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Need for Speed Carbon

Carbon also features eight-player online multiplayer, and you can even team up with a mate in career mode. This enables you to race as his sidekick, taking on AI opponents, which should offer some good co-op action.

But with the game spanning a total of 10 different platforms, there's nothing here that screams next-gen gameplay. The team mate we raced with made little real difference during the hectic car chasing, and we were often zooming past a rival before we could activate our blocking buddy's skills. The less offensive-styled assistants are likely to be the most useful.



Above: Tearing down a thin, cliff-top road in a Lamborghini Gallardo was our fave moment

Canyon racing is a great addition, but the game's clunky handling gives little of the high-intensity action that you'd get from tearing down a cliff-side road in Burnout Revenge. Need for Speed sits awkwardly between Burnout's arcade madness and Gran Turismo's purist control and can't offer an exciting, nimble feel to rival either of those racing greats.

Carbon hasn't actually been given a release date yet and on this pretty disappointing evidence we wouldn't be surprised to see it slipping right into 2007. That would certainly give the extra time needed to inject a dose of gameplay nitrous and save this supposedly next-gen racer from being a wholly underwhelming experience.

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