Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Electronic Arts
Players: 1 and Multiplayer
Classification: ESRB: E10+
I must say I am loathe to review Need for Speed Carbon now but only because I have not yet reviewed the other two great Need for Speed games I have played as yet which are Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 and Need for Speed: Underground 2, which I have played previously so I’ll do a bit of a brief history for those games that I do hope to make a proper review in the future and my experience with the Need for Speed series itself.
|Ahh the stillness of night NEEEYOWWW!|
|Ahh Need for Speed 3: Hot Pursuit, can't say it looked good, but was fun|
|Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2, one of the best I've played, car detail was amazing, this Holden HSV has some pretty damn good colours hah|
|Underground 2 had an amazing amount of customization options.|
|Man I'm so tense!|
|Test Drive Unlimited, my replacement for Hot Pursuit 2|
|You could get some interesting results with the autosculpt feature|
Intro video and introduction showing the current story.
There are also several minor crews who own turf which you take over, they can also challenge and take over other crews turf including yours. So anyway they have every right to be pissed off you with inc Nikki (who is apparently your former girlfriend but is now with Darius) though she agrees to help you and introduces you to Neville and gives you your first car which you get to choose from a Tuner, Exotic or Muscle style and then shows you the ropes. This bit takes place in an area called San Juan which I only found out now isn’t accessible in free roam, it’s basically just used for the tutorials and has some quick race events. The usual Nitrous and Speedbreaker make a return for this game though as with Most wanted I did forget to use most of the time which is more realistic in anyway even if it does make it easier for getting into shortcuts/dodging cars police etc. You are also shown the games crew racing features, basically you have 3 types of crew members you can take out on the track:
Blockers – Block a designated car to help you
Drafters – Create a slipstream for you to “slingshot” your car from sort of like another Nitrous boost
Scouts – Find shortcuts for you which are marked on the map after found.
|Nikki creates a "Draft" in front of me (I never really learned to use this properly)|
Yumi's intro video, fwaorr!
Crew members give other benefits too and have an ability when they are an active crew member and another that affects race and winning races. You can only have 3 crew members active so unfortunately you can’t use all of their abilities.
Fabricator – These guys allow the use of the autosculpt feature, you need to recuit both Colin and Sal to make full use of autosculpt.
Fixer – Neville and Samson give you more money and less heat from the cops after each race.
Mechanic – Interestingly these are both girls (Yumi and Nikki) and they give you either more or a discount on car purchases which is very useful when purchasing the higher end cars.
You then need to create your crew identity, to start off I
didn’t really bother doing the whole crew thing I just made a logo and gave a
crew name racing with crew members but not thinking about it really. I think
I’ve played the game at least 3 times now maybe 4 and using each car type once
though I think it was the first time I tried the Muscle Car class I had noticed
in the past that each crew had their own colours and paint type. So I decided
I’d do it with my crew as well which was quite as there are 3 tiers of cars and
once you obtain a car that is a higher tier so does your crew, meaning that you
not only had to repaint your car in the crew colours but all your crew members
too, well at least the ones you were using. The territory part is pretty self
explanatory, you start with no territory and have to win races to gain ground
(while other crews do the same thing) and eventually challenge the crew leader
of that area, you also start in a different area depending on which car you
chose. As you fight for territory you’ll take over areas though sometimes the
smaller gangs challenge you to take them back and you have to defend your
territory which is kind of annoying sometimes as when you just want to finish
|Your crew window allowed you to organize which members you wanted to be part of the crew providing their career and race bonuses (if active)|
So basically you’re on a mission to take over territories for Darius until things get ugly later on, your other enemies apart from the rival crews is the Police who make a return but are fortunately not as prominent then in Most Wanted, they still give chase close to the end of some races and you are forced to evade utilizing Pursuit Breakers once again. Your cars can gain heat which makes them more prone to police pursuits though you can bring down the heat by using crew member abilities, impound strike markers or get out of jail free cards that you obtain from beating the crew leaders. You obtain a number of rewards card when you take over each territory, you can choose two cards from the set which give you more car upgrades or the set with gives you random things like impound strike markers, free cash and/or the pink slip to your opponents car. I personally picked all the latter ones as you obtain the car upgrades anyway and it equalled more money as you could sell the cars.
