franchise so my advice is to buy both games, play them through and judge them for yourself and the best thing is you can pick them up second hand for just a couple of quid, how can you refuse?

Score - 8/10

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