Need for Speed Carbon Wii Review - 16/02/07

EA’s Christmas No.1 hope for the third year running hits the streets; can it maintain its sure fire hit status?

Since coming back from the wilderness of the nineties the Need for Speed games have gained almost a cult status amongst race fans. The producers began the onslaught with a sly nod to the Fast and the Furious movies and their ‘chav’ fans, it seems that not only did the boys in Burberry lap the games up but also the general public as having the Xmas top slot for three years in a row is unprecedented.

Last years edition, Most Wanted really picked up the pace with glorious visuals and the return of the cops, a superb addition, greatly missed from the ‘pursuit’ games of old. Always being wary of any infringement of the law really upped the tension of the game.

Carbon keeps the Law on your tail, but also reverts a little bit and re-establishes the customisation of your car with vinyl’s and paint jobs. One new addition this year is a group of team mates to aid your racing skills and progress through the game.

Your computer controlled racing friends consist of Blockers, try to think of them as a mobile road block for your opposition, Drafters which help you get a much needed boost of speed and finally scouts, these racers spend most of the time ahead of your vehicle finding the best route or even short cuts for you, the trouble is only the Blockers seem to be of any use, scouts never seem to spot anything you wouldn’t yourself and drafters become redundant because of the lack of space needed to actually make any use of the draft - it would be ok on a long straight, but Carbon’s roads are tight and twisty.

Being a cross platform game has actually helped this title look better on the Wii, the graphics, although with no HD shine, look very nice with lots of bright colours interjecting with the night time skylines. Sound is also very good with meaty growls emanating from the speakers, the usual EA trax are present and like last years game are not too bad with a mix of urban and college rock found in most of EA’s games.

Once again a back story has been put in which in all honesty adds nothing to the scheme of things and comes over as really cheesy - hire classier actors EA or think of another way to get the story across.

The overall idea of the game is to race and win back turf from your rivals. The world map is split into four districts, each with a canyon connected to it; these canyons are for the great new addition – bosses. EA has managed to make a really bad sounding idea into a sublime piece of videogame fun, you see, after stealing your rivals turf, you have to compete in a final run against the boss character through the aforementioned canyon - these canyons have areas where there are no barriers, if you take a corner too fast or get nudged over the edge, you lose the race - the thing is, this also applies to the bosses, which equates to a great cat and mouse race down a large hill, with only one winner.

Making up the tasks to take over the turf are your usual standard races, sprints and drift racing, the latter being the weak link The little control you have over your vehicle is thrown out the window as the car now drives on two wheels with the power steering cranked up, the idea is to swerve the back of the car out, performing ludicrous skids around a track - it’s boring and stupidly hard to control, thank the heavens you can normally take over an area whilst negating to complete these tiresome races.

Whilst we’re talking about controls, EA have kindly given you five options to use the nunchuck and remote together. The default is near pointless, it has you holding the remote like a handlebar, although this in itself isn’t too bad until you realise that the sensitivity is so terrible that you won’t actually make it to the start point for each race because you will hit the walls of every street like a deranged drunk driver. The other four options are almost as bad, if not for the saving grace of option five, the remote is used as an accelerator/brake combination, with the nuchuck’s analogue stick providing the steering, this is simply the only way the game becomes playable and as such saves it from being a complete control disaster, yes the other options really are that bad.

Overall the game is a remix of Underground and Most Wanted and works the better for it, but perhaps the cops could have their own outing next year, all this modding and customisation is really starting to get boring - a dedicated cop chase game would freshen up the franchise and usher in new fans.

Graphics 8/10
Sound 8/10
Playability 7/10
Last ability 7/10

Overall 7.5/10



Wii - Multi