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Need for Speed Carbon - PS3 - Review


Posted by: jkdmedia

Review Rating 8.0 Great

Need for Speed Carbon is this fall’s entry in EA’s long-running racing franchise, and it takes the race back to the city streets. More of an evolution than a reinvention of the series, Carbon carries on the feel of the Underground games released a few years ago, emphasizing city-street racing and tuning. Carbon also adds some new concepts to the formula, some that work and some that don’t. However, all things considered, NFS Carbon is a solid entry that brings some great ideas and concepts to the series and would be a worthy addition to your fledging PS3 library if you’re a fan of the series or racing games in general. 

Need for Speed’s storyline is told completely through stylized involving real human actors done in front of a green screen. The highly stylized look is reminiscent of films like Sin-City, and generally fit in with the feel of the game’s graphical presentation. The gist of the storyline involves your character returning to the city after a long absence in order to settle some scores and regain your respect after some shady events culminated in your departure, leaving a lot of people suspicious of you. 

Need for Speed Carbon PlayStation 3 screenshots

You play the game in order to regain your personal respect one territory at a time. You regain sections of the map by completing races of several varieties. Each section of the map is composed of three or so races, and once you beat those races you’ll gain special unlockables, like special car customizations. 

Once you beat enough sections, you’ll gain the opportunity to do a boss battle where you race against the leader of the gang that controls the territory. If you beat him or her, you’ll gain control of the territory. There are a total of four territories to take over. 

Need for Speed Carbon PlayStation 3 screenshots

In Carbon, you’ll also have access to some extra help. Your wingmen will help you a lot in your races, as they’ll be able to block opponents for you, help you draft and slingshot past your competition or scout out shortcuts that you can take. While the blockers are generally the most useful, the other two categories aren’t so helpful. Drafting is essentially a bust, since you never will find a section long enough for you to gain enough speed to actually make it go in your favor, and scouts are pretty much only a real help if they’re in front of you. 

Another new element in the game is the drifting mode. Drifting basically has you going through a set course gaining points for sustaining speed and performing combos while drifting. This mode could’ve been done better, since very little realistic skill is required to do well in this section (you don’t actually even have to hit the brakes to drift in certain parts). 

One element that is exclusive to the PS3 version is the use of the SIXAXIS controllers. The game makes good use of the controller’s motion-sensing abilities, albeit in a more ancillary way than most games. By tilting it in the direction of the turn as you’re going into it, it will give you a bit more leverage in the curve and an added boost in handling. It feels very natural and unforced and adds a new element to the game’s physics.


Need for Speed Carbon looks pretty good on the PS3, but seems to be lacking the same polished look as its Xbox 360 counterpart. While the textures are a bit sharper in this version and the framerate stays pretty consistent, the special effects, like the motion blur when you pick up some serious speed, look pretty ugly. Some of the lighting effects also seem a little half-baked. 

Soundwise, the game fairs pretty well, with some great effects and a really good soundtrack composed of some great songs that set the tone for the game and never get in the way. 

Need for Speed Carbon is a solid entry to the series, with some great gameplay elements and makes good use of the SIXAXIS controllers tilt functionality. Check it out if you’re a fan of the series.                                                                                             

Review Scoring Details for Need for Speed Carbon

Gameplay: 8.0
Need for Speed Carbon offers up some cool new features and brings the gameplay back to the city. The SIXAXIS controller is used well, adding a new element to the driving physics. Some parts of the gameplay are hit and miss.

Graphics: 7.5
NFS Carbon features some pretty nice textures and car models and moves at a pretty solid framerate, but lacks in overall polish. The special effects are poorly implemented.

Sound: 8.5
Carbon is a great sounding game, with a good soundtrack and some solid effects.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard

Multiplayer: 7.5
The online racing features are fairly par for the course.

Concept: 8.0
The story is told through the use of stylized-FMV cutscenes, and fits in well with the neon-laced aesthetic.

Overall: 8.0
Carbon is a solid entry to the series with cool features and a great sense of style and unique controls thanks to the PS3’s SIXAXIS motion sensor abilities.

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