Need for Speed: Carbon
|Need for Speed: Carbon|
European cover art featuring a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX and a Dodge Challenger drifting through the corner
EA Black Box (PC)
Rovio Mobile (mobile)
|Series||Need for Speed|
|Distribution||CD-ROM, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Wii Optical Disc, GameCube Game Disc|
Need for Speed: Carbon, also known as NFS Carbon or NFSC, is an Electronic Arts video game belonging to the Need for Speed series. Released in 2006, it is the tenth installment, preceded by Need for Speed: Most Wanted, succeeded by Need for Speed: ProStreet in release order and succeeded by Need for Speed: Undercover in chronological order. This was the first game to gain the PEGI Rating of 12+ The game is a sequel to 2005's Need for Speed: Most Wanted. The locations of both Most Wanted and Carbon (Rockport and Palmont, respectively) are featured in the 2010 MMO game, Need for Speed: World.
The PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance versions of the game are called Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City, set in a fictional city named Coast City with a significantly different storyline and also featuring different AI teammate abilities. In 2009, a version of Own the City was also released on the Zeebo as a pre-installed game.
The gameplay is based upon rival street racing crews. Players run a crew and can hire specific street racers to be in their crew and the active friendly racer is known as a wingman. Each hirable street racer has two skills, one which is a racing skill (scout, blocker, and drafter) and a non-race skill (fixer, mechanic, and fabricator). Each skill has different properties from finding hidden alleys/back streets (shortcuts) to reducing police attention. Cars driven by the wingmen are also different; blockers drive muscles, drafters drive exotics and scouts drive tuners (although the first two unlockable wingmen (Neville and Sal) drive cars according to the player's chosen car class at the start of the game). In career mode, players have to race tracks and win to conquer territories and face off against bosses to conquer districts. Also, sometimes the minor crews (Black Hearts and Kings, who drive exotics, Inferno and Los Colibres, who drive muscles, and Rotor 4 and Scorpios, who drive tuners), might attack the player's owned races. The player can then either accept the challenge, and keep the race if they win it, or decline, in which case, the minor crew will automatically take over the race.
Unlike Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Underground, Carbon had no drag racing. However, Carbon features the return of drift racing, a mode that had been included in two previous installments Need For Speed: Underground and Underground 2, but omitted from Carbon's predecessor, Most Wanted; and new style of event, Canyon Event, based on Japanese Touge races. There are four types of Canyon Events: Canyon Duel, Canyon Sprint, Canyon Checkpoint and Canyon Drift. A special point to note is that Lap Knockout race events are omitted, compared to previous installments. Tollbooth racing from Most Wanted was renamed to "Checkpoint" racing in Carbon.
Players can upload in-game screenshots to the Need for Speed website, complete with stats and modifications. NFS Carbon was the first NFS game to feature online exclusive game modes. The Pursuit Knockout and Pursuit Tag game modes are modes that allow the player to play as either a racer or a cop. Pursuit Knockout is essentially a lap knockout with a twist. The racers that are knocked out of the race come back as cops and it’s their job to try to stop the other racers from finishing the race through any means necessary. The player that finishes the race wins. Pursuit Tag begins with one player as a racer and the rest of the players as cops. It is the cops' job to arrest the racer. The cop that makes the arrest then turns into a racer and has to try to avoid the cops. The player who spends the most time as a racer wins.
Gameplay control methods vary from console to console. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 control steering through the control pad, while acceleration, braking and other controls can be configured and mapped to the different buttons on the controllers. The Driving Force GT and G27 racing wheels can be used, and this is the first Need For Speed title to implement force-feedback and the 900 degree turning radius. On Windows, joysticks and wheel controllers are supported, as well as those that support force feedback. The Wii lacks online play, but fully supports the use of the Wii Remote.
Need for Speed: Carbon features a new car customization option called "Autosculpt", enabling players to utilize aftermarket car parts and shape/mould the parts to their liking. Players can also have multiple customized vinyls as well. Performance tuning has been redone so that players, as upgrades are purchased, can tune the car for a number of different properties, such as higher top speed or higher acceleration. Unlike Most Wanted, all of Carbon's performance tuning/enhancing and car customizing is done inside the safe house.
Boss Race is accessible only through the game's Career Mode. Most of Carbon's focus lies through various canyon races, which the game's theme is based on. Players have to race against other racers, drift through canyons, or even face off against an opponent in a one-on-one competition known as a "Canyon Duel", borrowed from Japanese Touge races. This event has two stages: In the first stage, the player chases the rival and accumulates points faster the closer they stick to the opponent. In the second stage, the roles are reversed and the player's points decline faster the closer the opponent is.
