EA Need for Speed: Carbon review
If you've been awaiting your next fix of high-octane street racing, Need for Speed: Carbon will be a welcome sight.
Not much has changed since the last game. In some respects that's a good thing; the slick presentation we've come to expect is still present and correct. Video sequences blend smoothly into the action and the pumping soundtrack sets the pulse racing.
Once you delve deeper, though, flaws appear. Playing NFS: Carbon requires you to win races set around samey city streets, soup up your vehicle with the proceeds and repeat until you've won enough races to challenge the big boss. The city is split into four areas, so you have to repeat this process four times; it gets boring after the first couple. Never mind that the cars handle like a cross between a dodgem and a shopping trolley with an afterburner tacked on its rear.
One new feature is the Canyon Duel showdown with the bosses. The aim is to skid your way down a twisty mountain road without plummeting off the side and without being overtaken by the boss. It sounds great, but it's not very challenging. The addition of teammates is another lukewarm idea. The idea is that they give bonuses, show you short cuts or put off your opponents while you're racing. In reality, they get in your way and win races you would have been capable of winning yourself.
The new Autosculpt feature is excellent. Everything you bolt on to your car can be stretched and re-sculpted to your specification. Once you've created your automotive labour of love, you can show it off online in the Pursuit Tag and Pursuit Knockout modes.
Need for Speed: Carbon is a bit of an enigma. To combine illegal street racing, suicidal high-speed drifting and attractive women and still not be anything more than average is an incredible feat.