Need For Speed: Carbon Review (Xbox)

Need for speed carbon is a game that has spread from system to system, different versions appearing on almost all systems for years now. It would be of the greatest ease for the creators to get lazy now and simply rely on brand success, but it does not appear like they are ready to do that just yet. Need for Speed carbon is the newest iteration of the game, luckily enough it actually has absolutely nothing to do with the element carbon, and more to do with the racing area carbon, so if like me science leaves you with a bitter taste in the mouth, then still buy this game, as the only reference to anything scientific is in the title.

It is highly likely you will lose your street cred if seen in the yellow car
The designer lets you fine tune the look of your car

The game as a whole remains rather untouched, new features added do not add enough spice to the game to maybe even warrant a full new game. Of course some people might be pleased that it remains largely untouched, yet through the game I got the feeling that I was just playing a better looking version of last year's game. Some features from last years game are removed, including last years heavy focus on police in the game. The main change to the game is the change back to the dark, in which most of the game takes place. Instead of seeing the bright colours which featured in the last installment, players can expect to see vibrant night colours, which can add a fair amount of atmosphere, especially during the in game cut scenes. In terms of a story line, carbon has a pretty weak one, underlying the game the developers have added a sense of mystery relating to money which has gone missing. All in all, it is not the most exciting storyline every heard, but it is fitting and I doubt many players are playing Need for speed for the story anyway.

Because the developers forgot to include the sun in the game, the drivers have to constantly use their headlights
The city looks like a weird mix of France, Japan and America with a lot of neon thrown in

The gameplay is some of the most solid in the genre, driving wise there are four camera angles, two over the shoulder and two exterior, this can provide a nice contrast for some players, although I found myself simply sticking to one of them for the majority of the time. The driving itself is very smooth with no substantial quibbles, they have managed to fine tweak it across the series and it really is a shining example of a driving game in those respects. One of the main new features to the gameplay is the team of racers function, which allows you to be joined by a team mate for challenges. There are three modes for your team member, the blocker will try and take out your opponent, drafters allow you to gain a boost from their slip stream and scouts who go ahead and try and find the best paths and shortcuts. While in theory this adds a fair amount of variation to the gameplay, I found I almost solely used the blockers, that being said it does make a nice new addition to the game. Car modifications which play a large part in the series are of course present, there is even a nifty new feature called auto-sculpting, which allows the player to edit in more detail one particular piece of the car, such as the front bumper for instance, it is a good idea which falls slightly short as there are only a handful of parts to edit. The rest of the process is still top-notch, as it has been through most of the series.

There has also been a change in the race modes, the previous drag racing has gone, probably because of the shape of the tracks or a shift of focus in the game. Drift racing is back and canyon racing is also present. The canyon racing is sort of like a boss race, which provides a nice contrast to the rest of the challenges. Over all though, despite modern alterations to the way the game is played in those respects, it still feels like a better looking version of last years game. There are some detailed, well thought out tracks, but in some respects it seems a shame that the developers have decided to dose the place in perpetual darkness, as something about it does not look right after the last iteration of the game.

The graphics are also fine tuned to near perfection, they might not be some of the best on the platform, but there is no denying that this game looks good. The only shame is that the majority of it takes place in the dark, limiting the amount of graphic potential they can show off. However they do somewhat conquer this problem by donning cities with large neon lights (the developer seems to love their neon) and good car models, although the character models sometimes do not look as good as their vehicle counterparts. Any
problems with the graphics however are only mine vexation, as through the series they remain some of the best in the genre.

Watch out, as the darkness could cause accidents
As if we hadn't bought the game already they still feel the need to give that number plate the name carbon

Overall Need for speed carbon does not offer any massive improvements over its predecessors, yet saying that, it is a fun game which has been fine tweaked over the years to perfection in a lot of fields including the graphics. However if you own any of the recent predecessors you might question whether you really need this one, it is as fun as the last games but provides no real innovation, which we have come to expect from the series.

Top game moment:
The what would be considered, "boss" or "end of level" races are a great new addition, and add variation to the regular races.