Posted by: Daniel O'Brien | October 6, 2006

NFS Carbon Impressions

Having only played through one NFS before, I don’t consider myself to be a great NFS fan. I must say I did enjoy the game, the levels of customization were great, enabling you to make a really great looking car and one which none of your mates had, however I found the actual racing was the real let down of the game, it played very poorly, the cars all handled roughly the same and that the handling of the cars was generally very unresponsive. It was probably just me being spoilt in that department by the likes of Metropolis Street Racer and Project Gotham Racing that didn’t help the driving experience for me, so despite the fact that I enjoyed my play through the game, I’ve not been compelled to pick up another NFS game since.

This brings me onto my impression of the demo for the latest
game in the NFS series, Need for Speed: Carbon.

The demo download as usual is free, and me being the free download whore that I am, snapped it up as soon as it became available. I left for an hour or so expecting to come back and be able to make a decent looking car with limited parts (the best bit) and try one of the race modes. I was right for the most part, though there was a big feature that I was certainly not expecting, a feature which made me perk up and think, hey, this might not be as average as I thought. That feature was the ability to scuplt your own body parts, dubbed ‘Autosculpt’ (genius) – this enables you to adjust many aspects of the different parts of your customised ride, from alloys to hoods, bumpers to spoilers, through a series of sliders. For example, you can increase the grill size of your front bumper; you can increase the amount of spokes on your alloys; make the tyres wider; adjust the tilt on your spoiler; hell, you can even put a curve on the spoke of your alloys to make them look scythe-like. This is a great feature which I hope will be integrated well in the final game.
I hope they still have a massive variety of parts though, because although you can customise the look of each part, you can’t make them look significantly different from the original.

Once you’ve selected and customised your ride, you have a Muscle (Dodge), Exotic (Lamborghini), and Tuner (Mitsubushi Lancer) car to choose from, you’re dropped into a section of the game in which you have to complete 2 races (a lap street race, and a drift competition) in first place to unlock the final part of the demo.
From the off, the racing felt the same, which i thought was a shame. It was unresponsive, (wait, a thought just came to me, i might just suck at this game…does anyone else find the driving experience particularly responsive??) and was difficult to get any sort of racing line as the car was either understeering or powersliding. I found that the tuner handled the best, but it was most suited to the race in the demo. Next was the drift, which I feel has been significantly improved over the last NFS game that I’d played as I clocked a massive 150,000 point drift in the Lambo; possibly the highlight of the demo for me, i’d always found drifting fun, despite you sliding all over place.
The final part of the demo was a one on one race on a canyon road, where if you hit the barrier ‘stopping’ you from plunging to a valley, you just crashed right through it and the race was over. I only went through it a couple of times…ok several (damn understeer!).
The racing was better than previous efforts I’d decided after getting further through the demo, it is more responsive and certainly more bearable, still not great mind, it won’t disappoint the big fans of the series. The only other gripe I have with is the opponent AI, it seems very fixed, as though the capabilities of the opponent’s car has no bearing on how quickly they can either get away from you or catch up with you. In the one on one, the trailing car caught up over 200 feet on me in a matter of seconds (NOS was not an option in this mode) when we were
seemingly going the same speed on a straight before hand…Ah well, no game is perfect.

This demo certainly has increased my interest in the latest rendition of the NFS series – despite first impressions of the racing. Improved racing mechanics(not significantly so), a fantastic Autosculpt feature with bucket loads of potential, promised plentiful options for customising your ride on top of autosculpt, and loads of licensed vehicles.

Hope you enjoyed my take on it, I enjoyed writing it.



  1. Who doesn’t love classic cars? Seems everybody does and hollywood has jumped on the bandwagon too. You see them in just about every movie and TV show now.

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