Need for Speed Carbon


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 7

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 7


Choices are making the Wii far more accessible than people may have realized. In the case of Need for Speed Carbon, it's the control options that set it apart. Like any version of this now yearly update, Carbon has some issues it carries over from the other consoles. Aside from that, Wii owners have another racing title to be excited about.

nfscarbonwii.jpg (44746 bytes)Six different control configurations exist. The default set up will be familiar to those who have some hands on time with other racing titles for the Wii. The Remote is held sideways, and tilting it turns around corners. Using the d-pad adds an extra push for those tight corners. Buttons handle aspects like braking, nitrous, and franchises slow motion for those heavily outnumbered situations.

That's fine to start, though with a Nunchuck, the options begin paying off. Using the Nunchuck as a steering device (either with the analog stick or by tilting it), the Remote becomes the gas pedal. Holding it either vertically or a 45-degree angle, you can move your wrist down to apply pressure to the virtual pedal or pull back to lay off. In one configuration, the Nunchuck can also double as an e-brake.

All of those options are intertwined to find the right mix that suits your style. On the courses, racing is presented with an outstanding sense of speed. Motion blur, particularly when using nitrous, is effective even with the drop in graphical quality from the Xbox 360 or PS3. Aside from some minor frame rate troubles, Carbon stays consistent.

This latest Need for Speed adds some additional features to keep it fresh for veteran players. Team based play is the main update, allowing wingmen to perform various tasks to help you gain the lead. If they race well, letting them finish first earns you the same awards as if you did it yourself. With the exception of police chases, this is unquestionably an easier ride than last years Most Wanted.

New race types include the intense and stressful canyon races. Invisible barriers or purposely unrealistic physics no longer keep you on the course to help you along. Make a wrong turn here and you'll end up careening off the side of the cliff. To add to the experience, it's not only about finishing first either. Sticking close to your opponent earns points. The closer you are for a longer stretch of time, the better you perform.

What doesn't work are the added drift events. All the control schemes in the world can't save these sloppy and out of place races. The controls take a turn for the worse, upping the sensitivity to the point where it feels as if the natural slight hand movement caused by your heartbeat can send you out of control. This is amplified on the Wii, and gaining control back is far more difficult.

Carbon also loses the wildly fun online multi-player featured on the other next-gen consoles. There are a few game modes outside of the single player, but they're hampered by a lack of options and number of friends. It's almost better to skip it entirely.

With the exception of the small graphical dips, the disappointing multi-player and the drift racing, Carbon's majority is another superb arcade racer. You can ignore the frame rate issues and the drift racing can be mastered with time. As long as you're not looking for deep multi-player, Need for Speed's Wii debut will be worth it to you.


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Last updated: Sunday, December 31, 2006 08:44 PM