2006 release in EA's popular racing video game franchise
Windows Vista / Windows XP / Windows 2000
Race on the streets in a city in the southwest area of the United States, upgrading your car before competing in special events and trying to get away from police officers.
The action takes place in a fictitious city. However, the graphics make you feel like you're racing in a movie instead of playing a game. Most of the racing that you'll do in the game is trying to get away from police officers as well as bounty hunters who are trying to pull you over. Perform a few risky moves on the road to get away from them as fast as you can. They are hunting for you because of actions that you have performed in years past. You'll find some of the players from other versions of the game as well as a few people who you might have loved at one time. You'll get to choose the car that you want to race with and are able to upgrade your car once you start winning events.
With the help of the people you meet in the city, you'll devise plans to take over the city as well as surrounding areas. There are several new features in the game that can improve your racing style, but you'll have to rely on the driving skills that you possess if you want to get ahead in the game. A map is seen on the bottom of the screen so that you know where you're at in the city and where other drivers are located, including police officers. There are new engines available as well as a few other new upgrades along with different drifting styles and ways to maneuver corners. There is a large variety of cars to choose from, such as muscle cars and tuners depending on what kind of handling you enjoy and the design that you like.
Need For Speed: Carbon is the 10th title in the NSF franchise. The story, being something of little consequence as is the case with most racing games, puts the player in fictitious Palmont in the Southwestern United States. On the run from police and bounty hunters on the search for the protagonist for a past life of misdeeds, players find themselves surrounded by old friends and a former love interest who run in the city's criminal underground. Together they construct a plan to take control of the surrounding cities in an attempt to outsmart the law.
In keeping with the reputation of Need For Speed, there's great presentation in this half-arcade, half-sim racer that relies heavily on customization, new driving features and winding maps.
One such new feature is drifting, something introduced to the series before this installment, but greatly improved here. Drifting allows cars to take corners down racing circuits without compromising speed. The use of a new engine permits longer drifts that allow taking corners at faster speeds while also removing the fear of crashing. With the number of winding tracks and wide curves, mastering this skill could make or break a race, especially at later races when cars can match, or even overpower, that of the player.
There are three kinds of drivers players can recruit into their crew: scouts, drifters and blockers. These are AI-assist drivers that help the player during races. Blockers can be used to slow cars behind the main player, making advancement easier. Scouts can speed on ahead and find shortcuts though the track to make up for slight crashes or climb up positions in the race. Drifters position themselves to cushion the player's blows as they wind around tracks without ramming into concrete walls and peripheral scenery. They may sound helpful, but their assistance only proves useful for the most amateurish of players. Anyone who's played a racing sim before will be able to navigate the tracks without much assistance.
Car variety in NFS: Carbon is a little lacking when compared to other racing sims. With a choice of muscle cars, exotics and tuners, players will have a choice of physical customization and a few superficial mechanical upgrades. There's a bit of bias toward muscle cars, however. This is probably due to muscle cars being an addition to the roster that hasn't been seen before in the NFS series. They tend to be faster, accelerate quicker and handle corners with better ease than exotics or tuners. That doesn't mean the other two classes go without consideration; all three cars handle differently, feel different to the player, possess their own strengths suited to racing, and the physical customization is extensive.
With production quality that gives grand urban environments with realistic sounds and responsive multiplayer makes NFS: Carbon a must play for racing fans. It may feel a little too easy for some players, especially if they stick with the muscle cars, but it is one of the more realistic racing sims, not just in the series, but in the whole market.
-Robust multi-player modes
-proper handling and controls
-Unhelpful AI crew