Need for Speed Carbon is the soon-to-be latest entry in EA's long-running racing series. The last few entries have changed the established formula to be a very popular one, which has resulted in high expectations for new games in the franchise.
This year's game, which is set to be released on every current and next-gen format, as well as PC and both of the major portables, is an expansion of the key features that have made the series popular, along with new elements that have come out of the team's research into the racing scene. The big hooks this year are canyon racing, racing crews, and car-class affiliation, with the heart of the game's career mode a a battle for control of a city.
The setting is a massive free-roaming metropolis that's bigger than the one seen in last year's Most Wanted. In addition, you'll find massive canyons that will serve as the stage for the unique boss battles. The action will find you building up a crew of racers to help you take over the city neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood, and mastering the three car classes, which are tuner, muscle, and exotic.
You are cast as an established racer who got involved in the blacklist of Most Wanted, and you're now returning to the game's city to right a wrong that was done to you. The game's narrative will again play out via cinematics handled by the director that did Most Wanted's; however, in keeping with the overall tone, the cinematics will have a different feel from Most Wanted's, which were over the top, but very effective.
In terms of gameplay, Need for Speed Carbon stays true to the open-world framework of its predecessors. The core experience has you travelling through the massive city that is the main stage for the game's action and challenging other crews for control of their territory. As you defeat them you'll take their hood and your rep will grow. Obviously, taking on racing crews will present a sizable challenge that is more than one man can handle. Fortunately, you'll be able to recruit a posse of wingmen to help you out in your quest.
The visuals in the game are looking very sharp indeed. The car models look very sharp and the canyon environment offered a change of pace from the traditional city environments that we've become familiar with in the series. The stylish lighting that has been one of the key elements in the game is back in tweaked form, which gives the game its distinct look on both platforms.
Expected out in November of this year, NFS: Carbon looks sure to be a hit with car enthusiasts and casual racers alike. We will be sure to keep you up to date with news on this title as well as all other gaming news right here on NZGamer.
The Good: Huge enviroments, and the ability to race in a 'crew' rather than individually.
The Bad: Hopefully the all new casted cinematics don't stray far from the ones in Most Wanted, as they were well done.
The Ugly: Trying to race your nana's Honda City in this. Who needs fuel efficiency?