Friday 3 November 2006
Here's something we didn't expect - this new NFS is virtually identical to Need for Speed Underground 2. Night races? Check. Free-roaming city? Check. SMS messages, short-cuts, tune-up garages? Check, check and check. They're all here. Carbon may use the best ideas from Most Wanted and NFSU2 but, as any modder will tell you, simply adding a few parts from a Ferrari 355 to the chassis of an F50 isn't going to turn it into a Mitsubishi Lancer. To the casual observer, there's little difference - it could be the same game.
But is that such a bad thing? In terms of atmosphere, NFSU2 had it nailed - now it's got gameplay to match. No longer will you be cruising for miles without braking - the courses are tighter and more exciting than before.
You'll still get some serious speed up but you'll enjoy some tricky corners, too. And integrated into Carbon from Most Wanted is the long arm of the law, so now you'll also have to avoid the heat. It was the best aspect of that game and it adds greatly to the playability of this one.
Above: Need for Speed has always worked best at night. Daytime doesn't exist in Carbon
However, the new canyon setting is the feature developer EA is pushing most. And, although it's perfect for two-player battles, beating a boss over two laps of the track isn't that thrilling, no matter how likely it is that you'll topple over the edge and hurtle down the mountainside. Why not just have a showdown duel against a computer car with more aggressive AI, in a match to see who can shove each other over the cliff first? It seems like an idea used because it's 'new', not because it's 'appropriate'.