Racing in the game is not too different from before there
are your usual circuit and point- point sprint races, the sometimes difficult speedtrap races which
I remember from both Most Wanted and Test Drive Unlimited 2 and the Checkpoint
races which is basically time trial. To my great excitement Drift races make a
return to the game since Underground 2 and there are two types, arena and
canyon. Arena is the same as before set in a drift arena which you do two laps
and Canyon drift is basically the downhill drift from previously except there
is a danger of falling off the edge. Speaking of Canyons there is also the new
Canyon duel mode where you duel the crew leaders after beating them in a
|Police chases make a return but are easily avoided or evaded, heat can be lowered especially when using the right crew members.|
Faceoff with Kenji before the street Race
How Canyon duel works is that you start off chasing your opponent and trying to get as close as possible to them, the closer you are the more your score goes up (extra for shunting) if you happen to pass them you win automatically. On the way back down they are chasing you and your score is going down so you must get down the bottom before it runs out. I found this mode pretty challenging but fun at the same time, managing to pass and outrun some bosses in the process. The game modes consist of the Career mode, Quick race, Challenge series and the Reward cards, the challenge series is a set list of challenges encompassing pretty much everything you do in the game and the reward cards are like achievements, both of these unlock more content to use in the game and career mode.
Canyon Duel with Wolf, doesn't take me long to pass him
With the controls, I used the same setup I had from Test Drive Unlimited. Using my Logitech PS3 style controller I used one stick for accelerating and braking the other for steering, speedbreaker, handbrake and crew member activate were all on the top and the triangle button was for look behind (this is what mucked me up a bit when first starting to play GTA5 as I was repeatedly jumping from moving cars). The difficulty of controlling the cars depended on the type of course, the tuners cornered well but had low top speed, the muscle cars accelerated the fastest but weren’t quick in the corners though I found they were very tailslide happy which actually worked and I didn’t have too much trouble with them in the Canyon runs. The exotics had the best top speed and I liked them the most as they were the best all-round.
|Muscle cars aren't good on cornering but I fared ok.|
|Using the vinyl editing options you could make any vinyl a body vinyl really though technically you could see the difference when stretched.|
Basically the way it works was that the part would start off basic looking then would get more and more cut/warped as the bar went across and if you pushed the bars all the way to the end that was the maximum the part could be changed. For example a spoiler could have 3 bars, one which changed the height of the spoiler, once which changed the length and one which changed how much it dipped. I used this mode in moderation though as maxing out these features often made your car look pretty damn silly, impractical and over-the-top however there were some very awesome designs and I loved seeing how some parts turned out for example the autosculpt bonnets for some Muscle cars often had pop-up engines.
|The classic muscle cars had some of the best looking autosculpt hoods available.|
|This is a shot from the end of the game where I have taken over all territories, proudly showing my "JAWS" crew logo|
Amusing scene with Nikki, Neville and Sal
Music was quite interesting with this one as the game had quite a large soundtrack which is played through the menu’s, cutscenes and when in free roam mode though when you are actually racing or being chased by police the game’s original score is played which in most races was actually context sensitive as it got more dramatic towards the end of the race. I liked the artist tracks of the game as I knew some of them inc (Ladytron and Lady Sovereign) and they worked well with the game’s cutscenes. The sound effects were fine, had no problem with them, a lot of sound (especially the police) was brought over from most wanted but that was ok.
Overall I’d hate to make this a comparison
between Underground 2 but both games have their merits in different areas,
Carbon has better and more recent graphics obviously though I would actually
like to see how the PC version of Underground 2 looks with all the graphics
cranked up to full. Carbon has the better storyline and much better cutscenes
with actual live acting as Underground 2 just had moving storyboard art and the
addition of the crews and the tuner, muscle and exotic class work well, I
actually much prefer classic muscle cars then the SUV’s which Underground 2
had. Underground 2 though it didn’t have the autosculpt feature it still had a
more detailed level of customisation for your car and also a larger list of
game modes inc Street
X and Drag. However Carbon was
enough and compiled with an awesome storyline and career mode and all the extra
bits it needed was a great package and one of the best of the Underground
|The original score was very good especially in the opening scene of the "Race Wars" events|
Here in our cars