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Need for Speed Carbon XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 8.8
Graphics 9.0
Sound 9.0
Value 8.8
Distributor: Activision
Review Date:
December 2006
Geoff Clarke


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Need for Speed: Carbon

Ever since the Need for Speed series was released on the 3DO those so many years ago, the series has really flourished and also lasted the test of time. However in order to keep things fresh and unique, EA have once again gone back to the drawing boards with their latest edition to the franchise, Need for Speed Carbon which transforms gamers into the role of a illegal street racer.

The game starts with a Hollywood style cinematic that is in the same vein as the Fast and the Furious series which has the player engaging in one of Carbon cities illegal street races. Unfortunately for your faction, the police were notified of this race and many of your acquaintances were busted, fortunately for your character, they managed to escape, much to the hatred of your team.

Years later, your character returns to Carbon City, only to be threatened by his previous faction, join us or face the authorities which makes the choice rather easy. Joining your old faction, you once again race the streets as you try to increase your turf, upgrade your cars and have one of the most thrilling racing experiences of all time.

EA have masterfully incorporated real world actors into the gaming environment, that although they look a little strange, they are nether the less quite stylised in their appearance and it also helps having the talented and sexy Emmanuelle Vaugier in the title.

From the first moment you lay eyes on Need for Speed: Carbon, from the professional menu systems, the heavy music and the gorgeous cars, you immediately get that feeling that you are in for a treat and to make things even more interesting, there are a variety of different gameplay modes for not only off-line play but also on-line play. Quick race to online multiplayer fun, it's all here!

The main game mode of Need for Speed: Carbon is the career mode that starts the gamer from a lowly street racer who must race his way through the various territories of Carbon City, each with their own faction. By beating members of these factions and eventually challenging the boss, these territories eventually become yours.

With that said, the game is not your average street racing game as the player now has access to a wingman which can perform a variety of manoeuvres from knocking out your opponents, scouting for alternate shortcuts and even using their wingman's slipstream to increase your car's speed. This whole new concept of wingman will revolutionise the racing world as it gives a great new spin on the genre and really gives you a feeling that you are part of gaming environment.

Other new features of gameplay include the ability of using nitrous oxide and performing a "Matrix" style hand break move that basically slows time in order for you take sharp corners or assist in drifting. It also helps that it looks quite impressive!

The control system of the Need for Speed: Carbon is perfect with the shoulder buttons used to accelerate and brake and the d-pad used for hand break, nitro, etc. You also have the choice of a variety of different views with my personal favourite being included, a bonnet view which really gives you a sense of speed.

The graphics of Need for Speed: Carbon are absolutely stunning and even though the "real" actors that have been transformed into the gaming environment have this otherworldly feel to them, it really goes a long way in drawing you into the world of this adrenaline pumping game.

All the cars have been professionally designed with beautiful reflective surfaces and match that with some great special effects from realistic lighting to the blur of the handbrake manoeuvre it's very easy to get lost in the gameplay. My only gripe with the graphics is that every now and then, the frame rate pauses and then gets released again which is a little disconcerting at the beginning, however you soon do forget.

The soundtrack of the title is great and really has that "dark" ambience feel of underground street racing that when matched with the professional voice acting and realistic sound effects and the audio aspect of the game is flawless.

In conclusion, Need for Speed: Carbon is a brilliant racing game that features state of the art graphics, sturdy gameplay and a bevy of different gaming modes. With a few glitches in the graphics and an initial hiccup in the menu system, Need for Speed: Carbon still makes this a prime candidate for this Christmas occasion. Once again EA have a winner on their hands.


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