Need For Speed: Carbon

 Rating Preview
 Fun Factor

 8.5 
 Graphics

7.8
 Sound

7.7
 Multiplayer

8.3
 Single Player

6.5
 Controls

0.1

Need For Speed: Carbon Review Written by CroTech
Published by CroTech

Need for Speed: Carbon is the latest entry in the Need for Speed series. The game is a significant improvement over its predecessors, but at the same time it retains the style of gameplay that the series is known for producing. The game continues from Most Wanted, by having you running from the police. You still battle bosses in order to conquer each territory and just as with Most Wanted, you will face several challenges when racing each boss which must be completed in order to conquer the territory. In Carbon you also have teammates that will play a role in your career, and picking teammates with the right strengths will help you to succeed.

The game is very well laid-out. Menus and modes make it feel like Most Wanted, but the level of customization helps set it apart. Carbon gives you a sculpting interface that lets you customize every part of your car to a certain extent. For example, you can adjust the height and width of your body kits. When racing, other cars in your crew have icons displayed above them showing you what each member’s role is which you can use to your advantage during a race. After completing a territory, you choose another territory to race in, offering new locales and styles.


“You’ve been a naughty boy.”

When it comes to graphics, Carbon is pretty close to Most Wanted in terms of quality, which isn’t a bad thing. The biggest change is that a significant amount of motion blurring has been added to this installment. Cars themselves are very detailed but could have been done a little bit better, especially considering that if the motion blur kicks in at all the details become negligible. Truly impressive are the cutscenes integrated into the game. EA used motion capture of actors and put them into the game, making cutscenes come out looking very real. If anything more of these cutscenes would have been great to help move along the story that seems to be never-ending. Other than a few lacking details in the environments and a few other places, Carbon is a visually pleasing game. That in mind, I’m hoping the next installment will make some graphical improvements.

The music is Carbon seems to be a few steps below that in Most Wanted, but it’s not so bad that you’d ever want to play without it. The game could have used some more big-name artists instead of the large number of songs from artists no one has ever heard of. Car sound effects don’t seem to stand out as they used computer-generated sound effects, making it a bit less realistic. The car sound effects tend to get a little annoying even, particularly during drift challenges. Voice acting is well done, which is no surprise since the cutscenes are pretty much actual pieces of film footage. Overall, while the music and sound effects in Carbon are nothing to get excited about they do their job in a game in which sound is not, really, that important.


Canyon Duels are amongst the toughest challanges, you must resist going over the edge.

Ah, gameplay. It’s what the Need for Speed franchise is known for. Ever since its inception fans of the series have looked forward every year to sinking their teeth into a new installment, and this year was no exception. The game may not have stellar graphics or excellent sound, but the one thing staying most true is the great, fun gameplay it has always brought to its hardcore fans. Many fans were unsure about that game after hearing about the changes that were going to be made, but really the only big change is the tweaking of drifting. In the past EA has done a solid job with drifting physics, but in Carbon drifting always feels a little looser than it should. It does not feel as natural as it has in past titles. Other than that, the gameplay in Carbon is just as valuable as it was in past installments. I’m hoping they lean more towards the gameplay of previous entries in the future, though. I guess we’ll have to wait until next year’s installment to see what happens.

As much as it hurts me to have to say it, the replay value of Carbon is pretty low, largely due to its lack of online innovation and its short campaign. Most Wanted had some success online, but we tried to get Carbon online and there was really no one available to play with. We played some of our own games to test out new modes, Pursuit Tag and Pursuit Knockout, but they weren’t anything we hadn’t seen before and they don’t help to make Carbon unique among games of its type. The campaign mode, while not as long as the one in Most Wanted, will definitely keep you entertained while it lasts.


“I make Lightning McQueen look like a chump.”

While Carbon is a solid game, in the end I have to recommend making it a rental, as it’s really not worth buying due to its length, and the achievements in it are confusing and time-consuming.

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