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Need for Speed Carbon
Out now!

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Need for Speed Carbon - Review ( cont'd )
Written by James Hobbs

The controls in Need for Speed Carbon are curious, and it's clear that EA really did make a conscious effort to implement the Wii control system properly into the game. The default control mode utilises just the Wii remote held on it's side, as seen in games like Excite Truck - the 2 button accelerates, 1 button brakes, and the D-Pad is used to activate the boost and other functions. For the most part this works acceptably, but turning corners is where problems arise - it simply doesn't respond well enough to sharp turns. All too often I found myself having to brake hard and slide around corners because the steering wasn't responsive enough, and occasional glitching with the steering direction exacerbated this problem. You do get used to it, but it's certainly a compromise - more time should have been spent perfecting the steering.

However, this isn't your only option - the other main control method utilises both the Wii remote and the nunchuck, in a rather interesting and innovative way. The Wii remote is held vertically and used as a virtual accelerator pedal - tilting the remote down, as if putting your foot on the pedal, makes the car accelerate, whilst lifting the remote vertically applies the brake. The nunchuck is used to steer the car, once again illustrating the excellent sensitivity it offers. However, whilst the steering is far superior using this method, it's difficult to brake and reverse properly without significant practice - it's not easy to simply pick up and play, and it's certainly not ideal.

The game features a split-screen multiplayer mode, allowing you to tear down the canyons with a chum. The graphics engine suffers even more when placed under the strain of having to render two screens, and it makes for a fairly sluggish and dull experience. It's fun for a while, but it feels like more of a hastily tacked-on addition rather than an essential part of the game - something to play if you've exhausted yourself on Wii Sports, perhaps.

Audially, Need for Speed Carbon performs adequately. Vehicle sound effects are as you would expect, with plenty of over-revving engines and a soundtrack typical of EA games. Needless to say, it fits the atmosphere of the game perfectly, irrespective of whether or not you actually like the music - smooth jazz would somehow feel out of place. The part-cgi part-film cutscenes that populate the career mode make good use of sound effects, and visually they look rather impressive too. As you would expect, the cutscenes are full of writhing women, although in the main game the graphics engine makes them look more like prostitute robots from the future than anything vaguely resembling a real woman. However, boy racers most likely wouldn't know what a real woman is actually like, so hats off to EA for encouraging their 'Nuts Magazine' delusions.

Need for Speed Carbon is a flawed but entertaining package. There are moments of innovation that make the game more interesting - using your teammates to block other cars or give you a speed boost mid-race is fairly well implemented via the d-pad, and the car modifications system is fairly comprehensive. It shows once again that EA give that little bit more when porting titles, something that other developers should take note of.

The verdict:

An entertaining racer if you can get past the flaws and the 'gangsta' nonsense.


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