Need for Speed Carbon Review
Need for Speed Carbon continues the Need for Speed (NFS) seriesí tried and true formula of combining high-speed arcade street racing with the story of a young up and coming driver racing his way to the top. Now a ďtried and true formulaĒ can mean that you get more of a good thing or that the series is stuck in a rut. Even though Need For Speed Carbon only adds a handful of innovations to the franchise, overall the game is of the ďmore of a good thingĒ variety. Now itís up to you to decide whether or not thatís a good thing for you. Good thing youíve got me to let you know whatís in store for you in CarbonÖ
NFS Carbon takes place in the fictional town Palmont City, which kind of looks like the city of Miami transplanted into the California foothills and given a Las Vegas makeover. Thereís a lot of city here for you to explore, from canyon backroads and sleepy residential streets to downtown grids and super highways. Illegal street racing is big in Palmont City with everyone except the cops and minivan crowd, and the racers have aligned themselves into gangs and divided up the city in an ongoing turf war. To beat the game, become the top racer in town, learn the secrets of your past, vindicate yourself to your friends, earn the respect of your rivals, etc., youíll need to takeover the entire city for your gang. Each territory features a few race events that you can enter. Win the majority of race events in a territory and it becomes yours. While youíre out racing for territory so will your rivals and it is quite probable that youíll have to re-run some complete events to defend your territory. At times it can be annoying to be forced to re-run races that youíve already beat, but at least the game doesnít bog you down with constant territory defense.
Take all of the territory from a gang and youíll face the gangís leader in a final duel for victory. These are three part races that force you to win a regular race in the city and then travel to one of the canyons outside of town. There youíll compete in two checkpoint races in which you must try to stay as close as possible to your rival followed by a race with the two of you switching roles. I found the leader races to be a little much and wish there werenít so many hoops to jump through to win.
You can just hop in your car and drive around exploring the city, pull up your map and set your GPS to guide you to your next event, or simply jump to the next race. There is an advantage to taking the time to drive around the city and between the events, though. First, since the races take place on the streets of the city (hence the name street racing) it gives you a chance to scout out the courses and look for shortcuts. Second, itís the only way to be challenged to random races by rivals and unlock some bonuses that can be used to upgrade your ride.
Once in a race youíll be able to take advantage of one of Need For Speed Carbonís new feature: wingmen. Wingmen provide support for you during races and come in one of three varieties: blockers, drafters, and scouts. Blockers will sacrifice themselves by crashing into one of your competitors when you order them to do so. Drafters provide draft for you to catch and use to slingshot yourself forward at high speed. Lastly, scouts will show you where all the shortcuts are for a race. Scouts are the least useful of the three as youíll be able to spot a lot of the shortcuts yourself and youíll often be moving to quickly to be able to make the cut to hit a shortcut by the time itís pointed out to you. The drafters donít help that much either as they essentially serve the role of a reserve of NOS and there simply arenít enough straightaways to take advantage of the speed boosts. Blockersí ability to take out your competition can prove useful in tight races, although they seem far better at taking out cars behind you then in front. Overall, the wingman concept is a nice idea; itís just that it doesnít add that much to the races here.