As with Most Wanted, cops are everywhere in Carbon. Police chases can break out at any time, including when in Free Roam mode, when racing, or just after a race is completed. Some races do not have a chance of a police pursuit, such as Canyon races, and Checkpoint races. As with Most Wanted, there are 5 conditions. Players have to be careful to avoid getting pursued by state or federal authorities. The Collector's Edition features three additional heat levels. Although the pursuit system is similar to Most Wanted, this feature has been reprogrammed in Carbon to ensure that police were not too dominant in arrest tactics in high pursuit levels. Some of the police tactics (such as the spike strips) while at the same time to make pursuits much harder to escape once a pursuit initiates.
Players can choose from many licensed cars divided into three classes as follows: Tuners, Muscles, and Exotics. Each car has its own characteristic ranging from easy cornering to well-balanced road performance. Players must choose a class to start career mode on which the set of unlocks will be different,before choosing their car the player can initiate a test drive option. Players can also unlock cars that are reserved for quick races as the players progress throughout the game and earn reward cards. For example, Tuners are good in handling and tight corners, Exotics can rev up to very high speeds, and Muscles can accelerate fast in a short amount of time.
The Own the City version differs with little regard to car class, and has many areas from the original game altered. There are new game modes, like Escape where the player must escape from a rival crew's territory, Delivery where the players and their crew have to deliver a package to a designated area in first place to win and Crew Takedown, where players have to eliminate a set number of rival racers to win. Crew management allows hiring of up to 5 wingmen per crew, with 2 active for racing. Players can use the crews for all races except for Lap Knockout, Escape and Crew Takedown modes. The city is also divided into many areas, some together into a district owned by one crew, with a total of 6 districts and 13 areas. Every area conquered gives new unlocks and new wingmen. Wingmen also have three different classes; a brawler that takes down racers, a drafter that drafts racers to give speed boosts, and assassins that deliver spike strips the player needs to avoid that can blow a car's tires, aimed for enemy cars. The game also allows free roaming with crates scattered throughout the whole city that when broken, give special unlocks ranging from cash to game art. Police chases are only available in free roam, and are not available in races.
The game is set in the fictitious city of Palmont. There are three major canyons in Palmont: East, West, and Carbon Canyon. The southwestern border of the city features a sea coast. The city also includes several rivers and a lake near Carbon Canyon. It resembles very much to its predecessor Need For Speed: Most Wanted. Palmont is divided into four boroughs at the beginning of the game: Kempton (southeast industrial area), Downtown (east metropolitan area), Fortuna (west residential area) and Silverton (north casino & resort area) ; one for each of the major crews. A highway system extending through the middle of the city is the main connection between the boroughs. All boroughs except Silverton are initially accessible to the player; access to Silverton is unlocked only after beating the crews in the other three boroughs. There is an additional area named San Juan, but similar to the canyons, it's not connected to the boroughs of Palmont. The game is set inside the fictional city of Palmont which exists alongside of Rockport, which was used in Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Bayview, which was used in Need for Speed: Underground 2, and Olympic City, which was used in Need for Speed Underground. Palmont is also featured in the massively multiplayer online racing game Need for Speed: World, along with Rockport of Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
Having escaped from the police in Rockport, the player drives on a route to Palmont City. A flashback of what seems to be a race against Kenji, Angie, and Wolf comes to the player's mind. A police incident at the end of the race forces the player to make a hasty escape from Palmont. In present day, former Police Sergeant, now turned bounty hunter, Cross (Played by Dean McKenzie) in his Chevrolet Corvette, chases the player down the canyon leading to his BMW M3 GTR that he reclaimed from Razor in Need for Speed: Most Wanted being wrecked. Shortly before Cross can arrest the player, Darius (Played by Tahmoh Penikett) and his crew arrive. Darius pays off Cross, and the player meets up with Nikki (Played by Emmanuelle Vaugier), a former girlfriend, on bad terms.
Darius tells the player to regain control of the different territories in Palmont. Winning races one by one, the player acquires territories and ultimately districts from Kenji (Downtown (Bushido), Angie (Kempton (21st Street), and Wolf (Fortuna (TFK), now crew leaders. After beating each racer, the player meets up with a former member of that racer's crew, who want to join the player's crew and reveal their observations regarding the night the player took off from Palmont.
After gaining control of all three districts, Darius asks the player to meet up with him. He reveals that he was just using the player all along to get more territory, and that he has brought Cross along to arrest the player. Darius leaves the player at the mercy of Cross, but the player is saved by the arrival of Nikki, who tells him that she now realizes everything that happened months ago after piecing together her view of the night and the viewpoints of the other racers. When Darius finds out that Nikki is working with the player, he hires the three previous bosses (Kenji, Angie, and Wolf) into his new crew, Stacked Deck. The player then attempts to conquer Silverton, and oust Darius and his Stacked Deck crew, to exact revenge for Darius' actions.
