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Old 06-13-2010, 08:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Need for Speed CARBON

'I didn't expect you to show your face again.
Things have changed around here.
This place is a battleground now.

Tuners, Muscles, Exotics.
Crews fighting for territory in the city, and it all gets settled in the canyon.
But you'd never survive it.'

At the start of the game, there is a montage of events leading up to a street race in Palmont city:
A girl is just finishing work on the car you're sitting in, and she tells you to start it up ... a guy throws you a set of keys as he tells you 'Don't disappoint.' ... the lady mechanic starts the race with a red bag hung on her shoulder, 4 highly tuned cars start racing through the city streets at incredible speeds, so closely grouped that it's hard to say which will win the race.

Suddenly, there's a flash across the street as tazer probes are shot at the racing cars, overloading their electrical systems and causing them to stall - all except one car - yours.
You take evasive action to keep from getting caught, and then stop for a moment as the girl who was working on your car earlier runs over and throws the red bag in your open window,

Then you recieve a phone call from the guy who threw you the keys telling you 'Look, between the heat and the crews you've gotta walk away. Take my car, get out of here.'

Then we fast forward to Palmont city: TONIGHT, and you are being chased down a twisting canyon road, and this leads into the first race of the game -
On screen come the instructions 'Escape from Cross'; very quickly you realize that Cross' car is superior to yours, and losing him is not likely to happen.
Just then you crash through some construction site, and are stopped dead as you smash into a truck parked in the middle of the road.
There is another cutscene.

It is then that you learn that your car was totaled while escaping from Cross, that Cross was chasing you to collect a 150 000 dollar bounty on you, and that Darius {who threw you the keys earlier, and phoned you after the police busted the race} says that he's gotten you out of two tight situations now, and you owe it to him to race for him and settle some of the territorial rivalry taking place in Palmont.

Nikki {the mechanic who threw the red bag in your window}, works with Darius, and she takes you to Neville, also on Darius' crew, who has brought together a selection of 3 cars for you to choose from:
A muscle car {Camaro SS}, an exotic {Alfa Brera}, and a tuner {Mazda RX - 8} which will be a gift from Darius to begin your career with.

The car you choose will determine which cars and parts will become unlockable later in the game, so really there are 3 different 'games' to play, if you take my meaning.

As you begin your career, Nikki and Neville take you for a short tutorial race to teach you how to use your wingman, a fellow crew member who races along with you to perform certain functions during a race.

A wingman has three basic functions:

Blockers, who crash into a rival car of your selection at your command.
Drafters, who will, when you tell them to, race slightly ahead of you for a while so as to cut the wind resistance for your car and allow you to slingshot past them when you are ready, giving you a considerable burst of speed.
and Scouts, who are continually trying to keep ahead of you to show you where the short cuts are in a given race.

Immediately after this tutorial race, Nikki takes off to leave you and Neville to find some racing action of your own, and it doesn't take long for you to find someone to race with: THE POLICE.
Neville uses the tip maneuver two of them, then you split up and you're on your own to lose 3 civic cruisers.

Here you see the 'busted/ evade' meter at the top of the screen to tell you if you're escaping or not.
ONCE you lose these three officers {using the tip maneuver works quite well} the 'busted/ evade' meter changes to a 'cooldown' meter.

If the cooldown meter fills without any more police gaining line of sight on you, you have successfully escaped, and they will stop chasing you until the next race.
The good part about being chased by the police in this game is that you have a scanner in your car and can hear all of their radio correspondence {whether or not you're being chased}, which allows you to stay one step ahead of them.

One other thing about the 'busted/ escaped' meter is the accompanying 'backup' timer above it; if the backup timer reaches 30 seconds, the chase will then be taken to the next level, meaning more police will join in the chase and use harsher tactics to stop you, so it's in your own best interest to get away as quickly as possible before the situation escalates.


You then see that Neville has joined your crew, of which you can hire new members for a maximum of 3, with one 'active' crew member who will join you in races at any given time.
Each crew member has their own abilities {blocker, drafter, or scout} and also unique attributes.
For instance, having Neville on your crew gives you an extra 200 dollars per win, and the zone you race in doesn't gain heat points.

ZONE HEAT: Palmont city is divided into sections, and each section of the city is assigned a 'heat level' according to how much police activity there has been in it.
The higher the heat level, the more likely it is that the police will chase you. {the logic being that if there have been races taking place in a given zone, the police would have been alerted before your arrival}

The default state of the game is 'free roam', and like the name implies you are allowed to drive to any part of the city you wish.
Watch your speed and driving habits because the police will be alerted if you drive too fast, crash into other cars or trucks, or cause too much damage to the environment by leaving the road.
Rival crews may challenge you to a race while in free roam if you enter their territory, but these races are for cash only and do not count towards your reputation.

There are 6 different types of events {circuit, sprint, drift, canyon, checkpoint, and speedtrap} shown on the city map which are marked by stars, and these are the events which count towards your crew's reputation and also allow you to take over rival crews' territory if won.

