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Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City review

Call in the troops this time, boys - we're taking our Wingmen out on the streets tonight

Pros

  • Gorgeous visuals front to back
  • Using your Wingmen
  • Great selection of cars and options

Cons

  • Convoluted story line
  • Occasional computer "cheating"
  • Limited online modes

As the steadfastly popular Need for Speed series rolls on each year, EA's modus operandi is simple - keep enough of the stuff that folks love, then add in some new wrinkles that'll excite the fan base. One thing's for sure, though - if nothing else, the PSP sports about a kajillion racing titles, and some of them are actually good. So what's the big deal this time?

Good thing you asked. The new mechanic in Carbon: Own the City is the Wingman - insane teammates who'll gladly sacrifice their cars and personal safety for your glory. Whether smashing into unwitting opponents, dropping lethal tire spikes, or letting you soak in some sweet aerodynamic speed boosts, you'll quickly discover that they hold the key to victory (and are really fun to turn loose during a race). Sadly, they're not always around, so sometimes you'll have to win all by your lonesome. When they do show up, though, you'd be smart to use them as much as possible.

As the title suggests, the job at hand is to take over an entire town, section by section. You're not doing this to satiate megalomaniacal dreams of conquest; rather, your brother was mysteriously killed in (surprise!) a street race a few months back, and evidently the only way to find his killer is to battle through all the city's racing crew bosses. Sound like a strange way to track down a murderer? That's what we thought, too.

Regardless, the goals are pretty straightforward - win races to get cash, use that to upgrade your car and buy new ones, then repeat. There are 29 different cars to choose from, each of which can be totally tricked out visually and under the hood to your heart's content once you start amassing some dough. Failure to improve your ride will mean getting your ass handed to you regularly, but it's pretty simple to build 'em out without needing an engineering degree.

More Info

GenreRacing
DescriptionForget the concrete jungle - Carbon's gonna take you through sweeping canyon streets and force you to claim back the city block by block.
Franchise nameNeed for Speed
UK franchise nameNeed for Speed
PlatformGameCube, PC, PSP, Xbox, DS, PS2, Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, GBA
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
Release date31 October 2006 (US), 3 November 2006 (UK)