The player begins to win races against the Stacked Deck, and gets his chance to beat Darius for control of Palmont and to accord justice. After finally defeating Darius, Darius surrenders his Audi Le Mans Quattro to the player. Before he leaves, Darius tells the player to "...enjoy it while it lasts, because there's always someone out there who's a little faster than you are, and sooner or later they're going to catch up...".
Carbon: Own the City
The player flashbacks to a race where in he, his brother Mick and a couple of other racers are racing to decide who owns the city. But a terrible car crash ruins the competition, leaving the player in the hospital with amnesia and Mick dead. The city is also divided back into different crew territories. Upon waking up, the player is greeted by Mick's girlfriend, Sara and Carter, Mick's wingman, as they visit Mick and help the player return his memories.
The player is set to find out who killed Mick, and goes on different races to beat different crews, regain territory and see if they know anything about the accident, where each crew boss then describes what they know about the accident that killed Mick. The player soon find out that the crash was caused by a kid named Buddy, and after a visit to a crew boss called EX where he explains, Sara is seemingly caught in an explosion. The player is driven further to find out who caused the trouble, and soon confronts Buddy. Buddy then reveals that he was hired, and hands the player his phone. The player continues, and meets MK, an undercover police racer, after defeated by the player, who then helps with his police abilities to find out who planned the murder, through Buddy's phone.
It is revealed that EX was the one who planned the crash, and the player goes after him, with MK's police forces in the end apprehending EX after defeated by the player. Sara appears, and tells the racer to race her, which she in the end reveals the truth: the player hired EX to get rid of Mick due to Mick's monstrous personality that hurt Sara and the player, which EX hired Buddy to crash Mick's car, the "accident" resulting in Mick's death. It was indeed, all along the player's plan, where Sara was promised to be freed from Mick by the player. Sara then hands the player Mick's watch, saying that he is different from Mick, and that she is free, now together with the player.
By default, hip hop/grime songs are played when the player is driving an exotic car, electronic songs are played when the player is driving a tuner car, and rock music is played when the player is driving a muscle car, though, this setting can be turned off. These songs were released by EA in very limited quantities on a special edition disc. The songs played within the safe house and other game menus, as well as a small number of races were composed by London techno act Ekstrak, and was released widely by EA, and is available from online retailers such as iTunes, as well as hard copies. Other music, most played in major races, such as Race Wars and Canyon Battles have been widely released akin to the Ekstrak release. This actual soundtrack consists of music composed by Trevor Morris, who has gone on to work with Steve Jablonsky for the 2007 EA RTS game, Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars.
Need for Speed: Carbon was first shown in Pasjane EA's montage at Nintendo's E3 2006 conference and booth and was the cover story in the Game Informer magazine issue of July 2006. Carbon is the first in the Need for Speed series to be released for all seventh generation consoles. Carbon features some of cars of its predecessors; namely Need for Speed: Underground 2 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted, but also incorporates many new additions including the Audi Le Mans quattro, the Chrysler 300C SRT 8, Chevrolet's Chevelle SS and the Alfa Romeo Brera. Carbon features the Canadian actress and model Emmanuelle Vaugier as Nikki, the player's main source of help and ally in the Career storyline. The game is now available for use with Mac OS X. Need for Speed: Carbon debuted at number one on the UK All Format Gaming Chart on its first week of release, beating Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer.
The Need for Speed: Carbon Collector's Edition features 4 exclusive cars, 10 pre-tuned cars, 6 new races, 3 unique challenge events, 10 unique vinyls and a Bonus DVD showing the making of Carbon and showcasing all the cars used in the game. The Collector's Edition also features alternate box art and metallic finish packaging. Although the Mac edition doesn't display the Collector's Edition title, it contains all Collector's Edition features. The downloaded version of the game features the Ultimate Performance Kit, 2006 Pagani Zonda F and the 1971 Dodge Challenger. An arcade version of the same name was released by EA Arcades in 2008.
Need for Speed: Carbon was met with mixed to positive reviews. IGN gave the PC version an 8.2 out of 10 and the PlayStation 3 version a 7.9 out of 10 citing "It's not revolutionary, it's not brilliant, but it's good, deep racing,". GameSpot gave praise for adding more movie clips, customization and solid gameplay but was critical about frustrating boss battles and under utilizing police chases.
Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game an average score of 8.0. Hyper's Daniel Wilks commends the game for its "large gameworld" but criticises it for its "easy, drift course mechanics suck [and] cutscene 'actors'". The Australian video game talk show Good Game gave the game a 5/10.
The unpatched Windows version of the game has compatibility issues when playing under Windows Vista and crashes after the EA Logo screen, although most issues have been resolved in patch version 1.4. according to EA's Website Support page.
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