Circuit, sprint, and drift are self - explanitory.
Checkpoint events give you varying amounts of time to reach the next checkpoint along the course, and if you don't reach the checkpoints in time, you fail the event.
Canyon races are between you and one rival car on winding canyon roads - and you can fall off into the canyon on certain sharp turns if you're not careful.
These canyon runs have 2 parts: the first part, they follow you down the canyon and the closer they stay behind you, the less you score.
The second part of the canyon race, you follow them and the closer you stay to them, the higher you score.
If either car gets passed for more than 15 seconds during either of these races, the car that did the passing wins the event.

Speedtrap races are a standard 4 car race {like the circuit and sprint events} in which a crew member joins you.
Along the track there are checkpoints which record your speed as you drive through them, as well as the speed of your fellow crew member.
Both of your speeds are added together, and this is your score; the rival crew's cars' speeds are added against it, and the crew with the fastest collective speed over the entire course wins the event.

You win varying amounts of cash for each race, which you can use to buy new cars or to improve the ones you already have.
It's better to have more than one car, and preferably 50 000 dollars in reserve in case things go wrong.
Winning events unlocks different things in the game: parts, cars, or accessories.

Compared to the improvements in NFSU 2, Carbon doesn't have as large a selection and so a certain degree of simplicity is employed when buying new parts and tuning them to suit your tastes.
For example, in NFSU 2 you would have to choose your parts from over 30 different manufacturers, and then dyno tune your car for each individual type of event to achieve the best results.
In Carbon the tuning is automatic when entering an event.
The lack of parts and manufacturers to choose from is a good trade off for a better overall game, by comparison.
{although I do like fiddling around with parts and such just for fun}

Speaking in general about the gameplay, this is the best racing game I have played to date.
The physics are bang on, there's a really great selection of high end cars to choose from no matter which class you play as and you can completely customize your car {there's even a feature where you can design your own body parts}.

There are so many options in this game that to list them all would be a daunting task, so suffice it to say that this game is better than Need For Speed Underground 2 {see my review} by a long shot in terms of your being able to customize your car exactly the way you want it.

The cutscenes are awesome, with full motion cinematics and very realistic looking characters {which you'd swear are on video}, a great storyline and a continuing challenge throughout the entire game, no matter what event you are competing in; your rival cars are always slightly better than yours so it takes some real skill to win the races - particularly the canyon races where you can drive right off the road.
I LOVE it, and if you're as big of a racing game fan as I am, you will too.

Graphics: 5/5
- EA games really did a great job with this one.
The cars are rendered beautifully with lots of detail in crisp, sharp graphics. Palmont city, is bright and colorful and has lots of detail itself, although I dare say the majority of the detail is in the cars, and since most of the time you're racing around at over 100 MPH, the environment is little more than a blur most of the time anyhow.

Sound: 5/5 - Aside from the apparently well - researched sounds of the cars' engines, the general soundtrack of the game {city sounds} is very well done and meshes with the gameplay perfectly.
I don't personally like the music, but to me it sounds like typical radio fare.

Replay value: 5/5
- I haven't stopped playing it since I got it, and will likely keep playing it for quite some time to come. It's just such a fun and pretty game it keeps me coming back.

Challenge: 5/5
- I still have yet to beat this game, and I consider myself to be pretty good at racing games, so I have to give it a solid 5.

Tilt: 5/5 - I don't think that it could have come up any other way - I LOVE NEED FOR SPEED CARBON, it's my favorite street racing game to date.

Last edited by RU Joe; 06-13-2010 at 08:46 AM..
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Level: 33
Points: 17,301, Level: 33 Points: 17,301, Level: 33 Points: 17,301, Level: 33
Level up: 69%
Level up: 69%, 349 Points needed Level up: 69% Level up: 69%
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Re: Need for Speed CARBON

I think I'll have to find myself a copy of this one, street racing games are some of my favorites.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Level: 41
Points: 28,434, Level: 41 Points: 28,434, Level: 41 Points: 28,434, Level: 41
Level up: 14%
Level up: 14%, 1,216 Points needed Level up: 14% Level up: 14%
Activity: 95%
Activity: 95% Activity: 95% Activity: 95%
 

   
Re: Need for Speed CARBON

Everyone,
I need to make a small correction to that part where I said:
Quote:
If the cooldown meter fills without any more police gaining line of sight on you, you have successfully escaped, and they will stop chasing you until the next race.
where what I should have said is that ... they will stop chasing you until the next time you're caught speeding.
They will chase you in free roam at any time.

Also, I failed to go into enough detail about how well done the environment is; I don't think I've seen such a great looking city in a game, and one other thing - the sun never rises in Palmont, so the whole game takes place at night.

DM this is the one you simply must have, and I guarantee you will be surprised at what a great game it is.
I'm going to crank out reviews of some of my other games so you'll be able to see the difference - {and maybe fix some of the ones I did before if I can} give me a while, Ok?
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Level: 33
Points: 17,301, Level: 33 Points: 17,301, Level: 33 Points: 17,301, Level: 33
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Re: Need for Speed CARBON

I'm not going to give you a while. Get those reviews going.

I am planning on finding a copy of this game, along with quite a few other PS2 games I've been dying to get. Shadow of the Colossus, Guilty Gear X2, my own copies of MGS 2 & MGS 3, God of War, God of War 2, Devil May Cry 3, Shinobi, Dark Cloud, one of the Katamari games, and a whole bunch of others.
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